Rejecting the Role of a Steward

“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.’ Matthew 25:24-25 NIV

The response of the servants who received one talent or one bag of gold (Luke 19) has always been challenging for me. It was during the discussion of this parable in my online class this last week that a student made an observation that caught my attention.

          She pointed out that the “lazy” servant resented the fact that he was doing the work and the Master was receiving the benefit. That allowed me to see that this servant did not understand the relationship with the Master and his role as a steward.

          The servants in this parable about the Kingdom of God are entrusted with money to manage on behalf of the Master. That is the essence of stewardship. I manage the money of another for their benefit. That is what financial advisors do today for their clients. The difference is that in Jesus’ day, these servants were not paid advisors or partners.

          The faithful servants and the lazy servant had different views of the Master. The faithful ones understood their role and gladly accepted it. The lazy servant resented his role and, as a result, had a negative view and attitude toward the Master. He viewed the Master as unfair and harsh. The Master could not be trusted. His laziness was a result of his resentment. He wasn’t willing to work without the guarantee of any reward.

          However, the faithful servants viewed their reward as pleasing the Master and fulfilling their responsibility. What we see is that those who were faithful were rewarded and elevated. In Matthew’s gospel, they share in the Master’s happiness or pleasure. In Luke’s account, they are rewarded with authority over cities. In this way, the servants become leaders and those with authority.

          We see Paul the Apostle reflect the attitude of stewardship in the call of God on his life. Let a man so consider us as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.    1 Corinthians 4:1,2 (NKJV)

          Do you understand your role as a steward of your finances? Talents? Opportunities? How do you view the Lord? Trustworthy or unfair?

          Jesus related this parable to His coming Kingdom. His servants are called to be faithful and diligent until he returns. There is a reward for faithful stewardship. We see this in Jesus’ words in Matthew 24:46 (NLT) If the master returns and finds that the servant has done a good job, there will be a reward.

          We see this promise as well at the end of the Book of Revelation. “Look, I am coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds. Revelation 22:12 (NLT)

          Jesus has entrusted us with resources, talents, opportunities, and good news to share with others. Let’s be faithful servants, stewards of all entrusted to us until the Lord returns.