“It will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them” (Matthew 25:14). The question Jesus will ask when he returns is this: “What did you do with what I gave you?” We inherited the devil’s grasp, not the king’s release. We need a conversion of the heart, so that rather than being owners we are stewards. When I once shared this with my children, nine-year old Karis, said, “What we have is not ours, it is God’s.” Right on, Karis!
Kendy and Joyce Parker took their stewardship literally. We had been praying for a car because ours was getting old. The Monday after our van died Joyce showed up at our home and said, “We feel led to give you our van.” What was theirs became ours! Amazingly, even the Creator who owns it all does not say, “That’s mine.” He is pictured in the parable of the prodigal son as a good father who says, “All that is mine is yours.” And Jesus, the heir of all, shares his inheritance with his family. The church takes its cue from the head and says, “Whatever you need from me is yours.”
When my wife’s niece moved from Chicago to Seattle, they had a sale, then gave the money to the poor. Not that they were rich; they just have a heart for needy people. Those who live this way have a power that owners know nothing about, the power of love and release. A priest justified his indifference to the wounded man on the roadside, while an unlikely Samaritan could not pass by. People like this are using their money to advance the kingdom, not their own cause. They are secure, because they have nothing to lose. They take risks because they are doing it for the King. They don’t go to bed worrying about the stock exchange; they think about the love of God and how well they are cared for. Capitalists can be insecure, because they stand to lose something, while the givers are always winning. Thieves can’t really enjoy their life, because they are trying too hard to find it. The owners think they are enjoying themselves, but their self-love blocks the way to true joy. Stewards know about love. They give it away, and it is returned just as fast. They are the meek, and they inherit the earth. If you are an owner, pray for deliverance. Start giving away some accumulated goods, and seek the kingdom. Don’t assume if you are a Christian that you are a steward rather than an owner. Here’s a test:
- What is more important, being comfortable or a comforter?
- Have you given any big gifts lately?
- How do you feel generally about victims? Do you tend to be merciful or judgmental? Are you ever moved to help someone who has been victimized like our roadside friend in the Good Samaritan story?
Robber What’s yours is mine. Owner. I am my brother’s combatant.
Religious What’s mine is mine. Owner. I am my brother’s competitor.
Righteous What’s mine is yours. Steward. I am my brother’s keeper.