By Warren Olson
Each passing year is a reminder to you and me that our days on earth are numbered. While we can’t ultimately know if we’ll leave this earth due to a health issue, an accident, or how God sees fit to take us home, I want to remind you today that your life still matters greatly while you’re here.
Rick Dunham powerfully presents this truth about purposeful living in his book, Secure: Discovering True Financial Freedom. In it he encourages you and me to live each day in biblical stewardship—especially as it relates to God’s Kingdom purposes!
The parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14–30 illustrates this so well. Here, Jesus says the Kingdom of heaven is like a man who goes on a journey and trusts his possessions into his servants’ hands. Our Savior paints a picture for His disciples, so they will understand that He (the Master) is about to go on a journey. And He’s planning on entrusting them (and ultimately you and me) with Kingdom resources. The parable then focuses on the Master’s return and how He will hold each person accountable for how they handle what He has put into their trust.
Six principles from this parable can help you and me better understand God’s view of stewardship—even in the latter stages of our lives.
1. The Master will hold you accountable for how you manage everything in
Good stewards are all in. They are focused not on the seen (limited income, bills to pay, etc.), but the unseen. And they see all that they have as the property of the Master. The good steward (v. 16) “went at once and put his money to work and gained five more.” Not part, but all.
2. Investing your God-given resources has a sense of urgency to it.
Again, the one servant who was given five talents (v. 16) went out at once and put those talents to work. He was proactive. He figured out how he could give more. Biblical stewardship does not put off tomorrow what should be invested today.
3. What you gain in return—and impact—is more important than what is
Jesus makes sure His disciples understand that stewardship is measured by the return and impact. Not by what is saved. The Master honored how the two stewards had effectively invested what He had put into their trust (vv. 21, 23), and He did not honor what had been saved by the one steward (v. 26).
4. Investing in God’s Kingdom is risky… not safe.
Some people believe the two successful servants were somehow not putting the Master’s money at risk. But it’s right to assume that there was a fairly significant level of risk. If there wasn’t some risk, the third servant never would have buried his talent (v. 18). Investing in God’s Kingdom work is always worth the personal risk.
5. You don’t need to fear failure when giving in the freedom of God’s trust.
God trusts you with all that He has entrusted to you, otherwise He never would have given it to you. This truth is affirmed three times where the word entrust is very purposefully used (vv. 14, 20, 22). Nothing God has given you is too insignificant to invest in Kingdom work.