"Well Done Thou Good and Faithful Servant!" (Part 2) -- The Responsibility of Stewardship

Relief Efforts and Humanitarian Aid
Relief Efforts and Humanitarian Aid

Altruistic Morality and Stewardship

Altruism is the selfless concern for the welfare and benefit of others and wanting to do good things for them, in contrast to selfishness which would be its direct opposite. Altruism can be distinguished separately from caring for people out of a sense of loyalty or civic duty in that it focuses on a motivation to do good without any form of compensation or benefits in exchange. Therefore true altruism is giving regardless of reward and without the need for any kind of recognition.

Our faith places a particular emphasis on this type of altruistic morality. It is central to the teachings of Jesus from the Gospels and it is especially noted in the Sermon on the Mount:

"Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly." (Matthew 6:1-4 KJV)

PROPER STEWARDSHIP and SPIRITUAL CONSEQUENCES

The economic consequences of not following and applying God’s biblical principles of finance are only the outer signs and effects that we see manifest themselves in our physical lives. These factors are indisputable when we evaluate the Word of God and see how these elements are all inter connected with finances and the reality of faithful Christian living. Sometimes, we just do not fully realize how much our lifestyles and actions have an effect on what we sow into the world around us, and how it all eventually comes back to affect our daily lives.

"Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock? Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also?" (I Corinthians 9:7-8 KJV)

Unfortunately, the spiritual impact on our lives is even more devastating. Immaturity in Christ and half-hearted submission to Him as our Lord and role model, are the norm in today’s modern society and Christian community. Teaching people to handle money biblically is so crucial to learning proper discipleship and stewardship in Christ, that for our leaders and ministries to neglect it, is equally as bad as neglecting all of their other missions, evangelism, and worship.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

How Christians handle their money and finances affects the intimacy of their relationship with Christ and is an outside factor which affects their spiritual condition on the inside and the overall quality of their life.

“If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?” (Luke 16:11 KJV)

In these parables, Jesus suggested that only when we handle money faithfully can we enjoy true riches and a closer relationship with God. The fundamental truth is that intimate fellowship with Christ is also contingent on being a faithful disciple and a proper steward over the funds He has provided for us to manage

"The Worship of Mammon" by Evelyn de Morgan (18551919)
"The Worship of Mammon" by Evelyn de Morgan (18551919)

Money competes with Christ for our affection and His lordship over our lives.

Although many people are facing some form of spiritual, economic, moral, or other problems, the central problem facing most is their lack of submission to Jesus Christ as the Lord of their lives. The primary competition to Christ for most people's affection is in their spending habits and the use of money.

“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”
(Matthew 6:24 KJV)

Jesus said that it is impossible to serve both God and money. You cannot love both. In essence, one must be loved and the other hated. Unfortunately, because Christians have not been equipped to apply God’s financial principles, most are not even aware that they have inadvertently chosen to serve money instead of God.

"Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return? Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation." (Malachi 3:7-9 KJV)

Overextended Credit and Debt Management
Overextended Credit and Debt Management

Avoid the Trap of Debt

Consequently, most Christians are struggling so much financially and spiritually, and are encumbered by the debt as a result of poor financial planning, that they are not able to help fund the Great Commission by default. Yet, they do not know how to get out of debt, and few spiritual authorities have taken the initiative to teach them proper financial stewardship and how to resolve these problems. Thus, the Great Commission has been hindered and Christian families all over America have become the frustrated slaves to lenders and credit cards.

For our leaders to follow Jesus’ example fully, they must also be willing to be directed by His complete standards, including learning and teaching the principles of biblical financial stewardship. Many leaders teach about of the prosperity God has waiting for us but neglect to teach the lessons on how to get there.

"Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have. Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality," (II Corinthians 8:11-14 NIV)

For us to become proper stewards and have enough to give generously to support the Great Commission, we must first learn how to manage our money and assets properly. We must inventory our finances and assets while constructing a plan for its proper management and use. We must learn how to escape the perpetual trappings of extended credit and debt, then once freed we are able to invest our resources and finances wisely according to the Lord's will. By observing and practicing methods of proper financial planning we are then able to restore ourselves both financially and spiritually and will have plenty reserved for funding the Great Commission.

Help One Another
Help One Another

Be Satisfied with Your Role in Service and Stewardship

As we had mentioned in the first part of this topic, Stewardship is not just how well we are able to serve others but also how well we serve and obey those above us. This is a relationship that works hand in hand. We cannot be promoted to a higher level of responsibility if we are not able to manage what resources have been entrusted to us for their proper care. Likewise, if we are not able to follow proper directions, instruction and submit to the authorities above us, then we become limited in our spiritual growth and are destined to remain in our present position as stewards. Obedience is measured not only by performance but by our attitude in regards to the degree of respect we give to our authorities, which in turn also reflects the level of respect we are able to earn from others whom we are stewards over.

The Parable of the WORKERS in the VINEYARD (Matthew 20:1-16 NIV)

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard. About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went. He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing. About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’ 'Because no one has hired us,' they answered. He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’'"

"When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’ The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius. So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’ But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

We should be grateful for the things that our Lord has placed us in charge of. Stewardship and obedience to our masters should be done out of love and respect, not because we wish to be honored for our works or feel that we should be entitled to a specific reward as a result of our labors. By selfishly giving of ourselves to others and submitting as faithful servants to those above us, then we can reap the true rewards of our efforts by being promoted to manage greater responsibility as we build for ourselves more treasures in Heaven.

The REWARDS of GOOD STEWARDSHIP

When we honor the Lord's covenant and follow these principles of being obedient to the Word of God, then He is able to bestow His blessings upon us and grant us more responsibility in His Kingdom's administration.

