"Well Done Thou Good and Faithful Servant!" (Part 1) - - The Authority of Stewardship

Words to LIVE For...

When we finally have the opportunity to meet our Lord Jesus in person, wouldn't it be great to hear the words listed above:

"Well Done Thou Good and Faithful Servant!"

Granted, all things are to serve our Lord God and we should strive to honor and glorify Him in everything we do simply for the satisfaction that we are serving His greater will. But, just as any good earthly child seeks the approval and devoted love of their father, isn't that what we live for as Christians? To likewise receive the same love from our Father in Heaven so that we may in turn give that love in abundance to others.

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"Creation of the Stars and Planets" by Michaelangelo at the Sistine Chapel
"Creation of the Stars and Planets" by Michaelangelo at the Sistine Chapel

God Made Everything and Everything Belongs to Him!

"The earth is the LORD's, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods. Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation." (Psalm 24:1 KJV)

We are merely the caretakers of God's creation. By the dictionary definition, a "steward" is someone who manages someone else's property; hence we are the stewards of God's property (ALL things). We do not truly "own" anything though me may have possession of certain things from time to time, as possession is temporary based on our ability to properly manage what we possess. The bottom line is that God can choose to entrust us with as much or as little as He so desires. This is most often based on our ability to display to Him the degree of responsibility with which we manage what He entrusts to us.

"For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God? Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil." (1 Timothy 3:5-7 KJV)

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Authority is granted from the Lord God
Authority is granted from the Lord God

AUTHORITY of STEWARDSHIP

Jesus said more about money and the management of our possessions than almost any other topic, dedicating over two-thirds of His parables to the subject. Therefore, if Jesus is our perfect example and our educators are not giving enough time to teaching the proper biblical principles of stewardship, then the standard as established by the Word of God is not being properly followed. If someone doesn’t know these principles, they should learn them. They should practice these principles in their own lives (as effective stewards) and then teach it to those whom God has placed in their care, and so forth.

Everything in life is about the hierarchy of certain authorities under which we are to serve (whether of a secular or spiritual nature). There is a celestial hierarchy: GOD, then the Thrones, Dominions, Principalities, and so forth; and an earthly hierarchy: world leaders and governments, corporations, bosses and supervisors, elders, parents and teachers, etc. Everyone has someone else who is over them in some way which is the governing authority over the various aspects of their lives. That having been established, proper stewardship then works in both directions. Stewardship is not just how well we are able to serve others but also how well we serve and obey those above us.

"Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor." (1 Peter 2:13-17 NIV)

"Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged. Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favoritism." (Colossians 3:18-25 NIV)

These are all forms of stewardship and this defines the act of being a steward. Where and how we serve as stewards is determined by the degree of responsibility that we are able to demonstrate. This is not just a worldly system but is divine in its origin and nature as it follows the purpose of ultimately serving Gods' greater will. How we deal with the things that are placed under our sphere of influence and authority as stewards directly and proportionately affects when and if we are promoted on to greater things (or demoted to a lesser role). This relationship determines what items are placed under our stewardship as a result.

The Parable of the SHREWD MANAGER (Luke 16:1-10 NIV)

Jesus told his disciples: “There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. So he called him in and asked him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer.’"

"The manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do now? My master is taking away my job. I’m not strong enough to dig, and I’m ashamed to beg -- I know what I’ll do so that, when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.’ So he called in each one of his master’s debtors. He asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ ‘Nine hundred gallons of olive oil,’ he replied. The manager told him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it four hundred and fifty.’ Then he asked the second, ‘And how much do you owe?’ ‘A thousand bushels of wheat,’ he replied. He told him, ‘Take your bill and make it eight hundred.’"

"The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much."


Now we can look to this parable for a few good examples of stewardship. The manager had initially looked to protect his own interests but he ultimately ended up serving his master, himself and others. He was forced to be accountable by his master and this placed him under the pressure of finding a resolution to the matter at hand. Although the manager operated in the secular world, he was praised because he had devised a method of expediting the repayment of debt owed to his master and thus restored his position. As a good steward overall, the master was able to not only protect the financial resources placed under his care, but was also able to provide a second chance for his servant the manager which likewise helped the people who were indebted to him as well. This became a "win-win" scenario for all the parties involved.

"A penny saved is a penny earned."

