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Have You Shown Up For Work Yet?
"Stewardship is the acceptance from God of personal responsibility for all of life and life's affairs." - Roswell C. Long
God has given each one of us a job to perform. It's a duty or a work that He has specifically and individually assigned.
For some, it may be to preach the Gospel to a certain group of people.
To another it may be to teach a Sunday School class, preach in the open-air, or contend for the Faith in the political arena.
Or it may be to financially support a God-appointed ministry or work.
For many, it may be to raise a family for Him according to the dictates of His Word.
Whatever the assignment, it is a trust that the Almighty has committed to us and requires that we be found faithful in carrying it out.
This God-given responsibility can be summed up in one single word - Stewardship.
We would have to agree that - in the days that we live in - we are finding more and more that people lack commitment, responsibility, and accountability. Sadly, these virtues are even lacking in the Church. This ought not to be.
In this message, we would like to examine the topic of Stewardship in the light of the Scriptures.
May God the Holy Spirit shine the spotlight on any irresponsibility, immaturity, slothfulness, or lack of commitment on our part.
May we all be jolted into a fresh mindset of the gravity of the times in which we live...the lateness of the hour...and the necessity of getting the job done which God has assigned us.
There are nine different aspects of Stewardship that we would like to study - while keeping an open ear to hear what the Spirit of the Lord is saying to His people at this time.
1. The Definition Of A Steward
1 Corinthians 4:1 says - "Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God."
What is a steward? A steward is someone who presides over the affairs of a family - making sure that its needs are met. He is also an officer who keeps accounts.
In this particular Scripture, the Apostle Paul referred to every minister as a steward "of the mysteries of God." In other words, he was saying that every servant of the Lord has been given an assignment or work to carry out; that is, through instruction, counsel, and guidance to practically and accurately lead God's people into a greater understanding of the divine truths of the Word.
2. The Steward Must Be Faithful
1 Corinthians 4:2 says - "Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful."
The major characteristic of every steward is that he be found "faithful" or trustworthy. He must do his duty - always seeking the approval of his Master and to do Him good.
3. The Motives Behind Stewardship
1 Corinthians 9:17 says - "For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me."
We are given a choice - we can perform our duties "willingly" or "against our will." We can carry out our assignments freely, heartily, successfully, and diligently - while subjecting ourselves to the most stringent self-denials and sacrifices in order to please the Lord. Or we may find - at times - that we perform our duty under a necessity - "against our will" - simply because it is the command of our Master's which we dare not disobey out of fear of punishment. A dispensation, office, or calling has been laid upon us - "committed" to us - and we must engage in it.
4. The Unique Calling
Galatians 2:7 says - "But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter."
There should never arise any strife, jealousy, or competition between brethren over assignments - for each individual believer is given a divine commission from God.
The Apostle Paul's duty was to present "the gospel of the uncircumcision" to the Gentiles; whereas, the "gospel of the circumcision" was given to Peter in order to reach the Jews.
5. The Characteristics Of A Steward
1 Corinthians 16:13 says - "Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong."
Titus 1:7 says - "For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not self-willed, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre."
In order to be found "faithful" in the end, the "steward" at all times must be watchful, on guard, vigilant, and circumspect - always on the lookout for the enemies of truth and holiness to detour him from his path of duty. He must stand strong, firm, fixed, and stedfast against all error - while always maintaining and asserting the truth wherever he goes.
"As a steward of God," he must keep a clear conscience as he strives to take care of the affairs of God's household - the Church. His job is to feed, rule, and watch over His flock. In order to do that, he must rid himself of any self-complacency, self-confidence, self-love, pride, conceit, stubbornness, inflexibility, irritability, temper, compromise, or greed.
6. The Given Trusts and Responsibilities
Romans 3:2 says - "Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God."
1 Thessalonians 2:4 says - "But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts."
1 Timothy 1:11 says - "According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust."
2 Timothy 1:13 says - "Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus."
Titus 1:3 says - "But hath in due times manifested His word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour."
The Word of God confirms that God assigns certain trusts and responsibilities to a given people. For instance, "the oracles of God" or the Holy Scriptures were "committed" unto the Jews. Paul, Silvanus, and Timotheus were "put in trust with the Gospel." Paul wrote to Timothy about how the ministry of preaching the "glorious gospel" "was committed" to his trust. He admonished him to "hold fast the form of sound words." In other words, he was to adhere to the pattern, sketch, plan, or outline with which Paul entrusted him. The "preaching" of the Gospel was a commission or calling that came to Paul from Christ.
7. That Which Is Committed Much Be Kept
1 Timothy 6:20 says - "O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called."
2 Timothy 1:14 says - "That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us."
As God's stewards, we cannot be warned too often to guard our holy trusts given to us by our Saviour. We must not allow the "vain and profane babblings" of men to turn us from the path of obedience.
In order to keep our doctrine and lives free from corruption, we must have the Power of the Holy Spirit. He and He alone is the Sanctifier Who enables us to walk in holiness and purity.
8. What You Hear Must Be Committed Unto Others
2 Timothy 2:2 says - "And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also."
What we receive from the Lord is to be shared with others - by, before, or in the presence of "many witnesses." God entrusts us with Truth so that we may - in turn - "commit" it to "faithful men."
9. Never Lording It Over Others
1 Peter 5:3 says - "Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.'
In an attitude of humility, self-abasement, and heavenly-mindedness, we - as the "stewards" of God's graces and truths - must never be found manipulating, domineering, or lording it over God's Sheep. If we have been entrusted with responsibilities and duties to the Church, then we must seek to carry out our assignment with love, meekness, and tenderness.
In your God-given task, are you striving to be "faithful" or trustworthy to the Master?
Are you seeking to please Him and Him alone?
Has God "committed" to you a certain calling or office?
At the present time, is it something that you are doing "willingly" or is it "against your will"?
Have you found yourself comparing yourself to others and becoming jealous with a competitive spirit?
Could it be that you have a wrong spirit because you are not performing the task God has for you?
Perhaps you are attempting to do everyone's job but your own.
Are you on guard against the attitude that says - "My way or the highway"?
Do you grow angry when people don't cater to your whims and fancies?
Has God Almighty "committed" to your trust the "glorious gospel" ?
Are you keeping it by the "Holy Ghost"?
Are you passing your knowledge and insight along to others in the right spirit?
Do you teach others by example or by force?
Actually, it all boils down to one question alone - Are you doing what God told you to do?
You are responsible to obey. No one can do your God-assigned task but you.
Have you shown up for work yet?
What are you waiting for?
May God Bless His Word.