Summary: A sermon on Stewardship
A Tale of Three Stewards: Principles of Stewardship
February 15, 2015
TEXT: Please turn to Matthew 25
Today we’re beginning a 3-week study of biblical stewardship, life prioritization and giving, followed by a missions emphasis in the run-up to our missions conference March 19-22. What exactly do we mean by “stewardship?” Webster’s Dictionary defines stewardship as “the proper care, supervision, and management of that which belongs to another.”
Illus. – In 2007 our kids came over for the Christmas holidays and we took a family trip to Interlaken, Switzerland and back. We borrowed a van from a local church so we could all travel together. After we had traveled all the way there, eaten snacks and meals and ice cream in it, drank Lord only knows how many coffees and soft drinks in it and trudged in and out of the snow—of which there was plenty—we returned it to the pastor.
All the while, I was very careful to take special care of it since it didn’t belong to me. When we returned, I vacuumed it out, ran it through a car wash and generally gave it a thorough cleaning. A couple of days after returning it, the pastor’s wife commented that she and her husband that they were amazed at how nice the van looked when they got it back. She said people routinely borrow their van and return it in a mess. I can’t imagine doing such a thing, because I knew that I was a steward of someone else’s van, and I wanted to be a GOOD steward.
Biblically, the idea of stewardship for God’s people weaves it’s way throughout the Bible. The teaching of the Bible is that we’re stewards of all that God has given us and we’re not only to OVERSEE it, but to INVEST it for eternal rewards.
There’s no better illustration of this than in the Parable of the Three Stewards in Matthew 25:14-28. In this passage there are four key principles of stewardship clearly laid out for us. Let’s look at them:
I. THE FIRST PRINCIPLE IS THIS: WHAT YOU HAVE IS NOT YOURS – Verse 14 – “For the kingdom of heaven is as a man traveling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.”
This landowner or wealthy man was taking a long trip. Given the uncertainties of travel in those days, the time of return for even a well-planned trip was often open-ended. So before beginning such a trip it was common for wealthy people to delegate the supervision and increase of their wealth to trustworthy servants or employees. Once the master’s property and wealth were placed under their management, they were expected to bring a return on what had been handed over to them or otherwise well maintained or cared for.
Now remember this: There was no doubt in the minds of these servants that the property and money put in their possession still belonged to the master.
• They were the POSSESSORS, but not the PROPRIETORS.
• They were the MANAGERS, not the OWNERS.