"A place for everything and everything in its place." - Benjamin Franklin
"A place for everything and everything in its place." - Benjamin Franklin

Biblical Principles of Finance

Since a large portion of the Lord's teachings deals with stewardship, money and finances, then likewise Christian leaders should not unconsciously neglect the teaching of true biblical principles of finance and money. This is a major part of supplying for the Great Commission and preparing people for the coming Kingdom of our Lord. It is therefore our responsibility as stewards to observe and teach these same principles properly to others.

God has given use more than 2,350 verses in the Bible to instruct us how to manage our money, assets, and resources. In fact, the topic of money is second only to the topic of love in the number of times the Word of God discusses financial topics and presents information on how to properly deal with the subject.

"Well Done Thou Good and Faithful Servants." Parable of the Talents - shown in a 1712 woodcut.
"Well Done Thou Good and Faithful Servants." Parable of the Talents - shown in a 1712 woodcut.

Example in the Parable of the "TALENTS" (or "Bags of Money") Matthew 25:14-30 NIV

“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them (as Stewards). To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability (as proven by their history of responsibility). Then he went on his journey."

"The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more (both of them being wise investors). But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money (lacking in care and responsibility of what he had been given charge over)."

When the master returned he settled the accounts with his servants. The two servants who had invested well and managed his assets properly, he was very pleased with stating:

"Well done, thou good and faithful servants! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!"

However. . . “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you."

Whether the last servant was just being overly cautious or thought he was protecting his master's money safely in reserve, is not the issue. He was just not clever or responsible enough to make a more wise decision regarding its use and had otherwise wasted the time and possible opportunities that could have been available to him.

“His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest."

As a result the responsibility was taken away from the unwise servant and he lost all future favor with his master. The other servants however were rewarded for their efforts and given more responsibility.

"So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

This example is EXACTLY how it works in the real world when we are given responsibility over various matters. If we do well with managing our existing resources, then the Lord can promote us and grant more responsibility over greater matters. If we perform poorly, He then takes things away from us and gives others charge over them instead.

STEWARDSHIP is NOT JUST ABOUT MONEY

The scope of our stewardship extends to encompass all things, as all things belong to God. We are responsible for anything that surrounds us in our sphere of influence and whatever we may have either direct or indirect control over. Our management of these resources will either please or displease the Lord accordingly and has a direct bearing on the blessings that we can receive during our lives in this world.

The Parable of the RICH FOOL (Luke 12:16-21 NIV)

And he (Jesus) told them this parable: "The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, 'You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.' But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God."

The Jewish legal concept of "pe'ah" is a form of stewardship out of duty and empathy for the poor. It requires that landowners leave a meaningful portion from the corner or the outside edge of their fields unharvested so that the poor can gather food for themselves aside from the regular harvest.

"And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest. And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger: I am the LORD your God." (Leviticus 19:9-10 )

Likewise as noted in the parable above, when there is a bountiful harvest, the abundance that is produced should be considered as a blessing from the Lord and treated accordingly with respect to how the extra measure is dealt with and potentially distributed or even placed in a reserve that would benefit the whole community during more lean times.

Joseph Singer is quoted from his book "The Edges of the Field", that property: "is an intensely social institution. It implicates social relationships that combine individualism with a large amount of communal responsibility." He also presents the conservative theme of personal responsibility into liberal service whereas: "Personal responsibility does not only mean the duty to take care of oneself. It also means the duty to act so that one's actions do not unduly interfere with the ability of others to obtain similar ends."

Proper stewardship over the resources placed under our control along with the observance and practice of the elements being taught by Christ will not only ensure our earthly blessings but also the extent to which we will be honored in the coming Kingdom and Heaven.

"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (Matthew 6:19-21 KJV)

Now although stewardship does have much to do with the proper management of resources and properties, the role of a steward also extends into other areas of living as well. We are likewise the stewards of God's principles for righteous living. We are responsible for supporting the Great Commission and all the standards set forth by Jesus as He lived and conducted His ministry. That was Christ's example to us and we are liable for setting the proper example to others as part of our stewardship.

Our "Spiritual Gifts" are also part of our role as stewards and we must also use our time wisely in the performance of our "gifts" and talents in service to the Lord. These things go hand in hand. If we waste our time then we cannot effectively use our gifts to their full potential. If we do not use our gifts to their full potential, then we are not serving the Lord in the best way we are able as good stewards of all that is His.

What Makes a Good Steward?

The best attribute of stewardship would have to fall in line with the greatest commandments of our Lord Jesus...

LOVE and COMPASSION for others.

