Be a faithful servant.
HYMN: TAKE MY LIFE AND LET IT BE
Text: Gen. 39:1-6, 41:46-57, 1 Sam. 12:1-5
Stewardship is from the word steward. Generally, a steward is one who waits upon another, group of persons etc. It could be in a private house, commercial center, office, aircraft, ship, train, etc. The word connotes service. For the purpose of this study, steward is defined by the New Lexicon Webster’s Dictionary shall be used: “A manager acting for the owner, of a large landed estate, its mansion, tenants etc. Stewardship is then the act of taking care of or managing something usually for the owner’s interest. A steward then is one who manages another’s property, finances or other affairs. It also means one who attends to the need of others committed to him.
In Gen. 1:30, we are told that God created all things. We are also told in 1 Tim. 6:17 that He gave us all things to enjoy. This means that what we think is ours, is not really ours. They are given to us to manage for the owner’s interest. As Christians we are called to be stewards and not Lords, ministers and not masters. The early apostles realized that they were servants of the Lord Jesus Christ that had the care of the household of God and no more. They were to provide spiritual food for the rest, appoint and direct their work. Paul as one of these apostles concluded that he had fought a good fight and that a crown was waiting for him (2 Tim. 4:7-8). This is the testimony of a good steward who knew that he had done his master’s biddings faithfully and was so sure of a reward.
As stewards of the manifold grace of God, we are through this grace to use our duty posts to do only that which the Lord had said. Diligent care must be taken not to feed the household with the chaff of our own inventions, instead of the wholesome food that is from the Master’s table. A true steward will always seek the glory, interest, and honor of his Lord.
The objectives of this study are:
- To know who a steward is.
- How Christian stewardship arise.
- What is required in stewardship?
- To appreciate some areas of Christian stewardship.
- To know the benefits/rewards of faithful stewardship.
Q1. WHO IS A STEWARD?
A steward is one who manages another’s property, finances or other affairs. A steward waits to satisfy other’s interests. He makes life more comfortable for those he waits upon. He cares for the interests of the property owner. The word connotes service. In Genesis, everything God created in the Garden of Eden was for Adam, the first created human being to keep and manage on behalf of the Creator. Freely he was to use the garden with only one law to obey which of course he could not and thus failed in his stewardship (Gen. 2:15-17).
Q2. HOW DOES CHRISTIAN STEWARDSHIP ARISE?
As earlier stated, everything around Adam was created for him. In fact, before his arrival, they were already present. He was the last to come into the scene. He did not labor for their existence neither did he acquire them. He was just there to keep and manage. In the same vein, all we own comes from God. (Deut. 8:18; Hag. 2:8, 1 Cor. 4:7). The Lord God is the source of our lives (Acts 17:28). He created all
things for His good pleasure. What we hold onto as ours does not belong to us but that we are holding it in trust for the actual Owner. From this fact, arose Christian stewardship. The Lord Jesus Christ when
He ascended gave gifts unto men so as to serve as stewards (Eph. 4:7-12). Whatever we have whether worldly goods or Spiritual endowments, all came from the Lord above, for His service (John 3:27). Just as in the natural world when masters call their stewards (servants) to give account of their stewardship, so shall we be called someday to give account of our stewardship. Romans 14:12.
Q3. WHAT IS REQUIRED IN STEWARDSHIP?
“Moreover, it is required in stewards that a man be found faithful” (1 Cor. 4:2). Generally, in business endeavors the worker or servant who stays with or supports the organizational policies, ideals etc. is termed a faithful employee. Daniel and Joseph are examples among others of those that displayed good stewardship even as foreigners in the land of captivity. They showed what is required in stewards both in public and private lives. They were government officials who served next to the kings at various times. Daniel in particular, served four Kings and he was faithful. Daniel was so faithful and true to his Master (God) that no one could fault him (Dan. 6:1-5). Joseph exhibited this same quality, that was why Potiphar committed everything in his house to him and no fault was found in him. Don’t forget he was also a foreigner. The law of their God was in their hearts. (Gen. 39:1-6). Can this be said of you and me? Joseph’s faithfulness delivered Egypt in the time of scarcity. Faithfulness is not about location or nationality, but it is of the heart. Serve wherever you find yourself. Please read Col. 3:22-23, Eph. 6:5-8.
