Stewardship; March 3, 2021

Matthew 21:43 “Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.”

Some people have used this verse to justify what is called “Replacement Theology,” which says that the Church has replaced Israel in God’s plans. However, as Paul said forcefully, “God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.” (Romans 11:29) Jesus wasn’t speaking of the entire nation of Israel (or Judea at the time) but of the leaders, as they themselves recognized, which is recorded in verse 45. The point of this parable is that everything belongs to God, and we are accountable to Him for what we do with it. That applies to material things and even to the much more important matter of the whole kingdom of God, as Jesus says explicitly in this verse. We forget that to our peril. In most churches “stewardship” is treated as a matter of how much money you give, but it actually applies to absolutely everything. As Paul pointed out, “It is required that those who have been given a trust (stewards) must prove faithful.” (1 Corinthians 4:2) God gives us His kingdom, even, (Luke 12:32) but we are totally accountable to Him for it. That’s why the ultimate accolade is, “good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:21) When we focus on the material, important as it is, we miss the greater part of what stewardship is all about. As again Paul pointed out, “To each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” (1 Corinthians 12:7) Likewise, Peter said, “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” (1 Peter 4:10) Every ability we have is on loan from God, and we should treat it that way. No ability on earth is eternal, except the ability to know God and love Him. Any older person can testify to that! Stewardship deals with everything we have right now, and recognizes that the Owner can call for it at any moment.

This of course applies to me, since it applies to every human being. Frankly, I’m not a very good judge of my own stewardship. I can’t say conclusively how well I’ve done as God desires of me in using the things He has supplied. I guess I’ll find out at the Final Audit we all go through! That said, I can certainly choose to focus on listening to my Lord, seeking to hear and obey His directions for everything. Experience, not to mention logic, has taught me that His way is always best! I am to be faithful, but not uptight about it. After all, I couldn’t do it right on my own in any case! As He so kindly told me personally, I’m to rest, relax, and rejoice, not drawing back from anything He directs and not holding back anything, afraid that He won’t supply everything I need. He has demonstrated His faithfulness to me in countless ways, big and small, and my response should certainly be faithfulness to Him.

Father, I have no words to express my gratitude for Your faithfulness, and it’s certainly rare that I’m at a loss for words! Help me be the steward You want me to be, so that all of Your purposes for all that You have supplied to and through me may be fulfilled, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

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