1 Corinthians 4:1-2 “Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards that a man be found faithful.”
Stewardship covers every area of our lives, not just in material things and finance, but God requires of us that we be good stewards of our heart attitude. In stewardship I am responsible for His gifts of love, grace and peace to me. Do I value them in the light of the Cross? These free gifts to me came through the substitutionary, sacrificial death of our beloved Saviour, Jesus Christ. These heavenly gifts of life cost Jesus everything. Do I devalue them by holding them lightly? We receive the love and grace of God in bucketfuls and yet, can be guilty of giving it to others in thimblefuls!
The Lord gives us a warning that when we are enjoying the blessings of the place He has brought us to, and the things He has delivered us from, not to forget the place He found us in, and brought us out of, by His love and mercy. Deuteronomy 6: 11-12……when we are enjoying “..houses full of all good things……then beware lest you forget the Lord, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.”
It is so easy to fall into the trap of judging others where they are, and forgetting what the Lord has delivered us from. We do well to remember: There, but for the grace of God, go I. My standing is in the grace of God alone, I have no standing of my own but the righteousness of Christ. When I fall into judgement I am being a bad steward of His grace. I am not being a faithful steward.
The book of Acts records the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was moving in great power. He was not only moving in great power, but also great grace, a great fear of the Lord was upon the people, but there was also great judgement in this dispensation. Acts 4:31-37 records the mighty move of God among them. They received great grace, great witness in power to the resurrection of Jesus and they were united in heart and soul. Their possessions no longer possessed them, they had all things in common. Many were moved of the Holy Ghost to sell houses and land and laid the money at the apostles feet and distributed to every man as he had need.
In the midst of all this is the record of Ananias and Sapphira, Acts 5:1-11. They sold a possession, but kept back part of the price in dishonesty, and laid the remainder at the apostles’ feet. The Lord spoke through Peter and unveiled their deception. They had lied to the Holy Ghost and to God through this act and received the judgement of God for it, they were both struck dead. When God moves in great power, there is more responsibility in stewardship. God is preparing us for a day of great power in the dispensation of His fullness. If we keep back part of the price, we can be numbered with Ananias and Sapphira. We are all held accountable before the Lord to walk in the light we have received. When I judge another person for their deeds, I am holding back part of the price! In stewardship of the grace I have received, I am being an unfaithful steward when I judge and despise another. Proverbs 23:23 warns us “Buy the truth and sell it not.” I devalue the work of Calvary in my life when I judge another, I tread it underfoot and become a salesman of the precious truths I have received and devalued. Satan laughs and rubs his hands…..BUT GOD IS FAITHFUL. He will not let us go in His faithfulness to the precious promises He has made to us. Through the blood of Calvary, He calls us to be reconciled to Him and continue with Him, but He requires us to come to a higher place than where we have been.
If Ananias and Sapphira had walked in truth and declared openly that they were not yet in the same place as the others, but were willing to give part of the sum of money, I believe they would not have been struck dead – but they lied and pretended to be in the same place. God was moving in great power and the deception of the act offended Him. It is a safe place to reverence the Lord and to fear Him is a holy and healthy place to be. The fear of the Lord is the only fear we should embrace. With greater light comes greater responsibility to walk in it, but understand it is a joyous walk, not burdensome, for the Lord is our burden bearer.
One of the biggest pitfalls in Christianity is being full of head knowledge yet not applying it to our lives. God wants to establish us in the truths He has revealed to us. We experience times when we forget where the Lord has brought us from (Deut. 6:11-12 already quoted) and fall into judgement. The Lord requires us to apply what we have learnt to our lives resulting in us becoming stable in the life of Jesus Christ and His consistency be established in us. 2 Peter 1 encourages us to take stock of our lives, under the guidance of the Holy Ghost. We have been given the exceeding great and precious promises that we might be partakers of the divine nature. The chapter declares what we should add to our faith as we walk humbly with our God and each other, resulting in fruitful lives to the glory of God, in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. As a faithful steward it is our birthright to receive a calm, yet fervent stability in God that will ride any storm in life.
On reflection, a word of encouragement: Luke 12:32
“FEAR NOT, LITTLE FLOCK, IT IS YOUR FATHER’S GOOD PLEASURE TO GIVE YOU THE KINGDOM.”………….Our Father’s good pleasure!