The Stewardship of Me – Part 1
February 3, 2020 AM
Pastor Craig Ledbetter
Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland
I. Introduction and Background (Matthew 25:14-28)
A. Money is a Biblical Subject
1. It might amaze you to know that Jesus talked about money in over 1/3 of His parables.
2. The Bible has about 500 verses on prayer, but over 1,000 verses on money and possessions.
3. Jesus taught a lot about money, and how to manage it – an entire parable here in Matthew 25
4. Obviously, letting go of our money is hard, so God talks a lot about how it either destroys our lives (through covetousness), or delights us as we manage whatever money we may have for God’s kingdom
5. It is not money that is our problem, it is our love of the power that it has – that is the problem
6. What is our PURPOSE for money?
a. Is it for building up OUR kingdom we are all busy trying to build?
b. Or for God’s kingdom?
7. We know that we are TAKERS by nature
a. We are covetous and greedy and discontented.
b. We want more and more and more, and are never satisfied. (Proverbs 27:20) Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied.
8. That’s why the Bible has a lot to say about money
B. Giving is part of our worship of God – it is not separate (Psakm 96:8)
1. Psa 96:8 Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come into his courts.
2. Giving of our money to God and others is a testimony of our love and appreciation for God
C. Learning how to manage our money is important, if we are to be a free people
1. Free from constant debts
2. Free from worry about the future
3. Free to be able to give away our money as the Lord leads us
4. May God deliver us from a society and a Government that feels like THEY are being very kind giving away OUR money that God said WE should be free to give – our money should not be taken from us as taxes to give to someone else!
D. It is called Stewardship
E. So, for a few weeks this month, I want to help you learn how to manage your money, and your life, not so that you just have more money, but so that you have more money to GIVE AWAY, instead of always having nothing to give for God!
1. Stewardship is not that complicated to learn
2. But it will be hard to faithfully do
A. The Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-27). Jesus taught a lot of lessons about managing our money. Matthew 25 describes three men who show us the right way, and the wrong way to do it.
1. A Man is Going on a Long Journey – to become king of a kingdom (25:14)
2. Leaves His Goods/Possessions to ‘Stewards’ – He left them in charge of great possessions
a. “Steward” means “caretaker, manager, overseer” of someone else’s stuff
b. It means Caring for and improving something that belongs to someone else
c. Stewards serve at the pleasure of their employer
1) They do what their employer, owner would do if HE or SHE were there
2) They do what honours the employer, not what they enjoy
3. Three Servants are Described (Matthew 25:15)
a. The first man is given Five talents of money – we would say, five bags of money
1) Each bag was a talent in weight – 35 kgs of coins
2) Each coin being worth maybe as much as €80 each – a days’ wage
3) So, let’s guess each bag has 4,500 coins x €80 each…
4) €400,000 in each bag x 5 bags
5) €2,000,000 to take care of!
b. The second man is given Two bags of money = €800,000 to take care of
c. And a third man is given One bag of money = €400,000 to take care of
d. THAT is a lot of responsibility!
e. And they are expected to DO SOMETHING with those amounts before their lord returns taking good care of that money as if it was he himself handling the money
f. Think about that!
4. What Each Man Did With The Talents (Matthew 25:16-18)
a. The first servant…
1) Did not spend the money - it was not his to just spend
2) He went and traded the money for goods and services, investing the money for an increase in value
3) The first man ended up DOUBLING the money – he now had 10 bags of money
4) Question: Who owned the initial FIVE bags of money?
5) Question: Who owned the additional FIVE bags of money?
6) Hmmmmm. Remember that!
b. The second servant went and did the same
1) Even though he was not responsible for FIVE bags, he still took the TWO he was given seriously and went and doubled those two bags and had FOUR in the end
2) Question: Who owned the initial TWO bags of money?
3) Question: Who owned the additional TWO bags of money?
4) Hmmmmm. Remember that!
c. The third man took the ONE bag of coins, and did something entirely different
1) He went and dug a hole, and buried the money!
2) And then went on his way like it was no big deal!
5. The Day of Reckoning – their Lord Returned (Matthew 25:19-23)
a. Reckoning means, adding everything up and coming up with a total – concluding, knowing what is the answer
1) What do you think he will conclude about these three servants?
