“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” [1 Corinthians 4: 1-2]
1. Jesus Christ is God made flesh.
This is the mystery of creation; that God became flesh and lived among us. God prepared a body for himself to do His will [Hebrews 10:5-7] Though the fullness of Godhead dwelt in Him, Jesus humbled himself to perfect divine purpose [Colossians 2:9] He offered Himself a sacrifice for our sins [Hebrews 10:9-14] Jesus Christ came not to be served, but to serve. He became for us, the Steward of our righteousness and salvation. Every soul that comes to Jesus Christ is required to acquire the mind of Christ and be raised as steward of Truth. As it is written:
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth” [Philippians 2:5-10]
2. Stewardship is obedience to God.
Jesus Christ put aside His heavenly glory endured indignities of flesh, in absolute obedience. He was longsuffering and capped obedience in willing submission to death on the cross [John 10: 15—17] Our salvation is therefore not an end, but passage to stewardship in the manner of the Son of God. No one is exempt and every child that comes to the Father must learn obedience through stewardship. The Lord is our perfect example of stewardship, though the Son yet learnt and suffered in the school of obedience. The Bible says:
“Though he were a son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of salvation unto all them that obey him” [Hebrews 5:8-9]
3. Stewards suffer to perfect obedience.
The pains of a steward are the agony of a righteous soul in a wicked world. Lot was a steward in Sodom. His soul was afflicted by what he saw and heard in [2 Peter 2:7] The “suffering” of Lot was not punishment for evil, but the wounds of his battle to remain upright in a decadent society. Likewise, the suffering of Christ was the burden of being a righteous man in a backslidden generation. Every steward is called to fellowship of Christ’s power and suffering. We are His members and stewards if we know Him in truth and live in conformity with His example. As it is written:
“That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead” [Philippians 3:10-11]
4. Stewardship is pilgrimage of service.
When Abraham left the city of Ur, he was a steward on pilgrimage [Hebrews 11:8-16] Every son adopted into the family of God is a pilgrim on spiritual odyssey of service. The journey is long and filled with danger. He, who called us, has blessed us with spiritual gifts and blessings in heavenly places for the journey [Ephesians 1: 3] Every steward is accountable for the gift or gifts bestowed on him. We are required to use His spiritual endowments to serve and please the Master and not for personal gain. The Lord gave gifts to all according to His purpose and divine agenda. As the Bible says:
“And he gave some apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of stature of Christ” [Ephesians 4:11]
5. A steward is a minister.
Every man that comes to Christ is required to mature into a minister of Christ’s righteousness. The sons of Levi received goats and rams from Israel to minister at the altar. We have a better sanctuary in Christ, made by God [Hebrews 8:2] We are called by divine mandate as ministers on an altar not made by men. We have no need of bulls and rams. We are equipped by Christ to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God [1 Peter 2:5] Priests in the temple received gifts from men, but Jesus Christ gave us heavenly gifts to minister in His Presence. As it is written:
“But unto everyone is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men” [Ephesians 4:7-8]
6. We are saved to serve.
No servant is above his master [Luke 6:40] We are stewards of Christ and must be like Him. Jesus Christ ministered heavenly riches and was not a treasurer of earthly treasures of silver and gold. We are commissioned to feed His sheep with heavenly bread and meet their material need where necessary. Let every man be mindful how he serves, lest we run foul of the Master. We are called to minister to His lambs not to impoverish them. No steward is superior to another; we all have one master, that is, Jesus Christ. Every steward is bound by service rules set by the Lord. Thus says the Lord:
“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 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….For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: …” [Luke 12:45-48]
7. Every steward is a servant.
Beloved, we are not heirs of salvation because men call us bishop or prophet. We are accounted as sons of God when we have been tried as stewards, purged of flesh and approved by Christ [James 1:12] We must never forget that we are stewards and not lords over the flocks of Christ. That ministry we cherish so much is by no means personal business; it is God’s heritage [Jeremiah 23:1] Those who rule the household of God with the fist of wickedness and extort the poor have a case to answer at the coming of the Lord. Thus says the Lord:
“Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD. Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD” [Jeremiah 23:1-2]
8. Stewardship is not competition.
We are co-labourers in the vineyard of the Lord. Every steward has his appointed place and hour to fulfill divine purpose. Those who cause divisions and bicker over personal interpretation of scripture are chasing shadows. Divisions breed pride, strife and competition [1 Corinthians 3:4-9] Pride is at the root of denominations and sects. Pride reigns where flesh is not broken and fuels unending strife. Strife provokes divisions and inflames unwholesome competition. Competition in the fold is satanic agenda; we are all baptized to one body. As it is written:
“For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many” [1 Corinthians 12:12-14]
9. Stewardship is Christ in us.
The son is born with DNA of his father. He does not struggle to prove his paternity. When we come to Christ, we are adopted into the family of God and His Spirit dwells in us [1 Corinthians 3:16] Every steward has His Master dwelling in him. God is working in us to will, do and fulfill His purpose [Philippians 2:13] We please God not by intellectual exertions or will power but of His Spirit that dwells in us. Our stewardship is not a death struggle because His seed is in us. If any man ministers without Christ’s seed, he is at best a hireling. A hired hand struggles for material gain and flees his duty post at the least sign of danger. Thus says the Lord: “But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep” [John 10:12-13]
10. Are you a steward or hireling?
Every offering shall be salted with fire [Mark 9:49] Every man or woman that comes to Jesus Christ shall be “salted” by the rules of stewardship. If any man is in the way, let him assess himself, whether he is a hireling or faithful steward. Let every man consider his foundation. Faithful stewards are born of incorruptible word of God and established on sure foundation of apostles and prophets with Christ as Cornerstone [1 Corinthians 10:11; Ephesians 2:20] Beloved, our stewardship shall be examined and made manifest by fire and hirelings shall be put to shame. As it is written:
“Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire” [1 Corinthians 3:13-15]
11. God is not a respecter of persons.
He does not see as men see or judge by sight. God sees and judge by the heart. The thoughts and intents of every steward shall be judged. Nothing is hid from the Lord, who keeps record of secret and hidden things [Revelations 20:12] Men are easily deceived by what they see; large auditorium, huge congregation, wealth, fame, etc. God is not deceived and His judgment is true. God is not mocked by miracles; He is looking for men and women whose hearts are right towards Him. His eyes search the earth; nothing is hid from the Lord. Thus says the Lord:
“Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you, depart from me, ye that work iniquity” [Matthew 7:22-23]
12. Jesus Christ is coming.
The Master is coming with His reward. Whatever any man has today is not a reward from the Lord. The reward of His stewards is with Him and He shall give every man according to His work (Revelation 22:12) Beloved, time is far spent, let us put aside selfish interests to seek and serve the Lord, who laid down His life for us [2 Kings 5:26-27] Let us do away with madness and strong delusion of self approval [2 Thessalonians 2:11] This is the time to put aside every weight and fight the good fight of faith. The Bible says:
“He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last” [Revelation 22:11-13]