Good And Faithful Stewards
22 NOVEMBER 2020 | TRADITIONAL SERVICE
Rev David Ho
Scripture Passage: Matthew 25:14-30 (NIV)
WATCH | SERMON (Video)
(Click on video below)
READ | SERMON NOTES
Summary | This parable has often been interpreted as a warning to work harder or to do more for God, lest we might be judged for being lazy. However, more than just hard work per se, this parable is calling us first to have a right walk with God, as alluded to in Jesus’ earlier teaching in Matt 7:21-23. Having the right posture of faithfulness and faith that inspires outward service is vital for genuine “fruitfulness” in God’s economy.
A Greater Faithfulness in stewarding our lives for God: each servant was given different amounts, but even the one given the least was entrusted a huge amount (amounting to 20 year’s salary of a day labourer). Instead of narrowly interpreting talents as an outward showcase of abilities, Anglican Bishop J.C. Ryle aptly says that our talents include “our gifts, our influence, our money, our knowledge, our health, our strength, our time, our senses, our reason, our intellect, our memory, our affections..” and that “all that we have is a loan from God: we are God’s stewards; we are God’s debtors.” As such, we have a responsibility to invest our lives in the local church, our family, our place of work in - in other words, wherever God places us. Praise God for the teachers, mentors and all those who nurture the younger generation in our church. They and others in different ministries demonstrate faithful service in the local church. We may forget that children are bags of gold given to us by God. “Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him” (Ps.127:3). Have we spent enough time nurturing our children? Are we faithful stewards in our workplaces? Do we see ourselves as shepherds to our employees? In this tough period of Covid-19, do we bear witness to our reliance on God to those around us?
A Greater Faith to do the will of God: the first two servants showed no hesitation in enthusiastically using the talents entrusted to them. The third servant, however, chose to bury his talent. This is a warning to us that faith in doing God’s will should not be a service carried out in drudgery nor should it be a burden. If God is leading us to serve – whether full time ministry, or in the home, or at work, or in public service – obey His call. Sometimes, trials and tribulations are occasions to serve in faith. May those with special needs children, caregivers of elderly sick, those facing problems with marriage or work, prayerfully view their situations as opportunities to exercise faith to trust and obey God. In faith and sustained by His grace, steward what has been given to us. Though it is challenging, God knows and holds tomorrow. He says to us, “Trust Me”.
A Greater Fruitfulness as God’s channel of blessing: the parable teaches us that it is not how much we are given but how we respond that matters. The third servant was unfruitful not because he had been given the least but because he had carelessly squandered opportunities to use the gifts. He excused himself by making disparaging remarks on his master. God calls us to be fruitful. As we do our part, trust Him to do the rest.
A faithful steward is aware of the brevity of life and does not take time for granted. He understands that life is God’s gift and intentionally stewards his whole life for the glory of God. He also lives for what truly matters and acts in faith to do God’s will, even at personal risk and cost. In contrast, the unfaithful steward is self-centred and squanders his life.
As 2020 ends, let us re-align our lives to God’s will, seizing God-given opportunities to extend His Kingdom no matter how difficult it may be. May we become faithful and fruitful stewards as we await His return.
(Sermon Notes by Angela Goh)
PONDER | REFLECTION QUESTIONS
1. Reflect and discuss what “bags of gold” could refer to in our context? Read and discuss J.C. Ryle’s comments on “talents” below:
“We have all " talents" in God's sight: Anything whereby we may glorify God is "a talent." Our gifts, our influence, our money, our knowledge, our health, our strength, our time, our senses, our reason, our intellect, our memory, our affections, our privileges as members of Christ's Church, our advantages as possessors of the Bible,--all, all are talents. Whence came these things? What hand bestowed them? Why are we what we are? Why are we not the worms that crawl on the earth? There is only one answer to these questions: all that we have is a loan from God: we are God's stewards; we are God's debtors.”
2. Reflect on your life as one of stewardship. What areas of your life have you been faithfully stewarding for the Lord, and what areas have you not? What areas do you sense the Lord is asking you to be more faithful in stewarding?
3. Share incidences or areas of your life, whether at work, home, school or church, where you had acted in faith in obedience to God at personal risk and cost,, as a faithful steward.
4. Reflect on areas that the Lord might be asking you to obey, as a faithful steward, but you are resisting, reluctant or procrastinating? To what extent might it be due to a lack of faith? What steps can you take to make spiritual progress?
5. Reflect and share instances where the Lord had granted you, your ministry and/or others blessings because you had acted in faithfulness and faith.
6. Make an inventory of all that God has given you. Prayerfully assess how you have been using them as God’s steward, for His glory and for the good of others. Recommit yourself and all you have to the Lord.