The Ministry of Apostles
4 This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful. 3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. 4 For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. 5 Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.
6 I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another. 7 For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (1 Co 4:1–7). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
Church Family: Family Stewards
Have you ever been put in charge of something? Perhaps you had a goldfish you were in charge of feeding each day. Maybe you have a planter you have to water once a week. Perhaps you have a job where you oversee the banking accounts of a number of people. All of these are stewardship tasks - jobs we have when we are put in charge of something or someone.
Every family has stewards. Parents are stewards of children. Later in life children become stewards of parents. Stewards help us stay together and stay on track.
Family’s have bosses too. There is a difference between a boss and a steward though. Bosses like to call the shots, make the final decisions, and bad bosses “puff themselves up”, lording their authority over others.
How can you tell if someone is a boss or a steward? I invite you to put it to a simple test: Who is the person that steps forward to take care of a crisis when it arises? Who is the first one to change the baby’s diaper when everyone smells it? Who goes for the snow shovel while everyone else goes out to play in the snow? Who doesn’t panic when emergencies happen, but instead start a process of making sure everyone is ok and contacting the appropriate authorities. These are stewards. Are you a steward?
Paul tells us that he is a steward of the most precious treasure of all: the mysteries of God, and that like the Parable of the Talents, his job is not to hide this treasure away, but to reveal clearly to everyone. He also says the most important character value of a steward is faithfulness. How can we be more faithful stewards?
I think the first step in becoming a more faithful steward is growing your gratitude. The reason that good stewards are faithful and do not become bosses is that they always remember that the people or goods that they care for are not their own, not really. They are temporary gifts they are charged to watch over and usually help grow. I have never met a good steward who was not grateful for the opportunity to serve. On the other hand, bosses do not have to be grateful and bad bosses are almost always ungrateful and complain about the people they are supposed to be stewards over. God calls us to be faithful stewards and the first step to becoming a faithful steward is to become a grateful steward.
Reflection: What responsibilities are you grateful to have? How are these connected to the things over which you are a steward? What places do you struggle between being a grateful steward or an ungrateful boss?
Trying to hear the music in the din of many voices.
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