I was preparing for a prayer meeting recently and the thought came to mind that we should pray about being good stewards. ! Corinthians 4:2 states that ‘Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful’.
Thinking about this verse also led me to the verse in Proverbs, where the question was asked, ‘…who can find a faithful man?’
Indeed, in today’s world, even in Christendom, a faithful man is hard to find. The church of Jesus Christ has many members, but how many are for real? How many actually believe the Bible and are following God’s commandments, doing His will, following His instructions?
A statement in 1 Corinthians 10:6 strikes a chord:
‘Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted’.
This passage referring to the conduct of the Israelites in the wilderness, also goes on to talk about the examples of how they fumbled at every opportunity. Our admonition comes up in verses 11 and 12, where it states:
‘Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. v.12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall’.
So, we are meant to observe the Israelites’ journey through the wilderness and learn from their mistakes. Now, it is instructive to note that this generation of Israelites that came out of Egypt messed up seriously. God was not pleased with them. From verses 6 to 10 of 1 Corinthians 10, we learn that they lusted, they were idolaters, they committed sexual immorality, they tempted Christ and they complained. We are expected to keep away from all these things.
The reality of life however, is that we find ourselves doing these same things without conscious realization. A lot of sermons are not focused on these things in church, but the Bible is our guide and we have access to the word of God, which we are meant to study on our own and obey.
This is where our diligent stewardship comes up. The excuse that we were not taught will not bail us out on the final day. Neither will the fact that we attended a liberal church have any bearing. We have the Holy Spirit within us. We have the word of God.
Still on stewardship, 1 Corinthians 3:11 says that no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. As the church of Christ, we are expected to build on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones. Other materials like wood, hay, straw also exist but those ones will be destroyed by fire. Our stewardship will be proven at this point, where every work is tested by fire. We want to be sure that our work passes through the fire and is not destroyed. That is the only way we can ensure we receive the reward that God has promised (1Cor.3:14).
The fearful thing with this test of our work is that it is taking place after we die, when no further corrections can be made.
Jesus said ‘Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal’. Matthew 6:20.
In essence, He tells us to build where it matters most, in heaven. The span of time we spend here on earth is nothing compared to the time we will spend in heaven. It is called eternity, and although we can’t understand eternity right now, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. When we get there, we will understand it.
What is critical now is for us to ensure that we do the right things necessary to ensure that we spend eternity with God, not apart from Him.
A few years ago, maybe like 25 years ago in Nigeria, if you were to travel to another country, you could only spend the amount of money you had pre-arranged to exchange into an acceptable currency and take with you, either in form of traveler’s cheques or foreign cash. If you ended up needing more than that amount during your trip, you would definitely be stranded and in need of help. Fast forward 25 years. Today, we have widely accepted payment cards that bridge the gap for us. Imagine someone saying 25 years ago, that you can’t spend Naira in the United States of America, just because it was not a reality then? Today, I can walk into a store in New York and buy a product with my Naira Mastercard, and payment would be made seamlessly!
Heaven and eternity may seem remote to us right now, but it is a reality in the Bible and will be a reality when we get there. Some people are still waiting for their dead relatives to come back to tell them whether or not heaven is real. I don’t need anybody else to tell me. Jesus did and I believe Him. I am looking forward to being there, and I am realizing too that I have to work towards being there by accepting His offer of salvation (which I have done) and thereafter, ensuring that I am working out my salvation with fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12), building on this foundation with gold, silver and precious stones.
Won’t you join me on this journey? We might think the end is still faraway, but it might just be round the corner!