Stewardship Through Temperament: Serving Others and Ourselves


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Published in Bulletin of Psychological Type, 28:3, Summer/Fall 2005

Published in: Spiritual, Education
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Stewardship Through Temperament: Serving Others and Ourselves

  1. 1. STEWARDSHIP THROUGH TEMPERAMENT: SERVING OTHERS ANDOURSELVESAt the core of most traditional religious thought is a belief that our lives are not our ownbut rather we exist to serve transcendent purposes. One such purpose is stewardship - themanaging of the time, talents and resources given to us in order to build up the lives ofothers. Being about ends higher than themselves, a steward intentionally chooses serviceto others over their own self-interest.Although the objective of stewardship is to promote the well-being of others, because it isa fundamental spiritual discipline, the steward’s activities should promote their well-being, too. Since Temperament theory gives us insight into our core needs, values andtalents, it provides a perceptive lens to see how we might use the best parts of ourselvesto effectively serve others while deeply satisfying our own souls. Rather than being aburdensome spiritual discipline, serving can be a joyous celebration of our innate design.The Artisan/SP TemperamentWhat satisfies the soul of the Artisans/SP temperament is action. Wanting to go out andpractice what is preached, Artisans believe in a faith that expresses itself in activity.Artisan stewards serve with a results-oriented pragmatism and prefer serving activitiesthat can have an immediate impact on others.Theirs is an immediate and physical spirituality: the temporal, tangible, visible andaudible presence of the divine on earth right here and right now. For Artisans, “here”often means in a specific place where they can make a conspicuous impact, e.g. missions,the inner city, youth crusades, concerts, or community outreach. And “now” means tomake an immediate difference by using their natural ability to be in tune to what’shappening in the moment and serve best by meeting needs as they arise.Artisans value freedom and practicality that leads them to serve wherever they can seetheir efforts producing immediate results. They can be especially skilled servants in crisisand emergency situations. The true gift of Artisan stewardship is bringing an animatedjoy and an eager can-do zeal that makes their faith have a real-world impact.The Guardian/SJ TemperamentWhat satisfies the soul of the Guardian/SJ temperament is belonging to and faithfullyserving a meaningful community. Guardians desire to serve in ways that allow them tofeel depended on by the people that they are involved with. Being able to look afterothers in a peer, parental or authoritative role creates a very satisfying sense of belongingfor Guardians.Guardian stewards demonstrate their spiritual values through self-discipline, and social,moral and relational obligations. With a deep sense of obligation and duty to their God,they are the responsible caretakers, the humble “salt of the earth” types, who form thebackbone of their faith communities. Guardians are persevering servants who can becounted on to keep their commitments and to pick up the slack when others don’t keeptheirs.
  2. 2. The gift of Guardian stewardship is stabilizing and preserving the lives of others.Guardians serve best when they can demonstrate their logistical gifts of responsiblymanaging time, people, resources, and money. They also bring structure, rules, andprocedures to make certain everybody is doing things right. In addition, Guardians createand uphold rituals and traditions that can give others a sense of belonging andpermanence.The Idealist/NF TemperamentInsight. Inspiration. Involvement. Intimacy. Idealist/NFs pack up their “I’s” and takethem on a life-long soul search for Identity. What satisfies their soul is finding answers tothe questions, “How can I be all that I was intended to be?” and “How can I help othersbecome all that they were intended to be?” Idealists serve by using their distinctivecapacity to see what might be able to be done with, through, and for people.Always seeing the best in others, Idealist stewards inspire hopefulness in those theyencounter. They have a natural empathy for hurting people and are insightful counselorsand mentors, with a perceptive ability to see into the unspoken needs and concerns ofothers. Idealists are also enthusiastic communicators who bring people a spirit ofoptimism in the midst of difficult situations.Idealists prefer serving activities which allow them to make uniquely personalcontributions. The gift of Idealist stewardship is being an inspiring catalyst of spiritualgrowth through encouragement, receptiveness and support. Idealist stewards are at theirbest when they can serve in ways consistent with their values of self-improvementthrough spiritual and personal growth, both in themselves and others.The Rational/NT TemperamentWhat satisfies the soul of the Rational/NT temperament is a quest for knowledge andcompetence, and the long-term advantages that such knowledge can give to an individualor group. Rational stewards desire to serve by challenging themselves and others toachieve excellence by understanding how to apply universal spiritual truths andprinciples to everyday life.Rational stewards prefer servant activities that allow them to focus others’ attention totranscendent ideas and principles that give life vision and mission. They demonstratetheir spiritual values through an intense desire to seek, understand and to explain thespiritual life in order that they and others might master it. For the Rational, knowledge isspiritual power, and the goal of the spiritual life is to expel darkness by living in the lightof Truth.Because they value the central truths, concepts, and doctrines that underlie their beliefs,Rationals bring a passion for religious studies into their communities of faith. Driven bytheir own love of learning, the gift of Rational stewardship is teaching, and so a greatmany of them serve others by writing, developing study aids, and instructing others howto better understand the principles of their faith.
  3. 3. Even when we virtuously choose to put others before ourselves, the gifts we offer otherscan be gifts to ourselves. When we serve out of our own temperament values and talents,stewardship can allow us to choose service and self-interest. As a pastor once told me,“When we serve others through our gifts, we are satisfied, others are edified and God isglorified.”