Saturday, November 18, 2017

What kind of a steward are you?

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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Matthew 25:14-30

TO CHEW ON: ‘For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them.’” Matthew 25:14

We might be excused if, at the beginning of this story, we thought the owner had given his possessions to his servants. However, when we read the whole thing, we realize that the relationship with those possessions (here “talents”—a unit of money), was not one of ownership at all but management. Another word for that is “stewardship.”

[Stewardship: The position and duties of a steward—a person who acts as the surrogate of another or others, especially by managing property, financial affairs, an estate etc. - from]

Stewardship comes up in other places in the Bible as well. Biblical stewardship is:
  • Tailored to the individual.
In our story, the owner gave his servants different amounts of money to manage dependent on each one’s ability - Matthew 25:15.

  • Not ownership.
The stewarding aspect of our story’s handout comes out more clearly in the Luke version of this same parable - Luke 19:13.
  • Judged by faithfulness.
It’s the main characteristic of a steward: "Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful" - 1 Corinthians 4:2.

  • A sacred trust that impacts all of life.
Paul instructed Timothy on what it meant to be a steward in practical living: "O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge"  - 1 Timothy 6:20.

  • What God expects us to do with our spiritual gifts.
"As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God" 1 Peter 4:10.

  • Important because our salvation came at a high price.
    "For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s" - 1 Corinthians 6:20.
  • Important because we have a divine Master - Ephesians 6:7.
"...with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free" Ephesians 6:7,8.

So we might ask, what has God asked us to steward?

The answer will be slightly different for each one of us but will include things like the Gospel—the good news that we sinful humans can be reconciled to God through the death and resurrection of Jesus—our spiritual gifts, our material possessions, our network of family, friends, and colleagues, modern technology with its potential for fast and widespread communication, and the list could go on.

We have much to steward. Are we aware of our positions as stewards? Are we looking forward to the day we hear His “Well done, good and faithful servant?” Or will we be caught unaware at our Master’s return, embarrassed, ashamed, and casting about for excuses of why we haven't been good stewards?

PRAYER: Dear Father, help me to be aware of all You have entrusted to me, and to steward it well. May I keep the hope of Your “Well done,” always in mind. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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