The beautiful thing about gifts is that they’re freely given. What’s more beautiful about gift-giving in the Kingdom is that God does a bit of expected as well as the unexpected. There are certain things we know we’re good at and other things we discover we’re good at while doing something else.
I believe demand has been placed on us as creatives to be good stewards. A steward is one charged with a responsibility to look after, nurture and care for and as creatives, we ought to do the same with what God has gifted us. We must look after, nurture and care for what has been deposited into our lives for the edification and expansion of the Body. So what exactly does being a good steward look like?
Here are three core areas to get us started:
1 – Perspective
2 – Practise
3 – (Re)-Production
Being a good steward is embedded in having the right perspective of what’s in your storehouse. I know many of us do struggle to come to terms with the gift(s) we have. Many of us downplay our abilities because we don’t fully value what’s in our storehouses. We don’t see, “How is this going to make a difference anyway?” Self-doubt tends to sound as though it’s screaming whenever it comes to looking at what’s in our storehouse. And yet, there are others reading this going – “But I don’t have a gift,” because you imagine it should look like X and not Y.
Well, actually you do have a gift. Gifts come in various shapes, sizes, abilities, sounds, and movements. Gifts may look like administrative strategy or creative canvases, an ability to bring order and structure or to play multiple instruments. There’s room for and need for variety in the Kingdom! Many may not recognize their gift because they expect it to look like what they see others doing but tell me, what is it that you have in your hand? What is it that you are good at? Yes, that very thing that just came to mind. Grab that thought and stick a pin in it for a moment.
A gift is a natural ability or talent. What is the one thing, or a few things that you do well and which come naturally to you? Start there in your assessment. Take some paper (or your notes app) and write down what comes to mind. In there lies your gift. It’s that “something” that comes naturally and when done, effects change in the atmosphere around you for the good. Your gift isn’t only your talent but your talent can be supported by your gift.
Adopting a godly perspective of what you have in your storehouse is a good place to start when learning how to be a good steward. When you understand what you have in your hand, you can better value what God has given to you. If you view what you have as valuable and worthy, you’ll be inclined to learn more about how you can grow in that area. You’ll be inclined to learn how you can use your gift to serve those in your communities, workplaces, churches, and families. This journey mostly starts with having the right perspective and the right perspective is a heavenly perspective. Place value on what God places value on. If He has invested in you, you can rest assured that He sees your ability to use that gift to change your surroundings.
Secondly, on perspective…
So it comes easily doesn’t it? Sometimes so easily that you can close your eyes and execute without breaking a sweat. The ease is good at times but other times, the ease is the head thing that places us into trouble. Be on the lookout for complacency! A good steward isn’t above practising; they understand that in order to keep growing they must dedicate time to their craft. A good steward remains teachable, they acknowledge that all they know is all they know and they are not above mentorship and learning from those who have gone before them. They understand that in order to take their gift to the next level, discipline has to be exercised and knowledge has to be gained. Sharpen your knowledge where your gift is concerned and steer clear of complacency and being a ‘know it all’.
Secondly, as you practise, try to err on the side of continuous improvement rather than over-analysis. Many creatives become frustrated in the process because they are solely striving for perfection rather than continuous improvement. I know and I understand. You are not alone. You will become better as you stay open to the process of learning and correction. Give yourself space to grow.
With the right perspective and practice, you may find that you’re inclined to produce more but here is a gentle reminder that production occurs in seasons. Just as fruit bears in and out of season, there will be a time to sow and a time to harvest. Ecclesiastes 3:1 reminds us “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.” (NLT). Being a good steward means that you understand seasons. You give room for the resting season when the time comes and you are present for harvesting when it’s that season.
As creatives, we have to value the gift of rest. Some of us are too connected to busyness and we thrive in the non-stop going. But ask yourself this – “If I run myself into the ground using my gift, has the gift been submitted unto God? Or has the gift now overpowered me?” Creatives, we must understand that producing 24/7 doesn’t always result in more harvest but it may very well result in an overworked field. Or, in this case, an overworked body. Take time to rest.
Secondly, don’t be afraid to re-Produce. Share what you know with those around you. Equip another creative and contribute to the growth of God’s Kingdom. After all, we are all in this so that He is exalted in all we do and with all we have. Each one must reach one.
Dear creative, always remember, God has placed a demand on you. He requires that you utilize, maximize and increase the resources He has given to you. With the right perspective, practice and a better understanding of production systems, you’ll be on your way to rightly stewarding what’s in your storehouse and imparting your knowledge to those around you.
There’s so much to learn about what you have in your hand and so much to gain in understanding why you have it in your hand in the first place. Know God for yourself, stay teachable and always push the limits of comfort and complacency. Make a bold step in the right direction today and make God pleased! He has equipped you with everything you need to get started.
About the Writer: Shaquille Millar is a creative with a calling to provide hope, inspiration and practical tools to help others unearth and become their best self. She’s a wife, foodie, butterfly lover and blogger. You can find more of her written reflections via www.becomingall.com and @becoming_all on Instagram.