2) Certainly he will be VERY pleased with the first guy
3) And be okay with the second guy – didn’t make as much profit
4) And what about that third guy?
b. See Luke 19:15 And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.
c. The first man approached the lord and presented not 5 bags, but TEN
1) He gave it ALL back to the owner (not 9 and kept back one)
2) That servant was instantly praised, honoured, and rewarded with great responsibilities in the new kingdom
4) Because he had proved that he could be trusted with great responsibilities
5) Just for doing the right thing, and being faithful, dependable to his lord
6) Luke 16:10 He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.
d. The second man approached the lord and presented not 2 bags but FOUR
1) He ALSO gave it ALL back to the owner
2) That servant ALSO was praised, honoured, and rewarded with great responsibilities in the kingdom
4) Because he TOO had proved that he could be trusted with great responsibilities
5) Just for doing the right thing, and being faithful, dependable to his lord
6) Did you notice that…
a) It didn’t matter if he made as much money as the first guy
b) What mattered was that he was faithful with what his lord gave him
c) 1Cor 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.
e. The third man next approached the lord (Matthew 25:24,25)
1) Notice what he does…
2) He first accused his master!
a) “YOU are a hard man to work for”
b) “YOU expect US to do all your work”
3) And then excused himself – “I was afraid of you, and afraid of failing you”
4) And then bragged that he hadn’t spent it, or wasted it – just HID it away!
5) Like THAT was good thing!
6) But he didn’t do what was expected of him!
7) He didn’t accept the responsibility that came with those talents
f. The Judgment – Rebuke (Matthew 25:26-28)
1) Do you think this third man deserves to be praised at all? To be commended?
2) Listen to how Jesus exposes this man
a) You are a WICKED and SLOTHFUL servant
b) You were not afraid, not overwhelmed – just LAZY
c) You could have done something with what you were given
d) But you didn’t
3) And you are fired! You lose everything!
B. How Does this Apply to Us?
1. Jesus is the “man” going on a long journey to become king
a. And He will rule this universe one day soon, as King of kings and Lord of lords!
b. In most of Christ’s parables, He or God the Father are the main men, the Lords, the Masters, the Land owners in the stories
c. Here, Jesus is the Employer, the Owner, the One in Charge
d. Even though Jesus is not King of the whole world yet, he is still the Master of us Christians – He IS our Lord!
2. We Christians are servants of Jesus – should be glad to be such!
a. We serve Jesus – do His will
b. Whatever we do, we do for HIS glory and honour
c. At least that is what is supposed to happen!
3. But we are MORE than servants – we are STEWARDS
a. Meaning: Jesus has put us in charge of everything He has given us
1) We are in charge of the Gospel – getting it into every corner of the world
a) Angels are not in charge of it
b) The government is not given the responsibility to make sure everyone hears
c) Newspapers are not responsible for printing the Gospel
d) The radio is not responsible
e) WE CHRISTIANS ARE!
2) We are in charge of our families – not the schools, the government
3) We are in charge of our time
4) We are in charge of the health God has given us – not to waste it with drink, and smoking, and sinful lifestyles
5) AND, we are entrusted with money, that God expects us to use wisely
b. We are supposed to be doing what Jesus would do with whatever God gives us – we are stewarding our lives for Jesus
1) You are loving your wife gentlemen because God gave her to you to love
2) Ladies, you are loving your husband because God gave him to you to be responsible for loving – not another woman!
3) We are stewards!
4. Learn What the First Two Men Did with What they were Given
a. They WENT immediately (25:16) – GOT BUSY
1) Took it very seriously what their calling/purpose in life was
2) So should we
3) They were responsible for their Lord’s goods – so are we!
a) Our health came from God and is to be taken cared of for God’s use
b) Our family, children
c) Our money
d) Our job – we ought to HAVE one
e) Our time
f) Our bills and debts
b. They Worked Hard at Investing
1) It is so easy to spend money
a) People who win the Lotto immediately hire a financial advisor to help them NOT spend all their money
b) Same with movie stars, and music stars, and sports stars – all making millions, but without someone else holding them back, they will become bankrupt in 3 to 5 years, and sometimes homeless!
c) Remember the kid from Home Alone? Macaulay Culkin
2) These two servants didn’t waste what God had given them
a) It wasn’t THEIRS to waste!!!
b) And what God has given to US is not OURS to do as we please
3) Nobody just doubles their money – unless they are perfect at gambling (nobody is)
4) They exchanged it for goods and services that increased the value of the talents
a) Like when you take money and buy gold with it – investment in something when it is going UP in value
b) Maybe invested some in businesses and banks that were expanding
c) Probably used some of the money to buy tools that would enable them to WORK a job to make more money
5) Did you know that THAT is how you make money? YOU WORK FOR IT!
6) Proverbs 10:4 He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack [LAZY] hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.
