Ray Bonds - Stewardship

Luke 16, the unjust steward. "And He said also unto His disciples." He had been speaking to the Pharisees those parables about the lost sheep, the lost money, and the prodigal son, and there was something in this that was helpful to the Pharisees, but evidently there was something in it also that could help the disciples. The son that wasted his goods in riotous living - evidently Jesus took this opportunity of showing His disciples that there is another way of wasting our goods. "Give account of your stewardship." The Lord commended the unjust steward because he had done wisely not because he had done justly. Jesus said, "Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness," and, "He that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much." The Pharisees listening in are covetous and they derided Him. "That which is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God."


The lesson of stewardship - all we are and all we possess and all that is committed to our trust - it is not our own, it belongs to another, and we will have to give account of what we had and how we have used it. If the thing belongs to me, I don't have to answer to another person. Before I heard the gospel I felt, "If I want to spend my money, whose business is it?" When I listened to the gospel, I began to discover it is someone else's business - don't fool yourselves, friends, it is God's business. After some weeks, I put up the white flag, and I surrendered my life to the Master, and I said, "I must do the will of God."

The mistake the world makes and we as God's children could easily make, also - they take the attitude of ownership instead of stewardship. It is no small privilege to be a steward. Stewards or stewardesses on a ship or a plane - they don't own the ships or planes, but if you want anything, you have to get it through the stewards or stewardesses. They are held responsible to their owners and also to the passengers. They may get the feeling sometimes, "We are owners," but they are not. We may get the feeling of ownership, and act as if we were, but best to  be careful. If you act as you should as a passenger, the stewards will give you whatever you need. Paul writing to the Corinthians said they were carnal, not in a bad way - maybe some of them were - "Thou savourest of the things that be of man, not of God - I am of Paul, I am of Apollos." "That you might learn to think of us as men, and not above that which is written." Stewards of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of Christ. We don't own this thing, we don't pretend to know a lot of other things, but if we don't know, we had better know this thing - we are stewards of whatever God commits to our trust. What is the qualification for a steward? The qualification for any person who has something committed to their trust? Trustworthy – that a man be found faithful. We will not be judged by our capacity or ability - every man according to his ability, but it is required that a man be found faithful. We can all be faithful.


Luke 19 - the pounds - a man who learned that he was to be put out of his stewardship. The day is coming when we will be put out of our stewardship - that day is coming to everyone. If we are faithful, we might get a stewardship on the other side - "Have thou authority over ten cities - over five cities." Jesus was putting before His disciples, "You have a wonderful opportunity of changing the natural into the spiritual." When you get to 82, you know it is not very far off. We have the privilege and opportunity of having something on the other side because of being faithful with what we have entrusted to us on this side. How could they waste their goods? By being unfaithful. They could preserve it by being faithful. Here it is another man's, there it will be given to us permanently. Jesus did not recommend the dishonesty of this man, but his foresight, his wisdom. You take an example from that - not in being dishonest but in being faithful. He did some fast and wise thinking, and then he did some fast business - good business for himself.


Luke 12:15-21, just what this man lacked - a little foresight. He said, "What shall I do?" His crops had brought forth bountifully. He made a decision, but he did not ask counsel. How foolish human beings are! That don't have the wisdom of God! What wonderful opportunities they could have! Make use of this capacity and ability that we have. Luke 16:9, "And I say unto you, 'Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.'"


A man that Paul wrote about - Onesipherous - "At my first appearing, no-one stood by me, but the Lord stood by me and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion." "Onesipherous, when he came to Rome, he sought me out diligently and found me. He was not ashamed of my chain." Matthew 25:35, "For I was a hungered and ye gave me meat," etc. "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these, My brethren, ye have done it unto Me." II Timothy 1:18, "The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day, and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well." Many ways we can make friends with the Lord. "He that helps the poor, lends to the Lord and the Lord will lend to him again." Would it be taking a great risk to lend to the Lord? Many ways we can lend to the Lord. He was teaching them how to be wise for themselves.

Hymn, "See the Saviour in compassion." In this hymn, every moment of Jesus' strength was laid down for heavenly riches. We can exchange our strength and use every opportunity of helping others. "He that loseth his life shall save it."