The mere mention of stewardship during a Sunday-morning church service can conjure thoughts of money, responsibility and grave repercussions for lazy servants.
But more than just as an issue related to finances, the Bible addresses the topic of stewardship in every area of the human life.
From finances to relationships and opportunities to property, Scripture gives clear instructions as to how we are to manage the blessings of the Lord. Instead of seeing the Lord's gifts as our own, we are able to take the view that He has placed them in our care for a period of time to be used for His glory.
This approach also extends to a believer's profession.
The Lord's calling on your life is a stewardship opportunity, which He has presented to you with an expectation for growth so you can present it back to Him.
This principle is no less true for those called to prayer as their primary occupation.
Although prayer as an occupation is not often mentioned by high school guidance counselors, the Lord has called many people to prayer as an occupation—for a season or for a lifetime.
According to the ruling of David his father, he set the divisions of the priests for their service, and the Levites for their function to praise and serve before the priests according to the daily duty ... for this was the commandment of David the man of God" (2 Chron. 8:14).
The Lord takes seriously the calling He has placed on your life. He cares how we manage what we've been given, regardless of what others think or how we feel our profession compares to sought-after occupations in medicine like IT or business.
An intercessory missionary has a highly respected profession, according to the Lord.
The main tenets of the job involve intercession and worship, which make studying the Word, fellowship with Jesus and dedicated times of practice on your musical instrument basic elements of the job. That still doesn't negate the need to cultivate your primary resource into your calling—yourself.
Even though the Lord has created every person with plans and purposes and cares about each person's calling, the Lord is far more interested in His children's heart than their profession. Each person's calling is created with an expectation that you actively involve yourself. That's why it's important to steward yourself in order to fully respond to the work God has for you.
Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the elders. Meditate on these things. Give yourself completely to them, that your progress may be known to everyone (1 Tim. 4:14-15).
Stewarding Your Spirit
Our God is known for seeing past outward appearances and into the hearts of men.
Every second invested reading passages of Scripture is meaningful and helps grow our relationship with God. It's when we begin to use those activities to try and earn God's love and attention or a name for ourselves that we begin to have problems. More than activity, God desires true connection with His children. He made us for encounters with Him.
When we opt out of those moments of heart connect in order to move into comfort zones of performance, we miss opportunities to delve deeper into relationship with our Lord. It's when we invest those moments of beholding our God that He faithfully transforms us so we're able to look more like Him in this chaotic world. We draw near by sitting at our Teacher's feet. In this place we are refreshed, revived and strengthened by intimacy to continue to pursue our calling from a place of authentic relationship instead of forced duty.
Stewarding Your Soul
Intercession is a primary point of being an intercessory missionary. The ability to take the Lord's promises and ask Him to bring about His decree in the lives of friends, family members or even nations is a sought-after skill by anyone finding themselves in times of turmoil.
However, the Lord also desires us to apply the Word to our own lives.
As a Father, the Lord desires for His children to know Him and enter fully into the freedom He has purchased for us. As we minister to the Lord, praising Him for His worth, like in the days of old, we draw near, encountering His presence. As we read His Word we see His nature, His holiness, and track record of being faithful and longsuffering, and we are struck by the stark contrast between God and man.
"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways," says the Lord. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts." (Isa. 55:8–9)
From this place, we invite truth to conform us, to change our way of thinking, our perspective and our desires. As He tears down everything that has exalted itself against the knowledge of who God is, we receive greater freedom in our minds, will and emotions to give ourselves fully to our calling with fewer distractions or hindrances.
Stewarding Your Body
There are some professions that are synonymous with taking care of the body. Athletes, models, personal trainers—they're the people we expect to sculpt their bodies into chiseled figures. But our bodies are a primary resource for doing the work the Lord has called us to pursue.
Prayer is an activity connected to the spiritual part of our being, but what's happening with our bodies can also have an effect on our times of prayer.
The human body doesn't function well without proper fuel. Unless there's a specified time of fasting from food, it's best to follow a balanced meal plan that allows your body to receive vitamins and nutrients by eating meals with fruits and vegetables.
Sleep is also a critical factor. Our need to stop and rest is one daily reminder of how we are finite in our strength and ability. While resting may not involve actual sleep, the ability to rest and engage in activities that refuel and refresh help bring balance to our lives.
The Lord made our bodies to feel better and function better when we get enough physical activity. Whether it's our usual time spent in the garden or going for a jog or a walk, actually putting our bodies in motion helps with the overall rhythm of our sleep and alertness. Physical activity also has a substantial impact on our mood and outlook in life.
We often hear people acknowledge that "life is a gift." But so is the calling the Lord has given to you. As we steward our lives, we are able to give ourselves fully to what He places before us with less hesitation and fewer delays.
Through wise stewardship, we make our lives increasingly available to our Father's plans so that we might better see His goodness come to fruition before our very eyes, here in the land of the living.
For a more in depth look at the call to be an intercessory missionary, see this article from Mike Bickle, "The Call to Be a Full-time Intercessory Missionary."
Fia Curley serves on the NightWatch at IHOPKC, participating in prayer, worship and intercession from midnight to 6 a.m. She enjoys blending her passion for prayer, worship and journalism as she labors with the Lord to see His goodness revealed to families, government leaders and immigrants from non-Christian nations.
This article originally appeared at ihopkc.org.