BY PROF. PETER UBOMBA-JASWA
A definition of the word stewardship could be, “The conducting, supervising, or managing of something; especially: the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care. ”
The second part, in italics, is particularly pertinent to our topic – stewardship of knowledge. We could go far back and recall the first human steward and stewardship model; look back to God and his created image (Adam –human beings) – we are all created in God’s image.
Created in his image, he endowed the man with immense intellectual capability to endlessly create knowledge in order to be equipped for the divine assignment of careful and responsible management of his creation– literally being co-creator with God.
Keep that in mind and fast forward to our time in UCU. Stewardship in action is not far from us: you could say the Rev Dr John Senyonyi is the [chief] steward of UCU which has been entrusted to his care by the University Council, working in God’s design in such a time as this!
If you stop there however, you will miss the bigger picture of the network of stewards cascading up to the object of the stewardship – i.e. the production of graduates who have acquired knowledge through learning on the platform of faith in Jesus Christ for effective service to their respective families, communities and the nation.
So who is in this network of UCU’s stewardship of knowledge?
For stewardship (careful and responsible management) of knowledge, in and through faith in Jesus Christ, has given each current worker (you and me), regardless of assigned task, rank and division, a unique opportunity to be partakers in that divine stewardship by God’s grace and will, and for his glory.
UCU encourages each worker to be a true servant of God and fellowman based on obedience to the injunction to love God with all that we are and love our neighbour as ourselves.
Create a mental map of stewardship networks at UCU: the clean toilets; the orderly chairs; the voices communicating knowledge echoing from the fresh Noll block or mutedly from the subdued K and M or thundering from the famous Nkoyoyo Hall, and the neatly trimmed hedges.
Wherever our point of stewardship is, in the grand scheme of UCU’s institutional stewardship of knowledge, we are accountable to God. St. Paul puts it emphatically:
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
Awesomely, God has placed his servants in “a network of service-points” called UCU and entrusted them with the reception, nurture and production of graduates grounded in knowledge and in the art of discerning and creating knowledge in the areas of [His] service which he assigned for them before they were in their mothers’ wombs.
Whatever honest work you do, know and constantly remind yourself that work is a gift of God to the human being who bears his image. It is service to him – we are his servants.
C. S. Lewis perhaps said it better:
“Every faculty you have, your power of thinking or of moving your limbs from moment to moment, is given you by God. If you devoted every moment of your whole life exclusively to His service, you could not give Him anything that was not in a sense His own already.”
The true meaning in our work as God’s stewards, is not found in our paycheque or basic productivity, social ranking and economic status, but in the degree of love we have for the Lord (with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind), and how we demonstrate our love for others through our actions at every point of stewardship and in our general attitudes.
Therefore, in God, we have the equality of stewardship. “God’s steward must be above reproach; must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined; and must hold firm to the trustworthy word of God.”
In all we do, the Lord our God should become greater (glorified) and we should become less.
The writer is the Chair of the Institute of Faith, Learning & Service Committee and Head of the Research Unit, School of Research & Postgraduate Studies.