"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)

We now live in a pivotal moment in history. Never before have advances in travel and technology given us the ability to communicate the Gospel so efficiently to all nations (American Christians fund 90 percent of all missions and Great Commission outreaches throughout the world). Yet, two major roadblocks stand in the way of reaching the world for Christ: (1) Christians have not been properly taught God’s biblical principles of finance, and (2) our leaders have neglected to include the fundamentals of these principles in their teaching lessons and discipleship training.

“And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you." (1 Peter 5:4-7 KJV)

World Stewardship and Prosperity
World Stewardship and Prosperity

PROSPERITY vs. POVERTY

The Bible also warns us of the effects and results for not being a faithful servant in following His Word. Tithing and generous gift giving are integral parts of proper Christian financial planning and Stewardship as it is intended to serve the Lord’s will.

“But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” (Luke 11:42 KJV)

  • Lost Sheep - (Matthew 18:12 -14; Luke 15:4-7)
  • The Rich Man and Lazarus - (Luke 16:19–31)

“All these things did Araunah, as a king, give unto the king. And Araunah said unto the king, The LORD thy God accept thee. And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. And David built there an altar unto the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the LORD was intreated for the land, and the plague was stayed from Israel.”
(2 Samuel 24: 23-25 KJV)

More leaders and ministries in the world today are fully realizing the necessity of teaching financial stewardship to their people, because teaching people how to handle their money biblically is a crucial part of both discipleship and stewardship in fulfilling God’s will. Many people however, generally have not been trained to properly handle their finances according to biblical principles, and as a result, ministries have fallen behind for the most part, because their people were probably not correctly trained either. This lack of training over the years has profoundly impacted the way faithful people spend, save, and give. In a similar comparison, the average American church member gives only $20 annually to foreign missions, but then also spends an average of $1,174 annually in lotteries or "charitable" gambling. THE BIG DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE DEGREE OF OUR PROSPERITY versus THE LEVEL OF OUR POVERTY, DEPENDS ON LEARNING THE PROPER PRINCIPLES OF FINANCIAL STEWARDSHIP.

"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. . ."
". . .The King will reply, I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."
(Matthew 25:35-36,40 KJV)

Revival and Reformation

  • Discarded Salt - (Matthew 5:13; Mark 9:50; Luke 14:34–35)
  • Fig Tree - (Matthew 24:32-35; Mark 13:28-31; Luke 21:29-31)
  • Lamp under a Bowl - (Matthew 5:14-16; Mark 4:21-22)
  • The Lost Coin - (Luke 15:8-10)
  • Wise and Foolish Builders - (Matthew 7:24-27; Luke 6:46-49)

When we are able to help fund the Great Commission, to properly Tithe, and give generously to Charity, then the Lord can bestow even more blessings upon us. Such is in accordance with His will because we have then become good servants and wise in handling the resources He has given us. His increase and prosperity in our lives will then follow as He has promised us.

"Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts."
(Malachi 3:10-12 KJV)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Parting Remarks

Once again, when we are finally given the opportunity to meet our Lord Jesus in person, wouldn't it be great to hear the words: "Well Done Thou Good and Faithful Servant!"

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Useful Guides for Advancing Proper Biblical Stewardship

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

COMMENTS - Tell Us What YOU Think (^VOTE Above^) 5 comments

onegoodwoman profile image

onegoodwoman 6 years ago from A small southern town

Well done, my faithful servant.......

truly, the greatest of praise.


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

Yes... I pray that all the faithful may hear those words one day!


mattmilamii profile image

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

Dear christ4ever,

Once again you have hit the nail on the head...

"Stewardship is not just how well we are able to serve others but also how well we serve and obey those above us."

I can think of many a time where good and godly advice was challenged or discarded altogether. This was mostly because of the lack of ability to remain committed in submission and obedience; in short... selfish pride.

I echo your observation that training in Biblical Stewardship has been neglected by Church leadership.

Luke 11:42 (KJV)

But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

The passage speaks of responsibility... the whole responsibility to God and our fellow man. We must exercise sound judgment in the love of Christ.

I pray for a change of heart and better understanding for us all.

Again, excellent work...

"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

Thanks again Matt and AMEN to that!

I have similar prayerful thoughts for all of us in Christ's service. I always think back to the picture in my mind of Jesus washing His disciples feet as an excellent example of His entire ministry.

May His hand always be with you...

Rev.Ted


Michael Adams1959 profile image

Michael Adams1959 6 years ago from Wherever God leads us.

AMen and what a day when we hear those words well done thy great and faithful servant.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Source

    Building for the glory of Christ's coming Kingdom!

    Here on the HubPages® of The Faith Network, we arlaying down the framework for an extended internet-based Ministry and outreach. More content will be added on a regular basis... We invite you to check back often and see what is new.

    The FAITH NETWORK provides and promotes practical Biblical teaching, dedicated devotional topics, relevant faith-based resources, and powerful spiritual insights on matters of faith and everday moral living practices for individuals, churches, charitable organizations, Christ-based businesses, and other ministry related efforts.

    While you are browsing, see how other Christian HubPages® Authors are writing useful information and creating successful Hub websites. Also check out the official Hub Page Community on Christianity-The Bible and Jesus.

    Pastor's Blog - http://www.ForeverinChrist.org
    Ministry Site - http://www.Christ4Ever.org

    More information about us here on HubPages: http://hubpages.com/hub/Forever-in-Christ

    God bless and see you all soon!

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    More by this Author


    Click to Rate This Article
    working