A Wicked Servant Hides his Talents
Can I be totally honest about the blog posts that I write? I have to admit that I write them to myself. I read my Bible, journal it out in my notebook, think through it, pray through it, study through it, then eventually blog it and all this work is for the benefit of my understanding what I’ve read and desiring to apply it to my life. If I kept my understanding to myself though it would be like the wicked servant in Matthew 25 who buried the talents given to him by his Master. So my aim is to be faithful with what I’ve been given and to be a good steward of it through this blog. You can know though that I’m right here with you listening to all that the Word is teaching through whatever passage it is that’s being shared.
Now I REJOICE IN MY SUFFERINGS FOR YOUR SAKE, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, of which I BECAME A MINISTER ACCORDING TO THE STEWARDSHIP FROM GOD that was given to me for you, to MAKE THE WORD OF GOD FULLY KNOWN, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are THE RICHES OF THE GLORY OF THIS MYSTERY, which is CHRIST IN YOU, THE HOPE OF GLORY. HIM WE PROCLAIM, WARNING EVERYONE and TEACHING EVERYONE with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. FOR THIS I TOIL, STRUGGLING WITH ALL HIS ENERGY THAT HE POWERFULLY WORKS WITHIN ME. Colossians 1:24-29 ESV
Steward is kind of a funny word. Not one that we use much anymore, unless we’re referring to finances (eg.”being a good steward of our money”) or to being served by one on an airplane. The position of a steward in medieval times was to govern their lord’s estate and his household. To be given stewardship over something is to be trusted with complete responsibility to carry out expected tasks in the name of someone greater than yourself whom you answer to. It is both an honor and a duty. According to Matthew 28:16-20 (the Great Commission) all who would bear the name of Christ and call themselves Christians have been commissioned with the honor and duty of spreading the Gospel to all nations. In other words, as Paul puts it above, we are “ministers” of the gospel “according to the stewardship from God”. We are stewards of the Gospel.
Joy in the Savior ~ Joy in the Sufferings
I once saw a man sitting in a coffee shop with a copy of The DaVinci Code sitting beside his plate. He was a big biker type guy and as we got up to leave I felt the gospel tract I had with me burning a hole in my pocket. It was a crowded place and I knew other people would probably see and hear what I was doing but I swallowed my fear, held the tract out to the man and said, “I noticed your book and thought you might be interested in spiritual things. Here’s a gospel tract for you to read.” He took one disgusted look at the message of truth that I held, shook his head and retorted, “I’m not spiritual”. I didn’t give up, “No?”, I said, “You should read it anyway.” “Keep it”, he said, flashing me one last look of irritation. I returned the tract to my pocket and followed my family out the door.
It was hardly what you would call suffering for the gospel but it’s what you can expect when you aim to share the good news to all you meet. The apostle Paul truly suffered. He was imprisoned, beaten near death several times, stoned, shipwrecked, endangered in many ways, and carried the pressure of anxiety over all the churches. As he writes to the Colossians, however, he is rejoicing in his sufferings for the sake of those being saved! He recognizes the stewardship he has been given over the Gospel and his mission is to fulfill the work Christ left for him…….with JOY. When Jesus ascended into heaven he left work to be done on earth. He appointed his followers stewards over His Gospel. We are his agents of the Good News.
Even when I Fail
To my dismay there have been many times where I have turned and walked away from people who needed to hear the message of the Gospel from me. I’ve consciously chosen not to give a gospel tract or open my mouth to speak the truth. In my failure however I have hope and motivation in the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in ME. He is my hope of glory. He is my hope of responding obediently to His commission. It is HIM whom I represent and who will provide me with the joy and courage I need to continue on in faithful stewardship of His Message.
Several weeks ago we brought our 2 year old daughter in for a haircut. The woman cutting her hair was fashionable and foreign and I could only assume that she likely already carried a set of her own religious beliefs. I was so tempted not to share the message of the Gospel with her. She was busy and, to be honest, I felt a bit intimidated by her. However, when she was done cutting Sarah’s hair I thanked her and handed her a Gospel message. I asked her to please read it as soon as she had a chance because it contained the message of life in it. Something changed immediately in her demeanor. She was friendly before, but as she held the Message in her hands she softened and looked almost emotional as she thanked me again and again and said, “I really need this” and “I will read it”. I left the salon wondering what would happen when she read it and what would have happened if I had not given it to her at all.
Not by Might
Paul says it is “Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom..” Notice he uses the word everyone. Jesus told us to “Go and make disciples of all nations”, we haven’t been given authority to pick and choose who we give the Message to. Everyone and all must hear. It may be troublesome, tiring or uncomfortable at times but as his agents we press on. Thank God though that we don’t toil with our own energy!
“FOR THIS I TOIL, STRUGGLING WITH ALL HIS ENERGY THAT HE POWERFULLY WORKS WITHIN ME.” Colossians 1:29
Praise the Lord, he provides us with HIS energy to accomplish the task we’ve been entrusted with, and Paul depended on it completely. Paul persevered through such strain, more than seems humanly bearable, and here in the last verse of Colossians Chapter 1 is the secret……his perseverance was fueled by Christ’s own power. When I am weak He is STRONG.
“‘But,’ says one, ‘I know if I were to try to speak to any of my neighbors, [about Christ] I should break down.’ Friend, I am not careful in that matter, nor need you be. If you are in real earnest, you might possibly do more by a break-down than by anything else. Only break the ice and begin—and you shall find my text to be true in your case, also, and out of weakness you, too, shall be made strong. God does not need your strength—He has more than enough power of His own! He asks for your weakness—He has none of that, Himself, and He is longing, therefore, to take your weakness and use it as the instrument in His own mighty hand! Will you not yield your weakness to Him and receive His strength?”— Charles Spurgeon
Preparing the Way,