…I became a minister in accordance with the divine stewardship which was entrusted to me for you, to make the Word of God fully known… For this I labor, striving with all the superhuman energy which He so mightily enkindles and works within me. Colossians 1:25, 29 AMP
My pencil holder is a cup. It sits on my desk crammed full of all sorts of things. A finger nail file, some business cards, markers, Sharpies, highlighters, rubber bands, and of course, pencils. Lots of pencils. Short ones, long ones, mechanical ones… Yes, even ones that don’t work.
I’m sure that no one else has these posers in their pencil cups or junk drawers or wherever, but you know what I ‘m talking about. The erasers are all gone; they’re out of lead; they’re end is just a nub of a thing with no hopes of a sharpener ever being found anywhere in my house (you think I would have one with so many pencils, and I think I do… somewhere…). There’s even this one that looks like a pencil, but it’s not. It’s really a pen. What kind of fresh torment is that?
These imposters of usefulness are completely in the way but somehow always seem to lure me into grabbing them in that moment when I need to scribble down something important, something quick, a reminder, a phone number. And then that leads to much frantic rummaging to find something, anything that works, until I finally resort to jotting those important words that all of my life hinges on in yellow highlighter which may as well be invisible ink that can only be seen in some ridiculous spy lab under black light.
I cannot think of anything more frustrating. But yet…
I never get rid of these less than pencils. Instead, I hold on to them. I let them sit in my pencil cup, front and center, taking up lots of space, masquerading as the real deal, crowding out the things that really should be there.
As silly as it sounds, my life is often just like my pencil cup. Crammed, cluttered, and embarrassingly overflowing with things that don’t work and I don’t need. And because of that, more times than not, I end up spending my days, utterly exhausted, chasing after things that keep me busy but are hardly satisfying.
Do you know what I’m talking about?
In Colossians 1:25, Paul writes to the church at Colossi about his ministry. He explains that he was entrusted with certain divine stewardships, certain areas/things/people that he was charged to care for and tend to. And those were what he was focused on doing. He goes on to explain that for those areas, God lights in him like a fire a superhuman energy to get the job done.
A superhuman energy. For his divine stewardships. Not for everything that came across his path.
These things that occupy most of my days? Deep in my heart, I know they are not my divine stewardships. They are busy-ness, imposters just like my useless pencils. And they are the enemy’s tricks of choice for keeping me far from the fulfilling and purposeful life that God created for me long before I was even born.
But the problem is in the moment all of my busy-ness seems so necessary, so important, so vital. How on earth would the things of life get done otherwise?
This is when I know I need to take a step back and look at my life through a Biblical lens and ask:
What are the things that I have been specifically charged with to care for and tend to?
Each one of us has different stewardships that have been entrusted to us, depending on our talents and abilities (click here to learn more). But there are certain stewardships that as Christians, we all have in common. And small acts of obedience in those areas first can restore our energy and declutter the pencil cups of our lives.
1. First and foremost, all of us are charged with actively cultivating a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
The fact of the matter is the primary reason we were created was to have a relationship with God. That’s our ultimate purpose. It’s our number one calling. It’s the number one thing we are supposed to be doing with our lives. So if you are looking for your destiny? This is it.
Matthew 6:33 tells us that if we seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, all these things will be added unto you. What that means is that when we seek Him first, everything is put into perspective and flows out of that relationship. Your relationship with Christ is your supply for all the things you need for a fulfilling life.
When we find that the balance of our life is out of whack, it’s because we haven’t been actively tending that relationship and have been looking elsewhere for our supply. When that’s the case, it’s time to get back to the basics. Daily praise and worship, time spent listening and gathering wisdom from reading and praying through God’s Word should be what everything else in your pencil cup of life is ordered around.
2. Popular or not, as a wife and mother, as women, we are charged with tending to our homes and families.
As a result of this stewardship, I often have to make some tough decisions about MY schedule and when to say yes and when to say no. One thing is for sure though, my saying yes to opportunities or activities that send my household into an uproar, create havoc by overwhelming our lives or squeezing our schedules and thereby creating unnecessary stress, strife, or frustration absolutely cannot be on the list.
And sometimes, that means that I have to say no to what seems like really cool stuff… for myself and for my kids. Even if I (or they) get left out, or are not in the know, or miss out on what seems like (in the moment) a really great opportunity.
It is my #1 job to create, maintain, and protect an atmosphere of love, peace, and spiritual well-being in my home. And tending that divine stewardship first can eliminate a ton of crazy clutter from the pencil cup of my life.
3. I am charged with being the Gospel to those around me.
Matthew 28:19 is known as the Great Commission. It says that we are to “go and make disciples of all the nations [to help the people to learn of and believe in [Jesus], and obey [His] words], baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything that [He has] commanded us.” We all know that this isn’t just a verse for missionaries and preachers though sometimes we act like it is. It was Jesus’ commandment to His disciples, i.e. His followers. That means us.
Additionally, Colossians 1:28 says that we tend to our divine stewardships so that we “we may present every person mature, full grown, and complete in Christ.”
So what am I doing to fulfill this divine stewardship? Am I spending my time trying to be a part of the group? Just one of the guys or gals? Do I spend my time complaining and gossiping? Is my time spent trying to keep up, impress, coveting, and comparing?
Or am I that person in my circles of influence who prays for those around me? Do I lift them up? Do my words represent God’s wisdom? Do I act with integrity and character even when I don’t feel like or I think it won’t matter? Do I share the Gospel of Christ in large and small ways with both my actions and my words? How much Jesus do I bring into those circles?
I am always surprised at how cutting out “just being part of the group” and choosing to be the Gospel instead removes distracting clutter from my life that I didn’t even know was there.
Life is often big and sometimes pretty messy. And if we’re not careful to guard our hearts and time, it can get out of control before we even know what’s happening. I know for my own life, I frequently have to stop and ask myself if I am running it or if it’s running me. If I’m honest, most of the time, it’s running me ragged.
Just like I need to throw out those useless pencils from my pencil cup, we all know those distracting things in our lives that we need to get rid in order to make room for obeying God’s instructions to put the first things first. And focusing our time and energy on these 3 common stewardships are exactly the types of productive first steps that restore our energy, make room for the right things, and position each us for receiving the type of individual direction and inspiration we crave for our lives.