Read Luke Chapter 16
Stewardship is an important issue for the people of God. This chapter is quite remarkable and difficult to understand beyond the practical application it provides. It’s very difficult to draw direct parallels, but perhaps there is a hint that the Pharisees have not stewarded the things of God very well, perhaps they are the ones being sacked. But for sure we can see that if we are careful and shrewd, even the worst of us can make good.
There is an important theme running throughout about being faithful with whatever resources we are responsible for, whether ours or someone else’s. If we are not looking after worldly things well, why would God entrust us with Spiritual ones. For example, in 1 Timothy we have instructions on Deacons and Elders; they must be good stewards of their families in order to be good stewards of the church (1 Timothy 3:5).
Luke 16:10 “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. 11 Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you?”
Although we should be good stewards of wealth and worldly possessions, we must never let them be a priority. Jesus is very clear on this point. We can only have and serve one master and that must be the Lord, he must be the focus of our efforts and attention.
Luke 16:13 “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”
The religious leaders who love the wealth and power that comes with their position have not stewarded the things of God well and have completely changed the message, trying to force a different unprescribed way into God’s kingdom. The problem is that God has determined how these things should be and therefore this cannot be changed.
Luke 16:17 “But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter of the Law to fail.”
To illustrate this point Jesus talks about a rich man and a poor man called Lazarus. The rich man wanted to change the way things were done in order to save his family from the same peril as himself. It would seem the riches he enjoyed were his reward and the poor man received his reward in Hades with Abraham. It was too late to change that reality; you get one chance (Hebrews 9:27). Those left to perish have the same opportunity as everyone else, the Jews had the Law and the Prophets, we have the Word of God. The time to warn people is during this life. The Gospel is urgent, because there are no second chances. We must Seek Him while he may be found (Isaiah 55:6).
Luke 16:30 “But he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!’ 31 But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’”
Jesus all but tells them the Gospel with these words. What is most striking is how true it is: even though Jesus rose from the dead they did not listen; even though the evidence before them was more than compelling they did not believe. How do you steward the truth? We learn that our preconceptions, our ingrained understanding of the world and religious convictions can often overrule, even when the truth is most convincing and plainly obvious.
2 Corinthians 6:2 “‘In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.’ I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.”
In light of this, above all else that we should be good stewards of, the Gospel message is chief among them, because the Gospel message is the power of God which saves people (Romans 1:16). This is the thing we must strive to serve as stewards of, so that many will hear and be saved.