Among the many roles that I assume, one of the most important is being a Sunday school teacher at the Cebu Bible Baptist Church. I teach Sunday school to the career class together with Atty. Valeriano Loon and Prof. Roland Go.
Last Sunday I talked about the Principles of Stewardship as laid down in the Bible. My Main text was Mathew 25:14-27. Jesus was talking here about the parable of the talents. The parable is as follows; the master leaves for a journey and leaves to his servants several talents. In Bible times money was in the form of rings of gold, silver, or brass and was weighted. The Talent represents a large amount of money. The amount of which varies depending on whether it was of silver or gold equivalent and whether it was light or heavy weight. The current value of a talent could be somewhere from 1,000 to 30,000 dollars.(U.S) One servant was given Five talents, the other two and the other one. When the master returned both servants that were given the five talents and the two talents made a 100 percent profit by investing it. They were well commended by the master. The servant who was given one talent did not invest it, however he hid it. The master was very displeased with the servant given the one talent that he was punished.
Parables are earthly stories with heavenly meeting. Every time Jesus Christ speaks in parables he is trying to convey a lesson to all of us.
In this parable Christ is trying to teach us the basic principles of Stewardship. Stewardship is a very important concept in the Bible. It is so important that Christ talked more about stewardship than any other topic except the Kingdom of God.
A steward is a person who manages and administrates what has been entrusted to him by another. As Christians and as human beings we are stewards as we are to manage what has been entrusted to us by God. In Genesis 1:28, when God first created man he gave him instructions that he should “have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” The New Testament is replete with verses reminding us that we are stewards of God’s resources.
And what are we to be stewards with? We are to be steward of four things our time, money, our abilities and our life. In Mathew 25:14-27, (A parallel text can be found in Luke chapter 19) the principles of stewardship that we can learn from Christ as laid down in the parable are as follows:
1.) PRINCIPLE OF OWNERSHIP – The goods entrusted and committed to the servants belonged to the Master (verse 14)
In the same way we should realize that all that we have is not ours it is the Lord’s and that we are only entrusted with it. Having this mindset is one of the most important principles of stewardship because only then if we think this way that we will be more responsible as stewards.
2.) PRINCIPLE OF ABILITY & DISCRETION – The amount of goods entrusted to each servant was determined solely by his ability and the discretion of the master (verse 15)
God has given us different abilities, gifts, economic status in life and other blessings. It is no accident that we are where we are right now. God surely has a purpose for all of us. Whatever God gives us depends on His discretion and our ability. Even if we think we have the ability, we cannot question God if He gives other more wealth or more abilities than us because it depends solely on His discretion. Our job is to develop or abilities and to make the best out of our lives.
3.) PRINCIPLE OF FREEDOM– Each servant was given full freedom on what to do with the goods turned over to him (verses 16-18)
God gave us human beings a certain freedom as to how we are to go about fulfilling the purposes that he wants us to accomplish. He did not make us robots. He made us human beings. He gave us the ability to decide. He gave us free will. In order to make the best out of our lives we must freely act only within the given parameters according to his plan.
4.) PRINCIPLE OF ACCOUNTABILITY – Each servant was to give a strict account as to how he had handled the master’s goods. (verse 19-25)
Pay day may not come today, but it will surely come someday. The servants never knew when the Master was coming. One day we are all going to give an account to God on what we did with the stewardship that he has entrusted to us.
5.) PRINCIPLE OF PROFIT – Each servant was required to gain (verse 26)
Each of us is required by God to at least “Profit” from the stewardship that he has given us. We are to make the best of our lives. God wants us to live a life that bears fruit. It does not mean that we are to live lives that are free from diseases, financial, emotional or any kind of problems. What God wants is we are to live a life that is full. Scripture is replete with verses admonishing Christians to bear fruit (John 15:16) Fruit does not only referrer to the souls of men. It also refers to the development of godliness and Christian Character such as the Fruit of the Spirit as enumerated by the apostle Paul in Galatians chapter 5 verse 22. We are to live our lives daily giving our best always for the glory of God.
6.) PRINCIPLE OF FAIRNESS – The same commendation and reward were given to the servants having many talents and few talents (vs. 20-23)
Regardless of how many gifts, abilities or what our economic status in life is, all of us are equal to God. Those who in the eyes of men are considered very famous as they have done things of great magnitude and his impacted the world has the same award as those who are only known within their local church but has at the same time done his best to live the life God wants him to live.
7.) PRINCIPLE OF PUNISHMENT – The servants who did not make use of the talent that was given to him suffered penalties, the talent that was given to him was taken away, he was rejected from even being a servant and he was killed or cast into outer darkness.
This verse does not teach that as Christians we will loose our salvation if we do not produce good works or live our very lives to the fullest as God wants. The doctrine that, once a person is always saved is saved forever is clearly established in the Bible. This verse is showing us that a person who “professed” to be a Christian but is still living a life that does not bear any fruit or does not even attempt to live a life as God intended for him to live is in all probability not saved at all. He may appear to be saved or be a Christian only by mouth but deep inside he has never experienced what it means to be truly born again. This type of people will just be surprised because they thought they were a Christian as they have gone through the religious exercise, but in eternity it will be discovered that they really were not who they thought or said they were.