Stewardship; June 26, 2018

Luke 12:48 “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”

Ambition is a dangerous thing. This teaching, along with the famous parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30) stresses that the important issue isn’t how much you’ve been given, it’s what you do with what you have. If we genuinely desire to see God’s kingdom come and grow, that’s one thing, but far too many people in ministry get seduced by the idea of “their” ministry growing. We tend to forget that everything belongs to God, and we are no more than stewards. That’s not to say that it’s wrong to set goals, personally or as a church or ministry, but it is to say that we need to keep close watch on our motives for doing so. If we are genuinely concerned to get the Gospel out as far as possible, to make as many disciples for Jesus Christ as we can, that’s good and commendable. However, if we are after bragging rights, or after a large congregation that can pay us a large salary, we are in real trouble. God gives each of us abilities and resources, but they aren’t to inflate us, they are to advance His kingdom. What Jesus is saying here is so pointed that Peter specifically asked who it applied to, in verse 41. Jesus didn’t reply directly, but the overall emphasis is on those who are in leadership, which often goes hand in hand with ambition. Every believer, but especially those in leadership, needs to examine themselves for faithfulness in their stewardship. (1 Corinthians 4:2)

I am always troubled when I read passages like this, because I feel I have been given a great deal and have done little with it. Other than sports, there has hardly been an area where I have not shown potential. When I was tested in Basic Training in the Army I qualified to specialize in every category, across the board, which is virtually unheard of. (They assigned me to infantry, because “We need well-rounded people in infantry.”) Even in infantry I qualified at the highest level the very first time I picked up an M14 rifle, which meant I had potential as a sniper. (I qualified, but not nearly as highly, with the M16, which was the major small arm in 1970.) When I entered college a year early, skipping the 12th grade, I tied for the highest SAT score in the Freshman Class, but then I failed two classes in that first year. That was because I was used to things coming easily to me, but didn’t know how to apply myself and make the best use of my abilities. In other words, I was a perfect target for what Jesus says here. I haven’t had what most people would call a very “successful” career since then, but ever since God called me to repent and return to Him back in 1972, my goal has been faithfulness. Even there, I have certainly had my ups and downs. I seek to listen to the Holy Spirit for what I am to do, both short and long-term, but God alone is the judge of how well I have done that. I honestly desire to be a doer of the Word, (James 1:22) but I feel God has opened up so much of His Word to me, and I follow through fully with just a fraction of it. I am totally dependent on the grace of God, and I pray for His mercy.

Father, help me indeed lift my focus off of myself and fix it on the Lord Jesus Christ, so that I may indeed be the faithful steward You desire, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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