Summary: Committing to being a good steward of all that God has entrusted into our care.
I Will Be A Good Steward
Apart from our Lord, it is hard to think of historical figures whose dying words were, "It is accomplished!" Alexander the Great conquered Persia, but broke down and wept because his troops were too exhausted to push on to India. Hugo Grotius, the father of modern international law, said at the last, "I have accomplished nothing worthwhile in my life." John Quincy Adams, sixth President of the United States-not a Lincoln, perhaps, but a decent leader-wrote in his diary: "My life has been spent in vain and idle aspirations, and in ceaseless rejected prayers that something would be the result of my existence beneficial to my species." Robert Louis Stevenson wrote words that continue to delight and enrich our lives, and yet what did he pen for his epitaph? "Here lies one who meant well, who tried a little, and failed much." Cecil Rhodes opened up Africa and established an empire, but what were his dying words? "So little done, so much to do."
It is important for us to be good stewards of things. A steward can be defined simply as someone who manages something. In our society a steward may be someone you find on an airplane, but in the Bible it is so much more. We as God’s creation have been entrusted with the things of God. Every Christian is a steward. This is difficult for us to at times accept, but understanding it makes us realize some important things. We do not like to see ourselves as the stewards of things, but rather as the owner of things. If we are stewards than it is not ours, but we are simply managing it for someone else, namely for God. This certainly may change the way we spend our time and money, and it certainly should change the way we treat His Church and our bodies of which we are also stewards. Stewardship is a matter not just of giving, but rather is a matter of Christian living.
One reason why people today are not the best stewards of things that they could be is because of selfishness and greed. We live in a society consumed with the worship of self. People love the idea of getting more for them. It is important for us to note that everything belongs to God, not just ten percent. Therefore if everything belongs to God, and we understand that, it becomes less difficult to be better stewards of things and to be wiser with the things entrusted to us. I want to ask you this morning, what are you doing with God’s resources? Are you using them to advance the kingdom or are you squandering them? What areas in your life can you improve in being a better steward? Perhaps in the way you handle money, or the way you utilize your time, perhaps in your using of your talents and abilities or the way you treat your own body. In all these things we are stewards and we need to do the best we can.
Text: I Peter 4:7-11
I. The Position of A Steward
Perhaps people today have such a hard time with good stewardship because of the fact that we often fail to accept or maybe realize what our position is as stewards and what all that implies.
A. As Stewards We Are Slaves
The most important truth that we can learn when we discuss stewardship is that we certainly are not our own. It is not very fashionable for us to think of ourselves as slaves, we prefer the term servant. It sounds much softer and nicer to us. In our language servants can earn money and are able to negotiate their working conditions, but a slave could not. Perhaps the problem is that many of us are unwilling to relinquish total control to Jesus in everything.
On several occasions Paul spoke about the willing slavery in which we enter into as Christians. He spoke of being freed from sin and enslaved to God. He referred to himself and others as bondservants. We have not been made slaves in order to be demeaned or belittled, but rather because he has entrusted us with some amazing responsibilities. However, if we are slaves that means in regards to some things we do not have a choice, a say, or a right to an opinion. For example, we do not have a right to determine what is right and wrong and how we will live our lives, but rather we must conform to what God has said.
There is one thing unique about our slavery to God and that is we willing submit ourselves to become slaves of God.
Many people look at things as though they have the right and freedom to do whatever they want, but that simply shows a person who is not submissive to Christ. We as Christians must understand that we are not our own, that we are slaves to Christ and that means that as we live as stewards of the things he has entrusted to us we remember that truth. You see, many stewardship problems are actually priority or spiritual problems. We must learn to see the Lord and His work as a priority, and if we see it as a priority and if we see ourselves as not our own, then using God’s things for His purposes does not mean we are loosing time, energy, money, or resources, we are just using God’s resources where he wants them used. If you see it all as “mine, mine, mine” then it may be hard to let go of that which is not yours in the first place. Perhaps many people’s problems is that they have failed to submit to Christ.