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NOTE FROM PAM: Gale and his wife Kay are precious friends and neighbors here in Moravian Falls. They minister to many in this area and are a joy to know by their rich and joyful Spiritual life. Here you will find some insights on a parable that you may not have ever seen before!


STEWARDSHIP - BUILDING THE HOUSEHOLD OF GOD

by Gale Ward Maiden




The parable taught by Jesus, commonly called the "parable of the unjust steward", found in Luke 16:1-17, has forever changed my life. This is a parable which deals first and foremost with stewardship and the building of everlasting tabernacles (households) of God.

Steward means: (oikonomos), "the manager of a household." Secondly this parable reveals truths pertaining to justification by faith unto resurrection as it relates to stewardship. Also this parable teaches one how through faithfulness to alleviate all debt and liability unjustly incurred against the Kingdom of God and our fellow man.

MANAGERS OF GODíS HOUSEHOLD

We as believers are the households (temples) of God. The parable of the unjust steward mentions houses and everlasting tabernacles twice (see verses 4 & 9). Just stewardship (management) of Godís provision builds this house. I have often preached that God has a society page in His book of remembrance and in the Lambís book of life in which He chronicles those social gatherings where we as good stewards of Godís household have entertained many. Many newspapers have a social page that chronicles gatherings and home visits by its constituents. Our goal should be to enlarge our tabernacles (households) thus making room for multitudes. I want to make Godís social page!

The rich man in this parable represents those proven rich stewards birthed by God, our creator, owner and giver of all riches. Those of us made rich in God through Jesus Christ, because of faithfulness to justly manage the provision of God, have an obligation; that is to teach, impart to and encourage others to become just stewards (II Tim 2:2). This rich man, rich because of his faithful stewardship, made another man a steward of his riches. We are commanded to make stewards (disciples) of others.

"YOUR SIN WILL FIND YOU OUT"

The steward in this parable is accused by his peers of wasting the rich manís goods (verse 1). Wow! Donít think for a moment that failure to be a just steward of Godís riches will go unnoticed by righteous saints (James 5:1-6). The rich man to give an account of his stewardship then called in the steward. His stewardship was obviously defunct. It is the failure to properly manage our riches from God which actually takes stewardship away.

The goal of stewardship is for God to move into and fill our tabernacle or household. God is Jehovah Jireh our provider. Why did God move out of this stewardís house? When stewards begin to waste the goods of God there is a Godly principle which says, "For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be TAKEN AWAY even that he hath." (Matt 13:12, KJV, parenthesis added) God is our home and we are to be His home. If God moves out we are truly homeless and without provision.

STEWARD GETS A REVELATION

This steward knew immediately that because he had mismanaged the rich manís goods he was now homeless. All that he had was taken away. His ability to continue as before had been taken away and he was ashamed to confess his purpose as a steward.

In Luke 16, verse 3b, the steward says, "I cannot dig: to beg I am ashamed." To dig means to obey. This steward because of unjustly wasting the rich manís goods had lost heart. If we donít use it, we will lose it! As a result of failure to continue in proper stewardship, this steward became ashamed.

Shame is the greatest killer of Godís people in the wilderness. I have experienced this many times in my walk with the Lord. There are countless times when I did not feel like digging (obeying). As a consequence, my begging (confession) ceased. The Apostle Paul wrote, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth." (Rom 1:16a, KJV)

It is obvious from this scripture that if we are ashamed of the good news of Godís provision that the power of God unto salvation is no longer available. Wow! It is no wonder that the steward could not dig. In every instance of my walk in which I experienced an inability to dig and felt ashamed to beg, by the grace (Godís ability in me) of God I found the power to continue to dig and beg. Likewise the steward of this parable discovers power to be restored to his stewardship.

STEWARD ACKNOWLEDGES PROBLEM AND ACTIVATES THE SOLUTION

He next realized that in order to justly fulfill his stewardship and thereby maintaining his household, something would have to be done. He would have to realize that only by helping others indebted to the rich man could he pay his indebtedness to the rich man. This is stewardship in a nutshell. Remember that Jesus taught us to pray, "Father forgive us our debts, as we forgive those who are indebted to us." This paraphrased says, "Father do away with our lack of riches for stewardship to others as we are willing by your provision to assist others from indebtedness to both You (God) and man." Glory to God!

This steward calls every one of his lordís debtors to him in order to discern the extent of their indebtedness. The first debtor owed one hundred measures of oil. The steward told him to sit down and quickly write a commitment to fifty measures of oil. The implication is that the steward discerned that this debtor could pay only fifty measures of a one hundred-measure indebtedness.

So where would the other fifty come from? Of course it would be taken care of by the steward! This is real stewardship of Godís provision. Godís provision is always sufficient to alleviate debt in its entirety. This steward by this just wisdom activated the provision of the rich man thereby freeing this debtor.

