Summary: Stewardship, investing in the kingdom of God also Eccl 11:1-6
What Does It Mean To Be A Citizen In The Kingdom Of God.
Our Scriptures this morning address this issue: what does it mean to be a citizen in the kingdom of God? More importantly, what does it mean to be a citizen in the kingdom of God, when the Master, Jesus, is gone?
When we become Christians, accept Jesus into our heart, give our lives over to the Lord, we enter the kingdom of God. We are a part of it, our citizenship is solid and no one will ever be able to be taken away from us.
Jesus in this parable tells us not how to become a part of the Kingdom of God, but how to act in the kingdom of God, how to act as a good steward.
Many times this is what we do: We become Christians, citizens. Life’s hard and we are doing ok, so we focus on maintaining our Christian lives. We live by this motto: Better to do no wrong – than risk messing up; Better to maintain and stay the same, than risk messing up.
But Jesus tells us – that’s the wrong approach. He wants us to take risks in the Kingdom of God. He wants us to invest the Kingdom of God. He wants risk not just maintenance.
In our day our society has come to equate stewardship with conservation Stewardship is not about conservation .For example in the environmental movement: Keep this forest in a pristine state – DON’T TOUCH IT. That is not stewardship – stewardship involves risks, investment, not maintaining the status quo . The risk and investment, are not only for risk and investments sake. There is a return on a risky investment in the kingdom of God. The return is not in the form of money. The return is Joy, a more fulfilling walk with Christ, more spiritual responsibility.
In the past: I have been told by some, maybe you have heard it too – using this parable: Invest your money in the kingdom of God and God will give you back more than double your money. When I hear that, I suspect that is someone who is just trying to get my money. Why?
It is bad scholarship. It is a misunderstanding of Scripture. Christians don’t give money to the kingdom to get money. That is unspiritual thinking.
Stewardship – is a spiritual matter, for though we deal with material issues but they have for us spiritual consequences. Let us see how this is....
Jesus sets up the situation with the Master going on a journey. Clearly the Master is Jesus and he is speaking of the time after his death and resurrection where he has gone away. In other words: right now in our time. Clearly the three men represent – all of us. So he is looking for supervisor material. in biblical terms: steward, - to us a supervisor.
Common in biblical times. The Master leaves for months or years and places the servants – could be slaves, in charge. The people hearing the story understood: The supervisor did not own the estate. The supervisor was not working for his benefit. The supervisor was given a great opportunity. He had responsibility. He was to make his master look good. He apparently had the capacity to take a risk. What Jesus is looking for is the capacity to take a risk. He seeks this. He commends this.
Let’s look at Eccl 11.
It takes three thoughts. Places them side by side, yo encourage us to take a risk.
Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again.
An odd saying, it means this: Despite the risk at sea, or traveling a river, there is potential return. Egyptian in origin - bread on the water – Egyptian, a gift.
We would say: what comes around goes around.
Give portions to seven, yes to eight, for you do not know what disaster may come upon the land.
Life is uncertain.
If clouds are full of water, they pour rain upon the earth. Whether a tree falls to the south or to the north, in the place where it falls, there will it lie .
But one must act before rain (plant) not just when it is in sight, there are events we have no control over.
What comes around goes around.
Life is uncertain.
There are events we have no control over.
All of these combine to say to us, in the context of the kingdom of God, when we apply this to stewardship, don’t wait for the best time in your life to get started. Waiting will get you nowhere. Act now. Who knows what tomorrow will bring.
Take a risk.