As I have been thinking about what my first post of the year will be, stewardship has been at the fore. To put this in context, a couple of weeks back, I was having a conversation with a close friend. I had asked him a question in the lines of: Does God want all believers to be rich? The answer he gave me was so simple, yet so mind blowing. He told me, “I believe God wants us to be good stewards.”

He went on to explain how God has given all believers resources in different measure and that how we choose to steward these things gives us more room and opportunity to receive more. For example, if God blesses me with a certain amount and I choose to be diligent in saving and investing and not spending it all, little by little this resource grows and multiplies. And if God can trust me with that little amount, surely he can trust me with much more.

However, today’s post is not about stewarding finances, but about the gifts and talents God has placed in every worship leader, and how we can avoid certain pitfalls as we minister so as to steward the gifts, no matter how big or small, in purity and integrity.

The dictionary meaning of the word steward varies, depending on the context, but at the core, is the idea that as a steward, what you are stewarding does not belong to you. This same thought can be seen in the biblical sense of stewardship. We find many references where God calls us, puts treasure in our hands and “demands” that we give a proper account of its use {Matthew 24:45-51, 25:14-30, Genesis 2:15}

In light of this, here are a few issues that we may face as we try to steward God’s gifts in our lives.

1) Fear and comparison

When it comes to music, I get asked a lot, how one can overcome the overwhelming fear that what you have is just not as good as the musician next to you. Creatives tend to compare their talents to others’ as opposed to celebrating what is inside them. And to be honest, that feeling can cripple you and hold you back from being all that God has called you to be or it can drive you to prove a point. However way it goes, both of these reactions are problematic. Granted, there will be better skilled musicians than you, but just like the parable of the talents, the quality of the gift is unique to you and the resolve of the giver to use you is sure {Matthew 25:14-15}.

2) Competition and Superstardom

The heartbeat of the many blogs I write is unity in the body of Christ {1st Corinthians 12:12-31}. I believe strongly that God uses us powerfully when we are committed to submit under godly men and women who can teach us, correct us and call out the wonderful gifts He has placed in us. Although God calls us to run our own unique and individual race, we are also called to a bigger race, one of taking the gospel to the very ends of the world with the help of others.

Using an analogy, what God has called us to do is like a picture puzzle; every time we align ourselves to the image in the puzzle, the body of Christ presents a beautiful picture of love and commitment to the One who has called us.

As you continue sharpening your skill, opportunities will open up, fame may come and the money too. It is at this point that you remind yourself to lay low in the presence of Jesus and to resist the temptation for stardom and competition.

3) Overconfidence and Under-preparation

It is natural to become confident about something you have been doing repeatedly. You know your strengths and limitations and are able to manipulate these so as to minister effectively- and that’s ok.

However, pride can creep in subtly tempting you to self-reliance. Self-reliance says that you can do it without God, that you are gifted enough to carry a service by yourself, that you don’t need anyone or that your vocalists are just “backing you up” as opposed to ministering beside you. Where once you sought God about His heart for those you minister to, you may find yourself rushing through, just to complete the task at hand. Where you used to sharpen your skill, laxity may have crept in making you an ineffective steward.

The greatest example of confidence has been modeled to us by Jesus. “…I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does” {John 5:19}. If Jesus was fully reliant and obedient to the Father, putting his confidence in God alone, how much more should you and I commit to a life like that?

As we reflect on the gifts God has given us and these three major pitfalls, how do you fare? When all our actions and motivations are based on a view of eternity, knowing that what we do here on earth is critical in the next life, we ultimately become better stewards. Commit today to serve God with His agenda in mind, with His vision in your heart and His kingdom as your priority.