The Problem With Christian Stewardship

Why do so many Christians fail to be good stewards? Christ taught the parable that explains it all.

The Problem With Christian Stewardship

Luke 12:43–47
“Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. ”

“Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath. ”

“But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; ”

“The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. ”

“And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.”

Our Lord gave us a parable contrasting two servants in this passage of Scripture.

The first servant mentioned was faithful to His Master’s commands. As a result, he was blessed and rewarded. In contrast, the second servant in the lesson was unfaithful. He failed his Master in spirit and action. Therefore, he was punished.

Which servant do you want to be? I trust that you desire to be a faithful steward. Our Lord has given us so many blessings that we are eternally indebted to Him.

Every sincere believer yearns to please the Saviour. Yet, so many fail. Why?

This passage of Scripture reveals the problem of stewardship. The unfaithful servant failed for one simple reason.

Selfishness.

Selfishness is one of the eldest children of the mother sin – pride. Selfishness is a powerful tool of the sin nature. It demands to preeminence. It begs, screams, cries, manipulates, bargains, and whines to be first in all things.

Humans left to themselves are selfish. Children are born with selfishness imprinted on their hearts. One of the first words of every child is “mine” as they claim what they think belongs to them. Unrestricted, selfishness grows over a lifetime into a consuming cancer of the soul and spirit.

Selfishness cares not for duty. It scoffs at the needs of others. It mocks the commandments of God.

Selfishness seeks to install self on the throne of life as the all-powerful potentate ruling like a god. It wants every whim to be followed, every desire to be filled, and every knee to bow.

Here’s the problem… There is only one God and it’s not you or me. His name is Jehovah and His Son’s name is Jesus Christ. He alone is worthy of all worship, honor, and praise. To Him alone will every knee bow and every tongue confess.

Selfishness is the enemy of God. It is the destroyer of lives. Recognize it as your enemy and remove it from your life. Reject it each time it rears its ugly head in your heart and mind. Only then can you be a faithful steward.

Selfishness expressed itself in five mistakes made by the unfaithful steward. These are the same mistakes that plague unfaithful Christians today. Click To Tweet

Don’t miss this amazing fact. I presented this lesson as a contrast between to different stewards. That’s how most people read these verses. However, they miss a very important word in verse 45.

“But and if THAT servant say in his heart…”

This parable does not describe two separate people. There is only ONE person mentioned in these verses. This fact makes the truth even more powerful.

This parable warns against a faithful steward degenerating into an unfaithful steward. It shows a regression of backsliding that results in unfaithfulness to God.

As I write this, my mind is buzzing with names and faces of people I know who were once faithful to God, yet today they live for sin and self. Oh, the depth of depravity of our flesh! Decades of faithful service can be buried under of heap of laziness, lust and greed. It can happen to us if we are not watchful! The Scripture warns us to take heed lest we fall.

Selfishness expressed itself in five mistakes made by the unfaithful steward. These are the same mistakes that plague unfaithful Christians today. Let’s learn from the mistakes of this unreliable servant so we can break the cycle of selfishness.

1. Dishonest Character

“say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming”

This servant’s first step towards sin was taken in his heart.

Sin always begins in the heart. Long before it is visible in our actions, iniquity corrupts what is unseen. The root must be defiled in order to bear rotten fruit.

Proverbs 4:23
“Keep thy heart with all diligence; For out of it are the issues of life.”

“Keep thy heart with all diligence,” says the Book of wisdom. Take care to the silent talk of the heart. See to it that your inner voice does not betray you. Keep your inward talk accountable to Truth and Scripture. Correct any ungodly imagination trying to burrow its way into your belief system.

The falsehood that tripped up the servant was simple. He believed that his master was not coming any time soon. Iniquity gave him permission to do what he wanted. He probably would have been faithful if the master had been there to supervise. But since his lord was gone…

Dishonest character requires supervision. It only does what is required while the boss is around. It performs for the eyes of men. It is lazy, selfish, dishonest, and wicked when no one is looking.

Enough with this wickedness! Rebuke laziness in your life in all of its forms. God’s people are called to honesty and holiness. The Bible demands that we be faithful to our duties when no one is looking.

Ephesians 6:5–7
“Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; ”

“Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; ”

“With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:”

Our Saviour left us a better example to which we should aspire. The Holy Ghost can empower us to live above the lowest common denominator of the flesh. Strive to have the character of Christ!

