"Knowing the Master's Joy (Stewardship)"
June 30, 2023, 1:45 PM

Knowing the Master’s Joy (Stewardship)

The Rev. Lou Tiscione, Pastor, Weatherford Presbyterian Church (PCA)


“Well done good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21, 23).


Jesus taught about the Kingdom using parables. As recorded in the Gospel According to Matthew, the parables build upon each other. The second to the last parable is called “The parable of the Talents”, and it concerns stewardship. Yet it also speaks about the final judgment. We don’t like to think that when Jesus returns, He will judge all mankind. Revelation 20:12ff describes King Jesus coming as the Absolute Judge. Revelation 20 describes two books being opened at His coming to judge the living and the dead. The first book is a record of everything that each person does while in this life. The second book is called the Book of Life. The Bible says that anyone whose name is not found in the Book of Life will be “thrown into the lake of fire.”


God doesn’t need to have books to record deeds or to know whose name is in the Book of Life. God is all-knowing, the term is omniscient. He knows all things and He knows who His children are. Many Christians have been told that they don’t need to worry about the first book, the book of deeds or works. But it is of crucial importance to all of us! The Bible says a great deal about works. Jesus told disciples to store up treasures in heaven. Of course, the names of God’s elect are recorded in the Book of Life. God gives the gift of faith to His elect and they profess it and are justified, Sola Fides. Nevertheless, God will execute perfect justice. There will be levels of reward and punishment.


Matthew 25:14ff teaches that Jesus will return and “settle accounts”. The servants were brought to give an account of their lives. Two of the servants in the parable heard Jesus’ comforting and encouraging words. One heard only judgment! Likewise, will everyone give an account to Jesus.


The third servant’s behavior in the parable revealed that he had a dead faith, not a saving faith. The revealed truth is that God’s gift of faith produces good works (Ephesians 2:10). One cannot be assured of heaven and produce nothing for the Kingdom!


At this point, you might be thinking that this pastor has “just gone to meddling”. After all you might say, “my faith is a private matter between me and God.” True but not true enough. Saving faith is expressed through investing in the work of the Kingdom. Without any such investment, there is only judgment. I didn’t say it, Jesus did. “You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest… Cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness, in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Mt. 25:26-30 ESV).


Notice that Jesus affirmed that the wicked servant knew the truth about Him. Yet knowing the truth did not motivate the man to invest what Jesus had given him. When the truth pierces a man or woman’s heart there is a necessary response. The Bible says that those who are in Christ are new creations. God changes the believer’s desires. It’s not out of a sense of duty alone that we invest in the Kingdom. It is supremely out of a desire to love Jesus by serving His body, the church.


This desire to invest falls under the heading of stewardship. You may have only heard of Christian stewardship when your pastor encouraged financial giving. But in Jesus’ teaching, stewardship represents the whole of life. Financial giving is a basic demonstration of stewardship. We are called to invest what God has given in the form of tithes, offerings, and all of our gifts and abilities given by Him. Investing ourselves like this is part of worship.


According to this parable and the whole counsel of the Bible, God owns everything and everyone. Those whom He calls and adopts as His children desire to invest all that He has given in the work of the Kingdom. It is a joy to do so. Jesus’ words to the two faithful servants not only confirmed their place in heaven, but also meant living in the joy of Jesus, the Master!