STEWARDING YOUR YEAR (Pt. 4)

As he was preparing his disciples for his departure from this world, Jesus intended that they understand the responsibility being in trusted to them.  He does so by telling them some stories with Kingdom truths found in Matthew’s Gospel (Chapters 24& 25). The moral of the stories were clear… They needed to be good stewards; faithfully attending to the duties given them by their Master.  They also were to stay watchful and alert for his unknown hour of return.

STEWARDS OF A HOUSEHOLD
In Matthew 24:42-51, Jesus likens his disciples to stewards of a household. The main steward had been given the responsibility of caring the household; feeding each their portion at the proper time.

Today,there is still the need for good stewardship of ministry gifts for the household of God. The apostle Paul wrote,”Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy”(‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭4‬:‭1-2‬ NASB).
From Jesus story(Matthew 24), we learn that those called to minister the Word of God should not do so with an eye of covetousness and greed; using and abusing the flock under their care. They are called to feed God’s people with a faithful Word from the Lord.  Like the prophets of old, they were approached to find out “Is there a word from the Lord?” Those who minister the things of God to His people are only stewards of a gift to which they will one day give a strict account  (See 1 Peter 5:1-4).
Our Lord knows the heart and gives warning to the unfaithful that they will experience “Weeping, gnashing of teeth”(Vain regret). And they will find themselves in a place with the “hypocrites”.  A hypocrite is a Greek word that was used in theatre meaning “A person who wears a large Mask to exaggerate the stage character they were playing” for the audience. Hypocrisy is pretending to be what you, in reality, are not.   The apostle Paul may have had this in mind when he wrote to Timothy regarding his public ministry, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth” (‭2 Timothy‬ ‭2‬:‭15‬ NASB).

STEWARDING THE TALENTS
In Matthew 25:11-30, Jesus tells a story to highlight the importance of being faithful stewards of the Master’s “talents”(Money).  In the story we discover that the Master was going away for some time. He left three servants in charge of his Business affairs. He set up each servant as a winner, giving “each according to their ability”(Matthew 25:15). The first two servants recognized that their GIFT(Talents) + TIME = OPPORTUNITY! They made an investment for the Master so that upon his return they were able to show him that they had made a profitable gain.   The Master was both delighted and grateful, rewarding and honoring each with at least twice as much as they previously had received!
But not so for the third servant. Why not? Because he had a wrong view of his MASTER. “I knew that you are a hard man…harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have scattered seed…I was afraid…and hid YOUR talent in the ground”(See Matthew 25:25).
The Master is not only disapproving of this servant but tells him, “Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest. Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’ “For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away” (‭Matthew‬ ‭25‬:‭27-30 NASB).  

CHARACTER & ACTIONS

The Master summed up his judgement, based upon both the servant’s character and actions.  “You wicked, lazy servant!”(Matthew 25:26).

Character is about what you are and what you do when no one is watching.  Also, never forget that when it seems that no one knows or is watching…there is always One watching.  As the old plaque on the wall in someone’s home read, “Thou God seeth me”.  As stewards, our work should always be done “For the audience of One..The Lord Himself”.

Returning to the Master’s evaluation, the problem with the last servant was that he was lazy. He was ungrateful for the gift given and therefore did nothing with it.  He did not consider that investing time and God-given energy was his OPPORTUNITY to receive a good return on his God-given INVESTMENT.
A JUST REWARD
Jesus teaches us in the story, that if we steward well our God-given “talent”, the Master will reward us with MORE in order that we can still accomplish MORE.   But the Master also stated that there was no reward for a “wicked, lazy” servant.  Only a fearful judgement awaits those who squander the Master’s gifts and talents.
In every field of life, in God-given endeavor, there is profit and a good reward. Stewards must be faithful. Look through the eye of faith and arise to your place of God-given influence. “Your beginnings will seem humble, so prosperous will your future be”(Job 8:7).  God assures us,”For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”(Jeremiah 29:11).

(c) Copyright 2015, Walter Fletcher Jr. All rights reserved. This article may be copied and shared free of charge provided that it is not sold or altered in any way from its original content. Please address all correspondence to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com

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