7) Proverbs 14:23 In all labour [HARD WORK] there is profit: but the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury. [POVERTY]
c. They Endured
1) These two servants did NOT go looking for a fast money scheme
2) It was going to take long, hard work to double those amounts
3) But they knew that THAT was what their Lord would do
4) And they were in it for the long term. Their lord was away for a long time – a lifetime maybe (25:19)
5) Nothing of value comes easy, or quick
6) Gen 3:19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
7) These men stayed faithful, working to make things better, have something more in the end than you started with
d. They Reaped, Gained, Profitted
1) To reap means to gain, benefit from, acquire, make a profit, instead of lose the money
2) They didn’t lose the money - They actually doubled it!
e. They Looked Forward to their Lord’s return, without shame
1) They had done what they were supposed to do
2) And God had blessed their efforts – and He still does today!
5. Fear Doing What the Third Servant Did
a. What did he do?
1) Strange. He buried the money – probably hid it so it wouldn’t be stolen
2) But that was all he did
3) He did not worry about the consequences of doing nothing
4) He actually never gave it another thought – just left it in the ground
b. Then, when he stood before the Master, he did two stupid things:
1) He first BLAMED the Master for his failure as a steward
2) And then he EXCUSED himself from the responsibility
a) “I was afraid”
b) “You gave me more than I could handle”
c) “I am not like the other servants”
c. Did anything he say help him out?
e. Because in the end, he disregarded the responsibilities that go with stewarding another person’s stuff!
f. And he lost everything that the Master wanted to give him
g. Imagine giving the keys to your house to someone and asking them to stay in it and watch it for you while they are gone for a month… and you gladly take the keys, but then walk away and never mow the grass, take out the rubbish, open the windows for fresh air, dust the sitting room furniture, gather up the mail, answer the telephone when it rings!
h. How would YOU feel? Would you praise them? No! They did NOTHING of what you expected!
i. And that is how God feels about LAZY Christian stewards!
C. Final Thoughts
1. We Christians are ALL bought at such a high price
a. 1Co 6:19,20 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
b. 1Pe 1:18,19 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot
c. Never forget that!
d. We are not our own anymore
e. We cannot just do as we please
f. Every spending decision now is a spiritual decision that has consequences (Colossians 3:22-25)
1) Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.
2. Everything we have, we first got from God
a. 1Timothy 6:7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
b. Job 1:21 And [JOB] said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.
c. Who owned the five and two and one talents?
d. Who owned the ten, four and 1 talents in the end?
e. Christians are responsible for whatever God has given us
f. And that includes MORE than just our money
g. It includes our time, our families, our testimony, our health
h. Name me one thing you did not get from God that He didn’t first give you!
3. Money and possessions test us
a. We do not control money and possessions – they usually control and possess us
And they reveal our hearts…
Whether we love possessions, or love the One who gave us everything we have!
c. We are responsible for what God has given us
1) People who are wealthy have great responsibility for that wealth – for sure
2) But people with little or no money have responsibility for whatever they do have
3) There is no one who has no responsibility towards God for something or someone
4) When we were all growing up, we were responsible for our little brothers and sisters
5) Romans 14:12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.
6) 2Co 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
4. Amounts of money and possessions do not matter
a. What we DO with what we have is what God is looking at
b. So, Learn to be content with what you have
1) Paul says in Php 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
2) Heb 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
c. Faithfully manage what you have FOR Jesus – as good stewards
d. Or you may just lose what God gave you – seriously!
5. Invest what you have right now, in the kingdom of God
a. Matthew 6:19,20 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal
b. Invest some of your time in soul-winning on Saturday afternoons
c. Invest some of your money in our Missionaries – no matter how little
d. Invest your tithe in the Lord’s work here in the church so that we can pay our bills
e. Invest yourself in helping in a Gospel ministry here in this church – don’t just sit there and HIDE your HEALTH, and your abilities and whatever God has given you to serve HIM with!!!
6. Start with your physical body first – all that you are! Blemishes and all
a. Don’t worry about your wife, or your husband
1) Worry about what YOU are doing with the body God gave you
2) Worry about what YOU are doing with the time God has given you
3) With the abilities God has given YOU
4) With the MONEY God has given you
5) Withy the GOSPEL that God has given you
b. Rom 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
c. 1Co 6:19,20 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
A. Oh to be free!
B. Do not only want to be free from financial debts
1. It is far better to be Free from fear, from sorrow, from death, and from hell
2. Christ’s death in your place paid off all your debts that you owed GOD – all your sins
3. But that means nothing until you want what HE paid for – until you humble yourself and repent of just how selfish, and wicked you are
4. And then ask God to forgive you, simply because Jesus paid for you!
C. And dear Christian…
D. Work hard to become free to give!
1. You and I need to work hard to get free from debt, and from bad spending habits, so that we can support this church, and reach out further with the Gospel, and support more missionary families
2. So, if you are struggling from week to week and month to month financially, these few Bible messages will help you learn how to become free to support others instead of never being able to support yourself!
3. So keep coming!