We pastors often forget that stewardship extends beyond the realm of giving money for gospel advancement. For the longest time, we have allowed the notion of being a wise steward to be defined according to money. And while the issue of finances does exist within the jurisdiction of stewardship, stewardship embraces all of the Christian life.
One of the areas we often overlook is recognizing the connection between being a wise steward and career-making decisions. Sadly, we do not consider this matter related to our equipping the saints for the work of the ministry.
“Let’s let the guidance counselors and career planners shepherd our church members through this massive, life-changing, path-setting decision. We pastors are to be about rightly dividing the Word.”
And such a response reveals just how much we have been influenced by secular thought, separating the spiritual from the material.
Pastors, we need to be equipping our parents and their teenagers to make wise Kingdom advancing decisions when it comes to selecting a college major or obtaining a marketable skill. They need to make such decisions in light of what would best position them in the global market for making disciples and planting churches across North America and the world.
Yes, I know that person in your church is wanting to study art history and go into $60,000 worth of debt to obtain the coveted B.A. degree. But in light of the global task that is set before us, is that really the path of the wise steward? Maybe it is for that person, that the Lord is doing something unusual in that believer’s life. However, degrees and skills that generally have little relevance for job placement among the unbelievers–and bring large amounts of debt that will haunt that young adult for years–should cause us to consider the stewardship of selecting such paths.
We have neglected to establish within our faith families cultures of expectation that our young people should obtain skills and degrees that would best position them as teams in the marketplaces of the world. Wise decisions made in high school will enable them to support themselves, regularly connect with unbelievers, make disciples, and multiply churches. We have primarily thought in terms that such “real” ministry belongs only to those who are able to get through college and seminary, and then ironically struggle to find a relevant way to get into the marketplaces and communities of the world, due to a lack of marketable skills and degrees. Need I say platform development?
I want to challenge you to begin to make the cultural shift within your church. I know we are. Don’t leave one of the most important decisions that a believer will make to the direction of an unbelieving guidance counselor, the whimsical desires of youth, or the materialistic society in which we live.
The Psalmist writes: “May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations (Ps 67:1-2, ESV).
Our Father has blessed members of your congregation with the capabilities to move into the workforce and to go to college. For their own selfish gain? Of course, not. Rather, that the way of the Lord may be known among all the nations.
Teach your people that being a wise steward involves prayerfully considering the marketable skills and degrees they should obtain now that would best position them for global disciple making later.
Here are some recent articles that may help get you thinking along these lines:
Best Cities for New College Grads in 2013 (see also the article at bottom on “15 Most Valuable College Majors”)
(image credit: Microsoft Office)