Stewardship

Scripture: Luke 12:41-48

41 Peter asked, “Lord, is that illustration just for us or for everyone?”

42 And the Lord replied, “A faithful, sensible servant is one to whom the master can give the responsibility of managing his other household servants and feeding them. 43 If the master returns and finds that the servant has done a good job, there will be a reward. 44 I tell you the truth, the master will put that servant in charge of all he owns. 45 But what if the servant thinks, ‘My master won’t be back for a while,’ and he begins beating the other servants, partying, and getting drunk? 46 The master will return unannounced and unexpected, and he will cut the servant in pieces and banish him with the unfaithful.

47 And a servant who knows what the master wants, but isn’t prepared and doesn’t carry out those instructions, will be severely punished. 48 But someone who does not know, and then does something wrong, will be punished only lightly. When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.

INTRODUCTION

Stewardship is an old word that we don’t use much but it is a good word. A steward was an exalted slave who was entrusted with the responsibility of managing his master’s estate. Abraham, for example, had a Steward who’s name was Eliezer. Abraham trusted Eliezer with everything he had. Before Abraham had children, Eliezer was named to inheret Abraham’s wealth. A second, and even better example is Joseph. Joseph was a slave but he was Potiphar’s Steward {Butler}. Joseph ran Potiphar’s estate. He kept the check book, paid all the bills, instructed all the slaves. 

Before we get into the heart of the message, I want you to note that his particular teaching comes in response to Peter’s question in verse 41, “Lord, is that illustration just for us or for everyone?” Jesus had been teaching on “Readiness and watchfulness” in regards to His return. Now Jesus in answer to Peter’s question, takes it a step further and teaches us not only to be watching and ready for His return but to be faithful during the interim. We are not to sit and watch but work and watch. Paul gave the Thessalonians a good chewing out for sitting on their roof top patio’s, having bible studies and watching for the Second Coming. Jesus said in John 9:4, I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. Now is the time to work, not sit and watch but work and watch.

TRANSITION

What do we look for in a steward? What would a wealthy Jewish man like Abraham look for in a steward?

I. HE WOULD LOOK FOR ABILITY

Ability is the talent, the skill, the aptitude to do something. When you are drafting leaders, you look first at ability. One of the requirements of Stewards, Managers or Leaders is to be sensible, wise and prudent. We are to make good sound judgments. You don’t give great responsibility to someone who has no ability to perform the task you are delegating them to do.

If we, as leaders, delegate authority to some individual who does not have the abilty to carry out the assigned task and they fail to do so, God will not hold them responsible, he will hold us responsible because we ask them to do something that they were not capable of doing.

II. HE WOULD LOOK FOR FAITHFULNESS

Jesus said, [v.42] “A faithful, sensible servant is one to whom the master can give the responsibility of managing his other household servants and feeding them.” Paul said in 1 Corinthians 4:2, “Moreover, it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.”

Abraham didn’t put Eliezer in charge of his household until he knew that he could trust him. The same was true of Potiphar. After ability, the first thing you look for is faithfulness or loyalty. You want a person you can depend on. Therefore the steward must be reliable, dependable, trustworthy and loyal to a fault. We sang a song when I was growing up that came to my mind when I got to this verse…it goes like this:

In the warfare that is raging
For the truth and for the right,
When the conflict, fierce, is raging
With the powers of the night,
God needs people brave and true:
May He then depend on you?

See, they come on sable pinions,
Come in strong, Satanic might,—
Powers come, and dark dominions,
From the regions of the night;
God requires the brave and true:
May He then depend on you? 

From His throne the Father sees us;
Angels help us to prevail;
And our leader true is Jesus,
And we shall not, cannot fail:
Triumph crowns the brave and true,—
May the Lord depend on you? 

Refrain:
May the Lord depend on you?
Loyalty is but His due;
Say, O spirit, brave and true,
That He may depend on you.

It is a sobering question: Can the LORD depend on you? If your church can’t, I doubt seriously that the LORD can. I know a lot of good people. They are very likable and fun to be around but you cannot depend on them. They are not reliable. When I was a boy, we had a horse named Betty. Betty enjoyed her freedom. She like to frolic but she didn’t like to work. To catch old Betty, you had to hem her up. If she was in the lot, you could slip around and shut the gate, then get her in the barn or a corner. If you didn’t decieve her and she saw you walk toward her with a bridle, that head came up and she immediately headed to the very back side of our 40 arce farm. Believe it or not, we have church members who are just like Betty. They have ability but no sense of responsibility. You can’t hem them up. When they see you coming with a task in mind, they are gone. There is only one thing worse than a Betty, its a person who promises to do something and then fails to keep their promise.

A steward must be reliable!

III. A THIRD THING TO LOOK FOR IS GOOD JUDGMENT

The AV translates verse 42 thusly, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?

Lets look quickly at the bad judgment of the hypothetical steward that Jesus describes:

  1. He thought of his MASTER as being absent.
  2. He thought he had more time “My master won’t be back for a while.”
  3. He abused his power “Beating the other servants”
  4. He acted irresponsibly “Getting Drunk”
  5. He failed to put his MASTER interest above his own. He pursued his own agenda.
  6. He was not prepared when his MASTER returned.

 

CONCLUSION

The wise, the sensible steward who is faithful will be rewarded with more responsibility and priviledge but the unwise, the foolish steward will be cut in sunder [NLT, to pieces].  One commentary said, “Cut in half,” which was an ancient form of execution. Isaiah the prophet was cut in half by a saw by the wicked Manassah.

Jesus said, And a servant who knows what the master wants, but isn’t prepared and doesn’t carry out those instructions, will be severely punished. 48 But someone who does not know, and then does something wrong, will be punished only lightly. When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.

Junior Hill told a story, a parable about two brothers. One was a very healtly and gifted child and the other was born with Downs Syndrome. They attended the same school but the child with the disability was in a special education sector. They were only a year or so apart in age. One day they came in from school and both were elated, the gifted child ran to him mom showing his report card which had all A’s, the child with Downs Syndrome, pecked his mom on the arm and said look, he bent over and ties his shoe. Which one was the mom most proud of? Both, she was proud of both. Both used the ability they had but both didn’t have the same ability.

God is good and He is fair. He is not going to require the same from those who have less ability as he does from those who have much more.

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