Use Things, Love People

In Luke 16 Jesus teaches on the subject of stewardshipStewardship is sometimes limited to finances, but it is so much broader than that. In his teaching Jesus uses the analogy of a shrewd business man that stewards his boss’s customer base, and by discounting what they owe his boss, he benefits the customers, as well as bolstering his relationship with them. Here’s the scriptural passage I’m speaking of:

Luke 16:1-1316 Jesus told this story to his disciples: “There was a certain rich man who had a manager handling his affairs. One day a report came that the manager was wasting his employer’s money. 2 So the employer called him in and said, ‘What’s this I hear about you? Get your report in order, because you are going to be fired.’ 
3 “The manager thought to himself, ‘Now what? My boss has fired me. I don’t have the strength to dig ditches, and I’m too proud to beg. 4 Ah, I know how to ensure that I’ll have plenty of friends who will give me a home when I am fired.’ 
5 “So he invited each person who owed money to his employer to come and discuss the situation. He asked the first one, ‘How much do you owe him?’ 6 The man replied, ‘I owe him 800 gallons of olive oil.’ So the manager told him, ‘Take the bill and quickly change it to 400 gallons.’ 
7 “‘And how much do you owe my employer?’ he asked the next man. ‘I owe him 1,000 bushels of wheat,’ was the reply. ‘Here,’ the manager said, ‘take the bill and change it to 800 bushels.’ 
8 “The rich man had to admire the dishonest rascal for being so shrewd. And it is true that the children of this world are more shrewd in dealing with the world around them than are the children of the light. 9 Here’s the lesson: Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. Then, when your earthly possessions are gone, they will welcome you to an eternal home. 
10 “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. 11 And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? 12 And if you are not faithful with other people’s things, why should you be trusted with things of your own? 
13 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” 

This also has application in your personal life. Jesus commended this business man and said that he illustrates the fact that people, that aren’t in the Kingdom of God, sometimes demonstrate better practices than people that are following the Lord. What was it that the man was doing that Jesus commended? He used his role to benefit those indebted to the owner of the company. In other words, he “used things and loved people.” Often this gets turned around and people ‘love things and use people. So let’s put this in terms that fit with your life. The statement it poses might be this:
“As a steward of God’s things, I will use everything at my disposal to provide opportunities that benefit others and further God’s Kingdom work in the lives of others.”
This is how we “love others and use things.” In doing so, we remember that the purpose of our life is to serve others and help them find a pathway to growth and experiencing Greater Life! That Greater Life is found in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Jesus will evaluate your efficiency and faithfulness as a steward of his stuff! By the way, remember that everything you have is his stuff. He entrusts it to you to handle for him while you’re on planet earth. So do it will, and use is criteria as a litmus test, as well as a pathway, for growing in your stewardship capacity. The criteria he uses is also instruction for how to become a steward that God can entrust “more” of His Kingdom responsibility to. By doing what Jesus says, you increase your Kingdom Trustworthiness, in God’s eyes. There’s Kingdom laws at work in what Jesus is saying. By doing things that are trustworthy, you become trustworthy, all the while, an internal transformation is occurring wherein you are expanding in your Kingdom Trustworthiness Capacity. Only God knows your inner development and capacity. We do our part; He does his!

The criteria God uses, which is our action plan for development and growth, is the following four things:

1. Faithfulness in the little things

2. Honesty with your self and others in the minute details

3. Trustworthy with money and things of monetary value

4. Treating people and their things as God’s property

Here’s some questions that help you do a personal evaluation:

Am I faithful in little things? Am I honest with myself and others in the minute details? Can I be trusted with money? Do I handle money with absolute integrity? Am I faithful with others? Do I treat them as God’s children and respect them in how I treat them, talk to them, and of them, with others?
The heart of this entire subject has to do with what’s happening within you, as God’s child. The more these criteria become who you are, the more you can be trusted; in God’s estimation. This inner alignment occurs as you begin doing what you want to become. In the same way that “putting your treasure where you want your heart to be,” you do these four things to become the person God can entrust with more.
This is your year for Greater Life 2019! You’re gonna grow in your leadership and God is going to continue entrusting you with more Kingdom responsibility. I appreciate you so very much!Love ya!Pastor Steve