Happy Heralds, Inc
Dr. Fred Wittman
Table of Contents
I. The Concept of Stewardship
What is Stewardship? How Economy Is Included in Responsibility!
What is a Steward? (Lk. 16:1,2; 1 Cor. 4:1,2,7)
II. The Comprehension of Stewardship - The Extent of our Accountability to The God
The Totality of Your Life and Your Works
The Teaching (Truth) Received
How to Manage your Life: Time
How to Manage your Affairs: Talents, Tasks, Talk, and Treasures
III. The Conflicts of Stewardship: How to set Priorities
The Kingdom of God Compared with the Kingdom of Heaven
IV. The Consequences of Stewardship
Kinds of Servants According to Character
V. Christ’s Teaching on Encroaching Materialism
A Precise Translation of Luke 16:1-15
What is: Materialism?
The Setting of the Parable of The Unrighteous Steward Examined
The Story of the Parable of The Unrighteous Steward Expounded
The Story Accurately Correlated
The Savior’s Penetrating and Stimulating Exhortation
Five Views of Unrighteous Mammon
How Does Materialism Take Control?
VI. The Choice of Servitude
Eight Kinds of New Testament Servants
The Character of Managers (Stewards) - How Stewardship Reflects Character
The Characteristic of Managers (Stewards)
The Changeability of Mammon - How Does Materialism Destroy?
The Choice between Masters
The Realm of Service
Unless otherwise noted, all New Testament Scriptures are quoted from A Precise Translation.
Jn. 12:25; Mt. 10:37-39; Lk. 14:26-33; 16:1-13
“The one continually befriending[is fond of, tenderly affectionate to] his /natural life[soul] shall lose[perish, destroy] it. And the one continually hating his /natural life[soul] in this /world shall protectively guard it unto eternal absolute life” (Jn. 12:25APT).
“The one befriending[fond of, tenderly affectionate to] father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And the one befriending[fond of, tenderly affectionate to] son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not continually take his /cross and continually follow after[in back of] Me, is not worthy of Me. The one finding his /natural life[soul] shall lose[ruin, utterly destroy] it. And the one losing[ruin, utterly destroy] his /natural life for My sake[cause] shall find it” (Mt. 10:37-39APT).
“If (and it is true) anyone comes to Me and does not hate the father of himself and his mother and his wife and his children and his brothers and his sisters, yet in fact even the natural life[soul] of himself, he is not able to be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his /cross and continually come after Me, he is not able to be My disciple. For who out of you&, determinedly willing to build a tower, certainly after sitting down first, he calculates the expense, does he not? if (and it is true) he has the~ things for the purpose of completion that lest ever, after he laid down a 0foundation in fact he is not prevailing to finish out, all the ones observing begin to mock him, saying, ‘This /human began to build and he did not prevail to finish out.’ Or what king, journeying to engage another king in war, certainly after sitting down first, he deliberates with himself, does he not? if (and it is true) he is powerful by means of ten thousand to meet up with the one+ coming against him with twenty thousand. Otherwise indeed while not being yet far distant from him, he sends[with commission] and embassy and asks the~ things toward peace. Therefore in this way every one of you& who does not bid farewell to all the possessions of himself, he is not able to be My disciple” (Lk. 14:26-33APT).
When “stewardship” is mentioned many people think that the subject of giving to The Lord is intended. Giving is involved in stewardship. But stewardship involves far more than just giving to The Lord. The Lord Jesus said much about ‘‘stewardship.’’ He put a high priority upon it, and so should we! Many times His teachings concerned stewardship without labeling it as such; i.e. The Parable of the Talents; The Parable of the Pounds; The Parable of the Good Samaritan; Jesus’ teaching concerning the Rich Man and Lazarus, the Poor One; the incident with the Syrophoenician Woman; the Rich Young Ruler; and Jesus’ Instruction to His disciples after feeding the five thousand and the four thousand, etc.
I. THE CONCEPT OF STEWARDSHIP
Stewardship is not only a concept presented in Scripture for disciples of The Lord Jesus Christ, but it is a concept that entails all of life, physical, temporal, financial, and spiritual.
A. What is Stewardship?
1. Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary defines stewardship as: ‘‘the office, duties, and obligations of a steward; also: the individual’s responsibility to manage his life and property with proper regard to the rights of others.’’
From this definition it can be noted that everyone, the unregenerated as well as the regenerated humans, every individual has a responsibility to exercise proper stewardship. However proper stewardship is not left to each individual to determine the extent to what proper stewardship involves. Scripture clearly denotes the extent of involvement and indicates that everyone will be judged after life is ended and before entering eternity.
How Economy Is Included in Responsibility!
To understand the extent and the inclusion of each one’s expectation to be economically responsible, we must turn to the original languages of in which Scripture is recorded and carefully research how these words are used from the context in which they are used.
