Summary: What are the characteristics of being a servant.
September 23, 2012
For the past 4-5 weeks, we’ve been talking about what it means to be a servant, to be what Christians like to say ~ to be a good steward with what God has given us. So, what does that mean to be a good steward?
Some definitions are ~ 1) a person who looks after the passengers on a ship or aircraft. 2) a person responsible for supplies of food to a college, club, etc. 3) an official who supervises arrangements at a large public event. 4) a person employed to manage a large house or estate.
None of those definitions work, but they get us into the ballpark with what they imply. In practical terms, a steward is someone who carefully and responsibly cares for what they’ve been entrusted to care for. That’s my definition and I think that gets us moving in the right direction.
You see, we’ve been given this amazing gift of life, hope, grace and power through Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. But what are we doing with that gift? Have we opened it? Have we put it into practice? Or is that gift just sitting there, still all wrapped up looking really nice, but we don’t open it and use it.
Sometimes, I have to admit, I can be like that. When I get something new, I don’t always use it. I want some of those new things to stay new, not to get dirty and messed up. You know what I mean. I have some shoes that I haven’t worn, because in part, I don’t want them to get messed up, so I use up my old ones first, then I buy new shoes, and go through that cycle again.
Hopefully the shoes still fit my feet. We do that with clothes, personal belongings, appliances and we even do that with churches.
We don’t want anyone to mess up the rooms we have. We want to keep them clean and neat and orderly. Of course, we want our facilities, our homes, our businesses to look great, and we have the expectation that when someone uses something, they clean it up and leave it clean and neat. Yet, sometimes, we have that same attitude, don’t use it, that way you don’t mess it up, but that leaves us with that unopened gift. So, what do you do with what God has given to you? Our gifts and talents.
Sometimes and more than we may realize, God is calling us to take risks with the gifts and talents He has entrusted us with, but we don’t want to be viewed as failures if we don’t succeed, so we give up; and never use, nor experience the power and joy God had for us. Remember . . . failure is not trying. If you try, you will not fail. You may not success may not be as great as you would have liked, but you still didn’t fail.
I want to read you a parable from Jesus, from Matthew 25. This entire chapter is about the coming kingdom and judgement. In this chapter, Jesus told 3 stories and each one has positive and negative outcomes. He allows the listener to determine which outcome they will meet. I’ll do the same. One of the things about Jesus is that He didn’t mince His words. He didn’t sugar coat the beauty and the sorrow of embracing a relationship or not embracing a relationship with Him. He also didn’t sugar coat what it meant to choose to serve Him or not to serve Him. So, with that in mind, let’s look at what Jesus said, in what is called the Parable of Talents.
14 “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 5 talents of money, to another 2 talents, and to another 1 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!’