THE STORY OF THE STEWARDS

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 25:14-30

14 “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. He called together his servants and entrusted his money to them while he was gone. 15 He gave five bags of silver to one, two bags of silver to another, and one bag of silver to the last—dividing it in proportion to their abilities. He then left on his trip.

16 “The servant who received the five bags of silver began to invest the money and earned five more. 17 The servant with two bags of silver also went to work and earned two more. 18 But the servant who received the one bag of silver dug a hole in the ground and hid the master’s money.

19 “After a long time their master returned from his trip and called them to give an account of how they had used his money. 20 The servant to whom he had entrusted the five bags of silver came forward with five more and said, ‘Master, you gave me five bags of silver to invest, and I have earned five more.’

21 “The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!

22 “The servant who had received the two bags of silver came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two bags of silver to invest, and I have earned two more.’

23 “The master said, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’

24 “Then the servant with the one bag of silver came and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. 25 I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.’

26 “But the master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy servant! If you knew I harvested crops I didn’t plant and gathered crops I didn’t cultivate, 27 why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.’

28 “Then he ordered, ‘Take the money from this servant, and give it to the one with the ten bags of silver. 29 To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away. 30 Now throw this useless servant into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

INTRODUCTION

Tonight we, LORD willing, are going to talk STEWARDSHIP. Stewardship has to do with managing something that belongs to someone else. The Annuity Board of the SBC manages my retirement account. Legally, it is my money but at present, they are managing the funds with my permission.

Tonight I want to talk to you about STEWARDSHIP and use Jesus story as a guide. We will call this “Principles of Stewardship.”

[1] THE FIRST PRINCIPLE IS WHAT WE CALL “DIVINE OWNERSHIP”

[Psalms 24:1,The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him.] As long as you claim ownership, there is going to be a problem. You must acknowledge that you are a trustee of God’s property. You don’t own anything. The earth is the Lord’s. The right to own property is a fundamental civil right that our forefathers fought and died for but we must understand that our ownership is not really ownership: we are simply trustees of God’s resources.

I love Dr. George W. Truett stories and I came across one in William Barclays commentary. Dr. Truett was preaching a revival in West Texas and one of the church members was a multi-millionaire [1940’s] who had built a huge mansion on his ranch that had a tower with windows on every side. He carried Dr. Truett up into the tower to show him his ranch. He had made his money on oil and cattle. He pointed South and said, “As far as you can see, I own this land.” Then he pointed East and said, “As far as you can see in this direction, I owe the land and all the cattle on the land.” Then he turned North and said, “Look to the North and as far as you can see, I own it all.” Then he turned west and said, “See all those oil wells, as far as you can see in that direction, I owe it all.” Dr. Truett was not intimidated, he pointed toward heaven and said, “If you will look in that direction how much do you own?”

[2] THE SECOND PRINCIPLE IS CALLED ACCOUNTABILITY

We are all stewards or managers of God’s resources. Save and lost alike are managers. Unfortunately, most people do not understand what they possess is actually God’s. He has simply entrusted to them for a short period of time.

Since everything belongs to the LORD, any ownership is a form of STEWARDSHIP. You don’t God will hold Anheuser Busch accountable? On what ground do you base your belief? The earth is the LORD’s and everything on the earth belongs to HIM. Do you think Anheuser Busch has been paying his rest. Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are not exceptions: God is going to hold everyone accountable. These unfaithful stewards will be cast into outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. [v.30]

REMEMBER: everyone is a steward and everyone is accountable. There are no exceptions.

[3] THE THIRD PRINCIPLE IS RESPONSIBILITY

Verse 15…He gave five bags to one, two bags of gold to another and one bag of gold to the last–dividing it in proportion to their abilities. What this means is you are responsible for only what He has given you. More was expected out of the guy with 5 bags because he had more ability and the gift was in proportion to his ability. In terms of wealth, rich people have more responsibility which is one of many reasons to be thankful that you are not rich. God will hold them to a higher standard. But our stewardship is not just money. Some people are highly gifted. I was relieved when this principle leaked into my brain. God does not expect me to do what Adrian Rogers did or Charles Spurgeon. These men were highly and rarely gifted. God is not going to punish me for spending my life at a rural village church with 600 members instead of a mega-church with 6,000 members or in Dr. Rogers case, 26,000 members. We are to be faithful with what has been given to us but we are not responsible for what we do not have.

[4] THE FOURTH PRINCIPLE IS INVESTMENT.

Verse 16…The servant who received five bags of gold went out immediately to invest the money and soon he doubled it. Investing is putting money to work, putting in to use with the expectation of getting a return whether it be financial or otherwise. It is particular good when we invest in good things.

Once again, we don’t want to limit our thinking to money. We do need to invest money but there are other ways of investing. We can invest our time into profitable causes. We can invest in peoples lives. We can endow them with principles, wisdom, guidance and other character attributes. No one can be a good steward without investment.

[5] THE FIFTH PRINCIPLE IS THE OPPOSITE OF INVESTMENT: IT IS TO TAKE GOD’S RESOURCES OUT OF CIRCULATION.

Look at verses 24-25…“Then the servant with the one bag of silver came and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.’

It is a sin against Holy God for you to take His resources out of circulation. Had this moron {fool} put it in a bank, they would have invested. Someone would have gotten some use of the money but by hiding in the ground, this money was idle and helped no one. He committed a cardinal sin, he took God’s resources out of circulation. Never hid or bury money. It reveals a greedy heart and a tremendous lack of faith. This man had no confidence in his Master. As far as he was concerned, his Master was untrustworthy. He had a twisted view of his master and so does every other miser and all around bad steward.

I can tell you right now, no doubt whatsoever, if you are a bad steward, it is because of your view of the Master. If you love your wife and children, you will support them financially. You will not be arguing or rationalizing about your poor giving habits. Same is true with Christ. If you love Him, you will want to give in support of His work. When you get tight fisted and hold on to His resources, it reveals a terrible lack of faith.

[6] GOD LOVES FAITHFULNESS AND IT WILL BE REWARDED

Verse 21 or 23…‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!

I don’t think about or worry about rewards but that does not mean that I don’t believe in them. The bible teaches clearly here and through out that the faithful will be rewarded. You say, “Heaven is heaven, as long as I get there, that is all that matters.” Within the confines of grace, I do not know how He will do it but I am sure that it will matter. Stewardship is not a laughing matter. The next time you read through the N.T. underline the verses that deal with stewardship. You are in for a shock, stewardship verse will be two to one over any other subject. Jesus talked more about our relationship to material things than He did heaven or hell. You don’t believe me, check it out.

CONCLUSION

Can you imagine what would happen if every member of DBC began tithing right now? Keep in mind that out of 600 members, about 40 tithe [Husband and wives]. Out of 150 families, 20 tithe. If my math is right, that is 13%. That 13% give more than 80% of the budget. By just doing the simple math, if every family began tithing, our Sunday Offering would be $66,000.00. We would pay off all our debt in one quarter; pave the parking lot in the 4th month. Finish the feeding center in Guatemala in the 5th month and build the new medical building before the end of a year. Wow! Is that awesome or what? I think it would lead to REVIVAL. I know I would be excited.  You are thinking, “Yeah and you want a raise, right!” I tell you what I would be willing to do tonight: I will sign a contract that I will never get another raise if everyone starts tithing. Honestly, which do you think would happen first. You know the answer. I will sign on the dotted line tonight but you have no intention of tithing, do you. The Lord will take that up with you on judgment. Personally, I have other things to be concerned about.

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