"Assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God's grace that was given to me for you."
When I read this verse, the question came to me, "Am I a steward of God's grace? If so, what kind of steward am I? Do I see His grace as given to me for the benefit of others like Paul, or do I see it solely for my benefit?"
Luke 16:2-4 is the first use of the Greek word for "stewardship" (meaning oversight or administration of other's property). The passage is the parable where Jesus tells about a shrewd steward who uses his position to benefit himself. "Management" is how the Greek word is translated in this passage. Jesus explains the steward's response when charges are brought against him for wasting his master's possessions. Before the master can fire him, the manager commits fraud to provide for his future. In verse 8, the master commends the dishonest steward for his shrewdness. Jesus uses the parable to describe how His followers should use their possessions in this world for their benefit in the new world to come. Jesus says in verse 10-11, "One who is faithful in very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in very little is also dishonest in much."
In Genesis 2:15, God gives Adam the role of steward over His creation. "The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it." The Hebrew "work" means to serve or cultivate. The word for "keep" means watch, protect, and preserve. So God entrusted Adam with the responsibility of protecting and preserving the garden by serving it.
In Acts 2:38, Peter says those who repent and are baptized for the forgiveness of their sins, will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. In 1 Corinthians 7:7 he says, "Each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another." The NIV in 1 Corinthians 12:1 describes these gifts as "gifts of the Spirit." Peter provides a summation of God's gifts to those who believe by saying, "As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace." (1 Peter 4:10) Therefore, just as Adam and Paul received the role of stewardship, so have all of Jesus' disciples. "For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace...grace and truth came through Jesus Christ" (John 1:16-17).
Yesterday, my pastor went to great lengths to explain why the Bible is the final authority and not just for believers. In Mark 13:31 Jesus said, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away." So where else would I find the answers to the questions of life? As I have discovered through the years, God will answer my questions through His Word, if I will search Scripture. Peter again helps us understand this truth in 2 Peter 1:3 (NLT), "By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life." He has forgiven, redeemed, and adopted us into an eternal inheritance. To equip us to live out our inheritance in this sinful and evil generation, He has given us His Spirit and His Word. We would do well to trust both as we search for the answers to life. How else will we know how to be good stewards of our Master's gifts?
Lord Jesus, forgive me for foolishly acting as if Your gift of grace was for my benefit alone. Holy Spirit, please teach me to use Your gift for the glory of my Father and the good of His children. I want to be a faithful steward of all the gifts You have given me. Please reveal to those who are daily reading and studying Your Word, the answers to their questions.