The steward did likewise to the second debtor. This debtor owed a hundred measures of wheat and could pay only eighty measures. The steward gave him the remaining twenty measures, setting this man free from debt.

THE RICH LORD COMMENDS HIS STEWARD

The rich lord commended the steward because of his wise actions. Godly wisdom is to discern that our loving God is into redeeming mankind from debt. We are to be imitators of God as dear children (Eph 5:1). Why is it that Godís people (supposedly people of light) have not walked in this wisdom? We can look around us and see in some instances much provision among the children of the world. It is obvious that even some of the world realizes that good management of provisions provides more provision!

JESUS EXPOUNDS THE BASICS OF STEWARDSHIP

Jesus next says that wise and just stewards should make friends with unrighteous mammon. What did Jesus mean by this and how is it accomplished? What is the purpose of making friends with the mammon of unrighteousness?

Remember that we are talking about being wise and just managers of the household of God. Everyone needs a home. I recently preached a message on the homecoming of the saints of God. The message centered on our coming home to our proper place and position in God. We can only produce in our Garden of Eden... the only environment conducive to growth. When we are functioning in our God given sphere of faith... we are at home!

Unrighteous mammon is the riches of the world. Trust in the riches of the world is a trust doomed to sure failure. We cannot build a household on trust in unrighteous (illegal, unjust) mammon. Jesus reiterated the sureness of the loss of our homes (tabernacles lasting forever) because of trust in unrighteous mammon (see verse 9).

This steward quickly found out that outside of the wise and just stewardship of his lordís goods... he was homeless. Others indebted could not give him a home. This reminds me of why only Jesus qualified to free us from debt. You cannot take a man in debt and get someone else out of debt. Jesus was the debtless, sinless Lamb of God who paid my debt.

There is no greater fear than being away from home, lost and unable to return. Multitudes are living in a house but are not at home. The unjust liabilities of the world (trust in unrighteous mammon) are putting such demands on Godís people that many are unable to dig and ashamed to beg. This is why Godís heart is to build homes through faithful, just and wise stewardship in order to receive others and position others in their rightful God given homes.

If I am to make friends with those who are trusting in the unrighteous mammon (riches) of this world, I must then by faithful, just and wise stewardship allow God to build my house. When unrighteous mammon fails others (and it will!) then we are able to bring them into Godís house and supply them with the riches of Godís glory.

HOW TO ALLOW GOD TO BUILD EVERLASTING TABERNACLES

Jesus here calls these houses everlasting tabernacles. Wow! God is without beginning or end... eternal. We are talking about building permanent housing and bringing people in, not just for a season but forever. We have stated several times that it is God Who builds the house. Stewardship releases the power of God to construct the house. Stewardship is one of many synonyms for having faith. Jesus next expounds from this parable the concepts of receiving much provision or true riches through faith.

JUST UNTO RESURRECTION INTO THE HOUSEHOLD OF GOD

Jesus said that he who is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much and that he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. It is key to note that being faithful is the opposite of being unjust; therefore faithful means to be just. When someone has been acquitted from guilt or indebtedness he is said to be just or justified.

The steward in this parable was first called an unjust steward and after having fulfilled his stewardship role, he was called a wise steward. Therefore we are able to draw another conclusion. If faithful means just then faithful and just also mean to be wise. This steward moved from being unjust and guilty to one who was faithful, just and wise. This is wonderful news!

Because of the faithfulness of Jesus as a steward of God to die for my freedom from indebtedness, the just for the unjust, I through faith am justified. The good news is that because of Jesusí death on the cross resulting in my justification (acquittal from guilt), Jesus was resurrected. I am now justified by faith and resurrected to abide in His house forever. Praise God forevermore!

{He} (Jesus) who was delivered up because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification. (Rom 4:25, NAS)

LEAST TO MUCH;
UNRIGHTEOUS MAMMON TO TRUE RICHES;
ANOTHER MANíS TO YOUR OWN

I recently saw in my spirit a person with his heart like a rubber band stretching from his chest right into the throne room of God. An arm was reaching out of heaven striking this outstretched heart like the string of a harp. It seemed to me that the heart was being tuned to the appropriate key. This I believe is a revelation of the God given desire of the saints to be in tune with God in all respects.

God desires fruitfulness and growth to maturity and abundance. It is Godís desire that all would mature from least to much, from trust in unrighteous mammon to true riches and from not only acquiring for others but also acquiring that which is our own.

BRINGING HEAVENLY TRUTHS TO EARTH

I believe that if the truths of this parable are understood and implemented by the saints, the church, as we know it will take on a new face! The Churchís goal is to bring Heaven to Earth. I have heard the statement over the years that so and so is too heavenly minded to be any earthly good. I donít believe that in the truest sense this is correct. Heaven will work on Earth! If our concepts of heaven donít work on Earth then they are probably not conceived in heaven.

