When disaster strikes, the care giver’s value sky-rockets. It was 2009, my parents were separated. My dad was busy working all the time. Us kids hardly knew how to cook, nor did we have the time to learn with school projects and after-school activities.
Often we would wonder what we would be eating for dinner, and we would just microwave something fast. It wasn’t healthy for us, but it was food.
But one day one our neighbors heard about our situation. And she decided to do something about it. Every Friday evening, she would walk two blocks to our house and drop off food.
Sometimes it was a casserole, sometimes a desert came along too. Being the oldest of three siblings this was immense blessing. Each week we looked forward to Friday evening, because then we would be cared for.
When I think about that elderly woman who cared for us each week, I am reminded of her sacrifice. She sacrificed valuable time, energy, her own food so we could have some. She showed us love in the one way she could.
She cared for us with what she had.
She became Jesus to us.
Mrs. Witzel took my siblings and I into her care, and cared for us with what she had. Who and what has God placed into your care?
In Matthew 25, Jesus tells a wonderfully insightful parable. I say its insightful because there is more in it than meets the eye.
What do I mean by that? There are certain stories of scripture that when we hear them or read them, we assume we understand everything there is to know about those stories that we spend less time on the subject matter.
So for instance, lets play a little game.
I will name a bible story and you tell me the moral of the story.
David and Goliath
Rich Young Ruler
The Story of Job
The Parable of the Talents
See we already seem to know what these stories are all about. But if we allow our minds to convince us there are no new information or lessons within these stories, we may miss some beautiful lessons God wants to teach us.
Like did you know the parable of the talents is just as much about stewardship as it is about love? Stewardship and love actually go hand in hand.
14 “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. 15 To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them.
The master is setting out for a long journey, but before he leaves, he entrusts his property to his servants.
Hoping that when He returns, He will find His property well taken care of.
This parable is definitely about stewardship, but I think we will find something meaningful along the way.
This parable teaches us the basics about stewardship.
God gives us His property.
God entrusts us with His stuff.
We are to manage God’s property as God sees fit.
Which brings us to the question: What does it mean by property?
In stewardship, there are what we would call the 10 T’s of stewardship. Which means its not all about money but so much more.
I will list the 10 Ts for you but we won’t go into depth with each one.
Treasure - Money
Tribe - Family
Territory - your land/house
Talent - your abilities
Testimony - your story
Temple - your body
Tongue - the words you say.
This is in no means an exhaustive list. I bet if we had the time we could come up with other things God has given us to manage.
But how should one manage the things God has given them?
Well in the parable of the talents you have two groups of people. The servants who were given 5 talents and two talents increased their talents while the servant who had one talent buried his only talent in the ground.
I believe Jesus is showing us two ways to manage God’s things. We can do it God’s way which brings blessings to others and honor to God, or we can do it our way, the lazy way.
Lets look briefly at the servant who had one talent. Why did he decide to bury his talent in the ground?
24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’
The servant buried his talent in the ground because he was afraid that he would lose it. At the very least he would not lose the property the master gave him.
The servant is called wicked and slothful or lazy because of how he managed the property.
So here is what I would like to suggest to you today:
God gives us His property.
God asks us to manage it according to His principles.
So that they may be a blessing to others and it may be honorable to God.
Lets look at our list and see how can we manage each item in such a way that it will be a blessing to others and honoring to God.
Treasure - Charity donations.
Time - volunteer, give time to others, spend time in the word.
Tribe - Have your family be an example of a Godly family.
Truth - truth is meant to be shared.
Territory - Invite people over for a meal.
Talent - Use your gifts to bless others and bring honor to God.
Testimony - share your testimony in an uplifting manner.
Technology - use technology to bring people together in such a way that uplifts God.
Temple - Make healthy choices so you can be used by God and work with other people.
Tongue - choose to use kind words instead of hurtful ones.
By choosing to manage your life in such a manner that you become a blessing to others and honoring to God, you will be a good manager or a good steward.
But lets take this a step further. Stewardship is about loving God and loving people.
We can be selfish/sinful stewards or Godly/loving stewards.
A selfish or sinful steward manages their life only for their own personal gain. But a steward who follows in Jesus’ footsteps will manage their life in such a way that it will be a blessing to others.
Now this idea of stewardship isn’t very appealing when its just me or just you. But when multiple people jump on board something beautiful begins to happen.
When people start organizing their life with others in mind and not stuff in mind, we become much happier in the long run.
In fact this is exactly how the church started.
42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
The church grew not because they had a beautiful church, powerful speakers, and lots of money.
The early church grew because they were filled with the Holy Spirit and focused on people.
This doesn’t mean things were easy. In fact the opposite is probably more true. People gave. People suffered. People sacrificed. But people were happy because they were with one another and with God.
When we enter heaven and the New Jerusalem we won’t be raving about all the stuff we have. But who we are with.