Matthew 25:14-30; 6:19-24; Mark 12:41-44
“Well done!” Isn’t it great when you hear those words? About the only words that are sweeter are “I love you.” Jesus says “I love you” all the time and that is an unconditional statement. Jesus loves you at all times. You don’t earn his love, you just simply get it 24/7/365.
“Well done” is obviously conditional. You hear “well done” when what you did was well done. If it was poorly done, or half-heartedly done, or partially done, or not done at all, you aren’t going to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” By the way, read what Jesus does say the unfaithful servant might hear (Matthew 25:24-30). Wow! Strong words. It helps us understand just how serious Jesus is about this stewardship business.
Stewardship is taking care of God’s business in God’s way. A good and faithful steward is absolutely convinced of a few things. First, everything the steward has belongs to God and not to the steward. Second, God entrusts what belongs to him for the steward to take care of the way God wants. Third, God wants the steward to grow and invest what God has given to the steward. Finally, God will hold the steward accountable.
Throughout the Bible, and certainly in the words of Jesus, our financial resources belong to God. God is generous in providing his resources to us. He wants us to be generous and faithful in using those resources for his work. We financially order our lives so we enjoy what God has given, we don’t go into debt, and we can practice generosity as we give to the work of God. That last sentence is absolutely counter-cultural. God’s way of taking care of his business doesn’t make any sense to the world. It makes perfect sense for the good and faithful steward.
So, how are you doing as you take care of God’s business and follow his will about giving and generosity? Jesus knows it is hard, which is why he talks so often about it. Pray and ask for the faith and commitment to follow his will on stewardship and faithful giving. It is part of the mission of God that you have received.
As you read each chapter this week, keep these reflection questions in mind:
• What does this chapter teach me about Jesus’ character?
• What does this chapter teach me about what Jesus is doing?
• What difference will reading this chapter make in my life?
• What does this chapter tell me about what Jesus wants from me?
Then pray and look to “practice the presence and pursue the purposes of Jesus” according to what you have read.
This chapter contains the story we most often associate with Palm Sunday: Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. But Jesus does not turn out to be what the people expect. Has Jesus’ work in your life ever been unexpected? This chapter also contains one of the final clashes between Jesus and the religious leaders of his day.
Jesus once again clashes with the religious leaders when he tells them the parable of the vineyards. Judgement is coming to those who do not follow Jesus as the heir to the kingdom.
Chapter 21 opens with a short story about a widow who Jesus observes in the temple. Her gift, though small, means more than any of the other gifts. What small offering is Jesus asking of you?
Jesus told stories that would have resonated with his followers. While not many of us are familiar with sheep, his followers would have really identified with this example. Here he refers to himself as both the “sheep gate” and the Good Shepherd. But again, his teaching leads to opposition.
- Songs We Sing
Other Messages in Series