2. Abuse of Privilege

“begin to beat the menservants and maidens”

The next step in this progression of unfaithfulness is abuse of privileges.

This man was clearly a leader of other servants. It is likely that he earned that position through faithfulness and obedience. His master learned that he could be trusted over a period of time. This is one reason why becoming unfaithful in a position of leadership is so terrible. it is treachery against the trust of our leaders that begets abuse of our followers.

Proverbs 28:16
“The prince that wanteth understanding is also a great oppressor: But he that hateth covetousness shall prolong his days.”

Leadership has privileges. Good leaders learn to bear the responsibility of privileges and enjoy its rewards without abusing them.

Always respect the trust of others. It is a privilege to have the confidence of others. Consider it a holy duty to fulfill the responsibilities with which you are entrusted.

Bring even your basest necessities into harmony with the glory of God. This is a worthy goal that promotes faithfulness and subdues the flesh. Click To Tweet

Strive to be one that others will trust with their most precious possessions because you are honest and honorable.

The most valuable thing you will ever be entrusted with is the lives of other people. People are more important than things. If you mistreat people, you cannot be trusted with mere possessions.

On the other hand, if you cannot be trusted with gold and silver, you cannot be trusted with souls. If you misuse one, it is only a matter of time until you abuse the other.

3. Waste of Resources

“and to eat and drink”

It is not sinful to eat and drink. No doubt the master made provision for his servant to survive.

The implication is that the unfaithful servant ate and drank to excess. He began to waste the master’s goods on himself.

Is not this our default setting? To see what the Lord has given to us as our property to do with as we please?

No. We must resist this selfish impulse. God takes great care of us. We have no need to steal from Him.

Yet, if we are not watchful, the lines of ownership blur. Always remember that we are simply managers of what God has given us. Seek His will in all things. He will allow you to be a conduit for far more than you are meant to consume.

Bring even your basest necessities into harmony with the glory of God. This is a worthy goal that promotes faithfulness and subdues the flesh.

1 Corinthians 10:31

“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

God’s blessings will abound more in your generous obedience than if you tried to keep it all for yourself.

4. Surrender to Sin

“and be drunken”

This is the fourth step on the road to unfaithfulness. Once you’ve made the other allowances for sinful thoughts and actions, sin begins to control you.

How does a once faithful saint become bound by the sin from which Christ delivered them?

Proverbs 14:14
“The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: And a good man shall be satisfied from himself.”

The process of backsliding is deceitfully slow. It begins in the heart, then speaks its desires quietly in the mind, then wins small victories of seemingly meaningless action while searing the conscience. All the while, sin burrows its wicked roots into your life sapping your strength and stealing your joy.

Only now does sin roar to life. The strength you once had to say NO is gone. Lust has given birth to sin. Only this is not the cute sin that was fun to cuddle and play with at your leisure. No. It has grown into a terrible lion that is devouring you bite by bite.

A deceitful heart can make you believe that you are in control. That you are the master of your life. Yet, once you remove Christ from His throne in your heart, sin becomes your master.

How do you live in victory over sin? The same way you received victory the first time! Through Jesus Christ.

Obedience to Christ and His Word is the path to freedom.

John 8:31–32

“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; ”

“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

5. Dereliction of Duty

“which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will:”

This is the final step in the progression of unfaithfulness taught by our Lord. It is the cause and result of much of life’s struggles. We don’t do what we know we should do.

It is not what we don’t know that is hindering us today. It is the failure to act on what God has taught us.

Luke 6:46
“And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?”

We are hampered by our neglect and fettered by our stubbornness.

How much better would our lives be if we acted on what we know to be true? What if we stopped saying things like:
I know I should but…
I know I shouldn’t but…
I’ll probably regret this…
I don’t care…

Just do what you know to do. Stop the excuses. Quit trying to figure it all out. End the justifications. Cease living by sight.

Just obey.

Obey God when it makes sense and when it doesn’t. Comply when you understand and when you don’t. Submit when you don’t want to. Follow Christ when you want to go your own way.

Don’t be a statistic. Don’t be another sad story.

Just do what you know to do. You will never be sorry.

Conclusion

Selfishness. This is the problem of stewardship.

Thankfully, our all-wise Lord warned us of it and taught us how to avoid becoming an unfaithful steward.

These are the same mistakes that plague unfaithful Christians today. Let’s learn from the mistakes of this unreliable servant so we can break the cycle of selfishness and be good stewards.

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