The application of heavenly truths to facilitate the renewal of the Earth is a demonstration of the miracle power of God. We have been talking about faithfulness. The Apostle Paul wrote in Galatians chapter three that miracles are produced through faith. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word (Rhema: spoken word) of God. Every time that a faithful, just and wise steward hears and activates the spoken word of God, a miracle is produced.

DO NOT OVERLOOK "LEAST" THINGS

We must see the little things (least), which God has asked us through His spoken word to do. Implementing the will of God concerning these little things releases a greater sphere of faith. In other words, if I am faithful, just and wise to take care of a little, God knows that I will be faithful, just and wise to take care of much.

I really believe that saints have overlooked the real Kingdom of God, which is preached as being at hand. The Kingdom (rule of) God is within a hands reach to do everyday stuff. God wants to rule over my marriage, my job, my relationships, my house cleaning, feeding my beagle, etc. What most deem as mundane everyday "stuff" activities is actually the true training and equipping ground for Kingdom of God rule. God is ruler over all things and asks us to acknowledge Him in ALL of our ways!

If one cannot see the Kingdom of God from this perspective then other entities (unrighteous mammon) will begin to divide our allegiance to God. Jesus said in this same parable that, "No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." (Luke 16:13, KJV)

How can we expect to introduce Heaven to Earth if Earthly things are not to be a part of the Kingdom of God? Is God watching me to see if I will faithfully, justly and wisely pay Duke Power my electrical bill every month? Rest assured that rendering unto God ordained governing powers that which is due is the Kingdom of God.

Jesus said that if I cannot be faithful, just and wise over that which belongs to another then I need not expect to receive the true riches of God. God will not overlook unfaithfulness, injustice and foolishness. God is not mocked... we reap that which we sow.

TESTIMONY: MY UNJUST STEWARDSHIP

I am dealing with multitudes of clients at any given time in my land surveying business. As I contract with each client, I immediately enter into a stewardship role. These clients have now entrusted me with a portion of their goods. I must now become a steward of another manís assets. This entails keeping my word until the contract is fulfilled.

At various times and for various reasons, I have failed to properly keep my word. At one point a few years back, my cash flow diminished to a point of bankruptcy. Knowing that there is not a curse without a cause, I sought the Lord to find out the cause. I was the cause! The Holy Spirit immediately convicted me of improper communication and procrastination with some of my clients. After realizing my guilt, my old man wanted to justify itís self before these men.

Thank God I had learned not to turn to self-justification. Holy Spirit conviction led me to complete desperation as He had many times before. Out of this cry of desperation for release, all of my fears were destroyed by my graced (God given) desire to fix this injustice. I immediately listed all of these clients and called them to repent. When this was accomplished the cash flow reappeared. Is this Kingdom of God training or what?

IN CONCLUSION:

In the last few years there has been a noticeable call unto the Lord to raise up righteous and just judges in the Earth. Literally a righteous and just judge is simply one whose choices are the choices of God. God is always right... so if I am able to hear and implement His voice, can it be said that I am a righteous and just judge? The righteous and just shall live by faith (hearing and implementing Godís spoken word).

Jesus was constantly being derided for acknowledging and demonstrating that His choices were only the just choices of God through the hearing of faith (John 5:19,30). As Jesus concluded this parable, the covetous Pharisees began to deride Him. These Pharisees, by sneering at the wisdom of Jesus concerning faithfulness, justice and wisdom, were declaring their own guilt.

Of what offense were these Pharisees guilty? They were guilty of justifying themselves before men as to their trust in the worldís riches (unrighteous mammon). True Godly justification comes only from trusting (having Godís word of faith) in the ability of God to make us rich in all things through proper stewardship.

Our failure to fulfill faithful, just and wise stewardship casts us into rightful guilt. Failure to repent of this sin casts us into guilt and shame and will always produce self-justification. Self-justification before other men is one thing but self-justification before God is another! We might fool other men but God knows our hearts. That which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God.

Jesus Christ has set us free from guilt and shame. The grace that flows from the cross has enabled us to fulfill a faithful, just and wise stewardship. Jesus brought this portion of the parable of the unjust steward to an end with a profound declaration to those who would attempt to justify themselves. Jesus said, "The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it. And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail." (Luke 16:16,17, KJV

To anyone who would try to justify not fulfilling the faithful, just and wise stewardship of the Kingdom of God, Jesus said that since the days of John the Baptist, men are successfully pressing into the Kingdom of God. And furthermore, Jesus declared that all that has been written concerning the Kingdom of God would not fail but come to pass. God does have a faithful, just and wise people who have and will continue to build the household of God.

The ultimate household of God, the New Jerusalem, is coming to Earth. Faithful, just and wise stewards will forever dwell in Godís glory. It is a season in which the poor (beggars) in (of) the Spirit (candidates for stewardship) are crying out for the riches of the Kingdom of God to come to Earth. It is our responsibility to make stewards of those sent to beg at our gates!

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