Summary: What kind of steward are you in the Kingdom of God?
Text/Reading: 1 Corinthians 4:1-5
Ill: A wealthy businessman from Texas was in the habit of giving his dad unique gifts on his birthday. As his business travels took him around the world, he would always search to find something truly remarkable to give to his dad. But this past year he felt he had outdone himself. He discovered a talking bird that had been trained to speak five languages and even more incredible, could sing “The Yellow Rose of Texas” while standing on one foot. The talented bird cost him ten thousand dollars, but he felt it was worth every penny. This would be a gift his dad would never forget and he arranged to have the bird delivered in time for his dad’s birthday.
About a week after the bird was delivered he called his father. “Dad, how did you like the bird?” His father responded, “Son, you have to tell me where you found that bird because it was delicious!”
Question: What do you do with the gifts that have been given to you?
I. A Matter of Defining
1: the office, duties, and obligations of a steward
2: the conducting, supervising, or managing of something; especially: the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care
B. The word steward actually comes from two root words: “stig” meaning a hall or household and “weard” meaning to ward or keep. In other words, a keeper of the household: a servant.
C. 1 Corinthians 4:1 “Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.”
As it was for Paul, it is the same for us: servants and stewards.
D. If you have ever been on a ship, you know what a ship’s steward is. Or if you have ever been on an airplane, you know what a steward or stewardess is. That person does not own the airplane or anything on the plane. That steward has been given the responsibility of taking the goods that belong to a higher authority and dispensing it to the people for their benefit. That is a steward – on an airplane or ship – and in the spiritual realm as well.
E. As far as Christians are concerned, stewardship involves the responsibility of managing God’s work through the church.
1. God has appointed all Christians to be His stewards on earth.
1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen race, A royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;”
2. Ephesians 2:8-10 “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
F. What are we stewards of? All that has been given to us. What has been given to us? EVERYTHING.
II. A Matter of Determining
A. We must determine what is required of us.
1. Some people feel that if I don’t get too involved in church or get too involved in doing things for Christ that He won’t ask too much.
Matthew 10:38 “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39“He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.”
B. I’ve heard it preached as Time, Talent, and Treasure
1. Time: How do you spend your time?
a. Ephesians 5:15-16 “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.”
b. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17 “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
c. Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”
a. 1 Corinthians 7:7b “…However, each man has his own gift from God, one in this manner, and another in that.”
b. Ephesians 4:11-12 “And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;”