2. Note the translation of the Greek word oικονομία (oikoh-nohmeeah) - from which the word ‘economy’ is derived.
Webster defines economy as: ‘‘1: the management of household or private affairs and esp. expenses; 2.a: thrifty and efficient use of material resources; frugality in expenditures; also: an instance or a means of economizing; b: efficient and concise use of nonmaterial resources (as effort, language, or motion) for the end proposed; 3: the arrangement or mode of operation of something: ORGANIZATION; 4: the structure of economic life in a country, area, or period; specifically an economic system.’’
From this comprehensive definition, it is clear that economy has at least four meanings the first two of which definitely have a spiritual as well as a secular connotation. Pause to think how these two definitions have or should have effect on the lives of regenerated and redeemed humans and how they relate to you and to the righteous judgment of The God which awaits everyone of us.
3. Illustration: There was a housekeeper who loved a widower’s only son. He died in his teens. Heartbroken, the father died shortly thereafter. Evan though careful search was made a will was not found. So the estate was auctioned. The housekeeper attended the auction and purchased only one item which she held dearly and was all that she could afford. A photo of the son was auctioned for pennies. Later when she cleaned the photo and polished the frame, she discovered the will in the picture frame. The will declared that the purchaser of the photo is to be given all the inheritance.
All God’s riches and Christ’s inheritance are entrusted to the stewardship of those who trust and love God’s Son (Rom. 8:17; Gal. 4:1-7; 1 Pet. 1:3,4). The legacy of Heaven is ours! We cannot expect to become entrusted to share in and partake of Christ's inheritance in Heaven and in the Kingdom of The God, involved in reigning with The Lord Jesus Christ, which involves managing His eternal inheritance including His possessions and the people of the Sheep nations (Mt. 25:31-34) if we do not learn to manage well all that God entrusts to our stewardship here and now.
B. What is a Steward?
1. Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary gives five definitions for a steward, the first and last of which are applicable to our study, “1: one employed in a large household or estate to manage domestic concerns; 5: one who actively directs affairs: MANAGER.” The verb is defined as ‘‘to act as a steward for; MANAGE; to perform the duties of a steward.’’
2. The translation of the Greek word oικονόμος (oikohnóhmohs) literally means ‘‘house law.’’ The meaning is: a manager of affairs, a steward, a house administrator, an overseer, a governor. One responsible for proper use of that which has been put into his trust. He usually was a promoted bondslave.
3. Consider Luke 16:1,2; 1 Cor. 4:1,2,7:
‘‘Moreover He was saying also to[the face of] His disciples, A certain human was a rich+ one, who continued to have a manager[steward,.lit.: house administrator, usually a promoted bondslave] of affairs. And this+ one was being [ successively] incriminated to him as dissipating his /possessions. And when he called him, he said to him, How serious |is| this~ I am hearing concerning you$! Render[give back] at once the accounting of your$ /stewardship[managing of affairs]! For you& are not able still to manage affairs’’ (Lk. 16:1,2APT).
“So a human is to reckon ourselves[Paul and Sóhsthehnays] as attendants of Christ and stewards[house administrator, usually a promoted bondslave] of God’s mysteries. Now furthermore it is constantly being sought in the stewards[house administrator, usually a promoted bondslave], that an individual be found faithful. . . . For who distinguishes you$ [from others]? Then what do you$ have which you$ did not receive? Now even if (and it is true) you$ received |it |, why are you$ boasting, as not receiving |it|?’’ (1 Cor. 4:1,2,7APT).
Every one of us who are redeemed and regenerated are stewards of all that God has put within our trust, whether spiritual, material, or secular. Because we become stewards immediately upon regeneration, we immediately become responsible for proper use of all that we have and all that we ever shall receive and some day we shall be called to give an account of our stewardship of all spiritual, secular, and material blessings put in our trust. Will you hear our Savior, Lord, and Master say? “Well done, O beneficially good and faithful bondslave! You were continually faithful over a few things, I will appoint you over many things. Enter into the joy of your$ Lord!” (Mt. 25:21,23APT). Or will you hear The Lord Jesus Christ say? “O wicked and slothful bondslave, you were aware . . . cast out the useless bondslave into outer dark! There shall be the weeping and the gnashing of the teeth” (Mt. 25:26,30APT). It will be one or the other! There is no in-between!
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To reenforce understanding of The Concept of Stewardship, answer the following questions:
STEWARDSHIP QUESTIONS: THE CONCEPT OF STEWARDSHIP
1. How would you define ‘‘stewardship’’?
2. How does economy relate to stewardship?
3. How would you define ‘‘steward’’?
4. What is your concept of stewardship?
5. How does Scripture illustrate bad stewardship?
6. According to the Scriptures what is included in your stewardship in behalf of The God?
| | understood $singular &plural +masc. ^fem. ~neut. /the [ ]basic meaning
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