In my last blog post about the topic of stewardship, we studied the parable of the ten talents from Matthew 25. The emphasis was on the fact that you can either increase or diminish what God has given you, and He wants you to increase it.
Today, we will take a look at the very last principle in the 4 Principles of Stewardship, but before we dive in, let’s review these four principles:
- God owns everything, you own nothing.
- God entrusts you with everything you have.
- You can either increase or diminish what God has given you; God wants you to increase it.
- You can be called into account at any time, and it may be today.
Starting at the beginning of Matthew 25, we see Jesus telling yet another parable concerning stewardship (can you tell that this subject is a big deal to Him?) – the parable of the ten virgins. Verses 1-13 tell the story:
“Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps. Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the prudent answered, ‘No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut. Later the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’ Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour”
This parable holds powerful truths for us today. Firstly, we see that the ten virgins were presented with the same circumstances. Each were aware that the bridegroom was coming, and each had a lamp. Next, we see that some of the virgins were labeled “foolish,” while some were labeled “wise.” The difference between the two was simply their levels of preparedness. Half of them thought ahead to have everything they needed to be ready to meet the bridegroom, no matter when he returned. The other half did not plan ahead to have the resources they needed. We see that although each virgin had the same exact circumstances and resources at their disposal, not all of them used those resources wisely to prepare to meet the bridegroom.
The point is this: Christ is our Bridegroom, and He is coming back. This fact should motivate us to use our energies every day to ensure that we are prepared to meet Him. We do not know when He will return, but we are called to be wise stewards of the things, time, relationships, and circumstances that He has given to us to prepare to meet Him some day. The reaction of the bridegroom toward the foolish virgins is frightening: “Truly I say to you, I do not know you.” Yet, we can take heart! God promises that He will never call His children to do anything without giving us the resources that we need to do it. And what resources has He provided? His Word and the Holy Spirit! For the true believer, we can be confident that the Holy Spirit will give us the strength we need to live by the principles of the all-wise, perfect Word of God. His Word is powerful and alive (Hebrews 4:12), and by it we are able to fight sin and live in such a way that we can confidently welcome our Bridegroom when He comes! We are told to “take up” the Bible as our weapon (Ephesians 6:17) – let us be solidly devoted to utilizing the resources God has given us, so that we may become wise servants of the Lord.
Stewardship is a big deal to our Lord, and is a major theme throughout scripture. If God majored on this topic in His Word, we should major on it in our lives as well. For the past four weeks, we have studied four different biblical aspects of stewardship that should prompt you to jump start your growth into becoming the steward that God wants you to be. For further study on this topic, check out these great sermons from Faith Church! As God’s humble servants who are deserving of nothing, let us strive to build His kingdom and to make His name known until He comes!