"'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31 NIV)

When this occurs in our hearts, the responsibility and caring for of others just comes naturally.

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Parting Remarks

All I know is that when I finally arrive at the feet of the most high God, if I am to be blessed by having those words spoken to me (or even a nod and a smile), it would fill me with enough elation and joy to last for the rest of eternity.

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COMMENTS - Tell Us What YOU Think (^VOTE Above^) 7 comments

mattmilamii profile image

mattmilamii 6 years ago from Chicago - Be A Blessing... Become A Hand Of God

Dear christ4ever,

First I want to say “Thank You”; your response I believe will be a blessing to both your readers and mine.

“Biblical Stewardship” is the pattern of behavior for all who would follow Christ in their walk of faith. Our time, talent, and treasures should all be set in the “Divine Light” that is made available through belief in Jesus Christ. As you point out, Christ spent His time being an example… His life as a man in the flesh puts forth what is possible for mankind to accomplish when true devotion and faith are applied.

James 1:22 (NIV)

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

Not only is this passage important in directing our actions, but in light of what is illustrated here, it brings clarity to what discipleship involves. Christ is the “Word”, and that Word became flesh so the world could have light. This light, the “Divine Light”, has been entrusted to those who believe; what we do with it is the measure of our stewardship.

John 3:21 (NIV)

But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

John 8:12 (NIV)

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Clearly, from what is indicated here we not only have the light but are expected to make use of it. Our use is not just limited to ourselves, but should encompass those in our presence as well. While Christ dwelled among us we experienced His presence; everything He did was for the glory of God. Following Him should imitate His exampled as indicated through “The Word”… we do what he did.

Matthew 5:16 (NIV)

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

When our hearts hold the love and compassion that is found through faith in Jesus, we can look forward to standing in His presence and hearing those blessed words… “Well done good and faithful servant.”

For now I hope you can make do with the “Well Done” I speak on this article… excellent job.

“Blessings”


christ4ever profile image

christ4ever 6 years ago from a life in sin saved by the Lord's grace - we are blessed with the ministry in Florida & Georgia Author

Thank you Matt,

The Holy Spirit is really convicting people on this one I feel. You have made some excellent observations in your comments which further emphasize what was barely being touched on in this article.

I did not realize the extent of the reasoning behind your original question on HubPages until I viewed the work you have already been doing in regard to these topics on your websites: http://mattmilamii.highcallingblogs.com/

May you continue to be blessed in this excellent work to our Lord's service!

Rev.Ted


skye2day profile image

skye2day 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains

Hello sister. I read a comment of yours and was led to your pages. There are no mistakes in Gods world. I am honored to follow you. You have put an awesome hub of love together by the Spirit in you. I needed to hear the words and look forward to more reads. Yes it will be wonderful to hear the words. " Job well done good and faithful servant'

The more I know Him, the more I love Him and the more I want to know Him then the more I love Him. It is a wonderful circle to ride. In Him. I will be back to read part 2. Then how to read bible in 30 days. When you get the chance do come by for a read. It is a Blessing to have another 'sista' at the hubs of love.

sista is mekenzies little thing just love her, she is a gem.

You are a precious one and a gem in the treasures He has given to us. I thank God for you and your works for Him. Amen sis. Many Blessings, Love you.

Thumbs up and beautiful!


olgakhumlo profile image

olgakhumlo 5 years ago from Mira Road Mumbai India

Thanks christ4ever,for sharing your hub and reminding us of the solemn responsibilities we have in Christ.We know that our labor is not in vain in the Lord. God bless you and your family.


christ4ever profile image

christ4ever 5 years ago from a life in sin saved by the Lord's grace - we are blessed with the ministry in Florida & Georgia Author

@ olgakhumlo - Hi Olga and thanks for stopping by with the kind words. I've found that, the more I learn to serve the Lord the more I learn to appreciate the gifts He has for us. Stay blessed - May you and your husband continue strongly in your ministry. With prayerful support... Rev.Ted


Pastor_Walt profile image

Pastor_Walt 5 years ago from Jefferson City, Tennessee

Thanks and "well done". May the cause we stand for grow and prosper through faithful service.

Maranatha


christ4ever profile image

christ4ever 5 years ago from a life in sin saved by the Lord's grace - we are blessed with the ministry in Florida & Georgia Author

Hi Pastor Walt... good to hear from you and likewise, may all the endeavors of the faithful servants continue to bring more people to the Lord and glorify Him as we patiently wait for... "Our Lord, come!"

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