“A steward is not supposed to manage things for his own pleasure, convenience, or benefit. Instead, he is expected to follow his master’s instructions and look out for his master’s interests, even if they conflict with his own personal desires or convenience….
“The concept of stewardship is especially relevant to peacemaking. Whenever you are involved in a conflict, God has given you a management opportunity. He has empowered you through the gospel and entrusted you with abilities and spiritual resources. His Word clearly explains how he wants you to manage the situation. The more faithfully you draw on his grace and follow his instructions, the more likely you are to see a constructive solution and genuine reconciliation.” 1
This single concept has done more to transform my outlook on and commitment to the ministry of reconciliation and to biblical conflict resolution than any other single factor. Conflict resolution is not a nuisance. It is not a preliminary to real ministry. It is not an option. It is an opportunity entrusted to you and me by the Master to be stewarded well for him in accordance with his interests.
An effective steward of the Master’s interests must be (1) motivated by the gospel, (2) informed by the Word of God, and (3) strengthened by the Spirit of God, to name just a few.
One the most significant church health issues impacting the congregations and governing boards in the churches we serve is the matter of interests. Specifically, are churches and individuals being influenced mainly by the Master’s interests, or by personal (self-) interest? It is incumbent upon all Christ-followers to bring our strongly held positions (definable perspectives and desired outcomes) and our self-interests (concerns, values, desires, expectations, motives) to “the light of day” and willingly compare them to what we understand and believe to be the Master’s interests for our church. The interests not found in alignment with those of the Lord, the Head of the Church, must be dealt with forthrightly.
I invite further discussion of the “what” and the “how” of this virtually universal issue in our churches on the district blog.
1 Ken Sande, The Peace Maker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict, 3rd edition (Baker, 2004), pp. 38-39