Q4. SOME AREAS CHRISTIANS ARE EXPECTED TO BE FAITHFUL STEWARDS.:
1. Home: (1 Tim. 5:8; Deut. 6:4-7)
Whatever we have in our homes is from the Lord. He gave them to us to manage on His behalf. Children are an heritage of the Lord (Ps. 127:3). Our Lord wants the little ones to come unto Him. (Mark 10:14). Every parent must encourage the children to know and be useful to the Lord. “Jet or nuclear age” is not an excuse. Spouses must serve one another in love for a healthy home makes a healthy church and nation.
2.Time: (Eph. 5:15-16, Col. 4:5, Gal. 6:10).
Time and tide as often said wait for no man. There is time for everything (Eccl. 3:1) Good stewards maximize time for the master. The time we spend in gossiping, backbiting, slandering, tongue lashing etc. are not spent for the Lord. Let’s spend time to edify one another (Rom. 14:19). Good stewards will not sit at the TV when he has some duties left unattended to. Consider the time you spend in watching home videos, is it really worth it? Could such time not have been better spent? Do we have time these days to visit the sick or brethren who need attention/edification? (Matt. 25:31-46).
3. Money, Property etc. (Mal. 3:8, Neh. 13:10-12, Hag. 2:8, Deut. 8:18, Hos. 2:6-12).
Whatever we have comes from the Lord. We are to use them to His praise and glory. Our earthly good are to be used for the benefit of mankind whom God created. Jesus told the young rich man to sell his goods and give to the poor. The next man to us may be lacking in what we have in good supply; let’s give some out. DO not forget what the Lord said in Matt. 25:34-46. No man has it all but the Lord made it so that those who lack in one can get some supply from those who have in abundance and all will then have. (Acts 2:44-45). The class can suggest other areas Christians are expected to be faithful stewards.
Q5. SOME BENEFITS/ REWARDS OF FAITHFUL STEWARDSHIP?
Good commendation/promotion (Matt. 25:21-23, Dan. 6:1-3).
Daniel came to this position because of faithfulness in service. The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute. (Prov. 12:24). To get to the top is to be first a good steward. Joseph in his lifetime even after his life in Egypt received good comments. From Potiphar’s house through the prison experience to the throne in Egypt, he was highly commended no wonder he rose to be the number two man in a strange land. Daniel served four kings and no one made a bad comment about him. No wonder also he rose to be the first of the three presidents also in a foreign land. The diligence of Joseph saved Egypt from starvation, and Egypt became a service center to the then world just because of the faithfulness of one man.
Physical and Spiritual Blessings.
When we serve faithfully, God is always there to bless and protect us. Even when man may want to undo the child of God that is faithful, He God will always come to his help. The “blessing’ through the wrong way will not last. (Prov. 20:17, 12:27-28, 13:11). The Lord will one day commend those that have been faithful stewards. Be ye therefore faithful. This is the highest price of it all. (Luke 19:16-19). When we as individuals are faithful stewards of the various gifts God has given us for the edification of the church, there will always be sweet fellowship among ourselves each time we come together.
Daily Living Application:
We are all called to be stewards and in doing this, we must be found faithful. Whatever God has given us to manage on His behalf must be done according to His terms. Time must not be wasted because time lost can hardly be regained. Everyone who had served well received good commendation. The Father said of His son, “this is my beloved Son, hear ye Him”. God said to Cain “if thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? And if thou does not well, sin lieth at the door….” (Gen. 4:7). If you have not been found faithful in your duty post, this is the time to repent. Tomorrow may be too late.
1 Corinthians 4:2
“Moreover, it is required in stewards that a man be found faithful”.
Daily Devotional Guide:
Monday: All we own come from God.
Deut. 8:18, Hag. 2:8, 1 Cor. 4:7
Tuesday: Christ gave gifts unto men for service.
Eph. 4:7-12, John 3:27
Wednesday: Faithfulness is required in stewardship.
1 Cor. 4:2, Eph. 6:5-8, Col. 3:22-23
Thursday: Stewardship of time.
Eph. 5:15-16, Col. 4:5, Gal. 6:10, Rom. 14:19
Friday: Stewardship of money, property, etc.
Mal. 3:8, Neh. 13:10-12, Hos. 2:6-12
Saturday: Rewards of stewardship.
Matt. 25:21-23, Dan. 6:1-3