Stewardship

 

We hear a lot about stewardship. Usually it’s in the context of preserving something. Certainly a good steward will preserve what he has been given. But stewardship is less about preserving what we have been given and more about using what we have been given. Consider the parable of the “Talents.”

*   (Mat 25:14-30 NIV)  "Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. {15} To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. {16} The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. {17} So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. {18} But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money. {19} "After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. {20} The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.' {21} "His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!' {22} "The man with the two talents also came. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.' {23} "His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!' {24} "Then the man who had received the one talent came. 'Master,' he said, 'I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. {25} So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.' {26} "His master replied, 'You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? {27} Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. {28} "'Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. {29} For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. {30} And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'

 

This parable is teaching much more than how we should handle money. It speaks about how we should handle everything we are given. It speaks of stewardship. And just what is a steward. According to the dictionary a steward is, “One who manages another's property, finances, or other affairs.” It should be obvious that He who created Heaven and Earth is the owner of all that He created. We then are only managers given dominion over that property. We all are servants and stewards of God. Will we be, “Good and faithful servants” or “Wicked and lazy servants”?

 

We have been entrusted with much more than five talents, an amount probably under $10,000 according to a note in my Bible. Many of us are driving cars worth more than five talents. Regardless of the amount we have authority over we must do more than preserve our talents: We must use them well! Our modern term, “Talent” is derived from the Biblical “Talent” and thus we can relate very well to this parable. Whatever we have is a gift or a talent.

 

The Bible says of stewards in…

*   (1 Cor 4:2 RSV) Moreover it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy.

To be trustworthy you must be wise and knowledgeable. Simple honesty is not enough even though honesty is a virtue and an attribute of the good steward. The good steward will seek to know what his master expects and what pleases his master. Then the good steward will do whatever it takes to meet and exceed the master’s expectations. God is that Master. We can learn what the master expects by studying what He has written in the Bible and by talking with Him in prayer. It should be expected then that the world we receive should be improved by us as we live in it. This improvement is judged not by what men have said but by what God has said. We must be careful not to put the creation above the creator. The earth was made for man, not the other way around! We should be using the earth and not simply be preserving it. Should we care for it? Of course, but not in a way that does a disservice to men. This is a call for a trustworthy steward that is wise and knowledgeable.

 

Now here is a little tidbit to consider that pertains to money and the USA. PowerPoint presentation here. How Big is a Trillion Dollars?

 

Of course the budget and the debt we are passing on to our fellow Americans and to future generations is much more than a trillion dollars. It is measured in many trillions of dollars. Collectively, as Americans, do you think God is saying, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”?