with Jeremy Westcott
The first step in our ‘training for reigning’, as we saw last time, is to give up control of our own life and learn to be an obedient and willing servant.
Beyond servanthood, there is training to be a steward. A steward has responsibilities – and access to resources – that a servant does not. Stewardship carries a higher level of authority and responsibility, and Jesus will train us to be stewards of all the resources He has made available to us for our lives and for the works He has prepared for us to do.
In Matthew 25 Jesus taught about responsibility in the kingdom:
Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them (Matt 25:1-3).
All ten were entrusted with a task, but only five of them took their responsibility seriously. Five did not, and Jesus’ response to them was ‘I do not know you’ (Matt 25:12). I do not believe He meant that they were not in relationship with Him, He meant that He did not recognise Himself in them. They were not operating in good stewardship.
For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own servants and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability (Matt 25:14-15).
We have been entrusted with Jesus’ possessions while He has gone back into heaven. All of us have calls and destinies in God, which He will give us the resources to fulfil. A talent was an amount of money, and each of us needs a different level of resource to achieve our particular calling.
Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents. In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more. But he who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money (Matt 25:16-18).
Trading is taking something God gives us and putting it to work to achieve a desired result. Here, the two servants who traded with their master’s money acted responsibly, and doubled his money for him. The one who hid it in the ground was an irresponsible steward.
Whatever God has given, He has given for a purpose. We can hide it in many ways: ‘I’m not good enough’, ‘I’m not worthy’, ‘I can’t do it because of my past’ and so on. We can come up with any number of excuses why it is too difficult or too risky to go after our destiny in God, but Jesus will not accept any of them. He knows what He has called us to do, and He has given us the means of achieving it. He expects us to use our gifts for His glory.
Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you entrusted five talents to me. See, I have gained five more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master. (Matt 25:19-21).
All of us will have to settle the account of our life, before the judgment seat of God. I have been there, and I know it is not somewhere you want to go if you have messed up, and not used the resources God has given in the way He intended. God wants to train us to be faithful in using what he has given us. If we are faithful with a little, He will entrust us with more. That is a principle of good stewardship in the kingdom, and it applies both in this age and in the age to come.
As for the servant who did not act responsibly with His master’s resources:
But his master answered and said to him, ‘You wicked, lazy servant… you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest. Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’ For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. Throw out the worthless servant into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matt 25:26-30).
This is not ‘hell’, but the outer courts. The weeping and gnashing of teeth will come as people realise how they have failed to fulfil the call of God and squandered His resources. The good news is that we can go before that judgment seat now, repent and pursue our destiny, beginning to act as faithful stewards. Then we do not need to find ourselves in that situation.
He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much (Luke 16:10).
God tests us. He gives us opportunities to demonstrate whether we are going to be faithful with what he has given us. Those of us who are looking for something from God, whether it is anointing, finances, gifts or anything else, need to be faithful with the little things first. God will not give us a huge international healing ministry if we are not prepared to minister healing to the person next door. God’s training involves giving us opportunities to grow.
Authority comes as a result of learning to be a good steward:
And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant, because you have been faithful in a very little thing, you are to be in authority over ten cities (Luke 19:17).
And here is Paul, talking about the things that God revealed to him when he went to heaven and had a face to face encounter with Him. He sees himself as a steward, who would wisely use those resources to bring blessing to others:
Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy (1 Cor 4:1-2).
God wants to entrust us with all that He has for us, but He starts us off with a little, so that we can learn to be faithful, and acquire the wisdom to handle greater anointing, greater revelation, greater levels of finance, greater honour.
As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God (1 Peter 4:10).
In our finances, if we are faithful with what we have, He will give us more. When we honour Him by faithfully administering a little, He is able to entrust us with everything. Are we faithfully using our gifts and abilities, whether spiritual or natural, for the purposes for which God has given them? How are we using our covenant relationships, with one another and with Him?
Everything we have belongs to God, and He wants to train us to be good, faithful stewards. After all, we are only stewards of everything we have. Our money, homes, cars and possessions all belong to Him. When we make Jesus Lord, we make everything we have available for His use. If it all belongs to him, then He has first claim on it, whatever and whenever He wants. When He asks us to give something away, it will reveal the attitude of our heart (particularly if He asks us to give something precious).
Are we willing to surrender everything to Him? An attitude which says ‘It all belongs to You’ – that is the hallmark of a good and faithful steward.
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