It is required of stewards that they be found faithful (1 Corinthians 4:2)
There is a crucial balance represented here. On one hand, stewards only manage things that have been given to their care. A steward is someone who is entrusted with property that is not his or her own. As Paul points out later in this passage, everything we have and do as Christians is merely using the strength, the giftedness, and even the faithfulness that only comes from Christ.
On the other hand, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful! It is our responsibility before God; we are accountable to God; we will be examined by God in relation to how we have stewarded every thing he has placed under our care. “How did you use the hours I gave you? The energy, money, open doors of opportunity? How did you raise the children I placed under your care?”
God has not set us free to serve ourselves, but to serve Jesus Christ.
We will give account before God for the words we spoke, the decisions we made, the priorities we set, and the challenges we either accepted or ran away from – as stewards of God’s many gifts to us!
Some people express grace in such terms that it gives the impression we should be almost laissez faire and careless about salvation, the gospel, and Christian discipleship. In their eyes, if you are concerned about the salvation of your children, or if you feel urgent about sharing the gospel, or if you are radically committed to the 24/7 service of Jesus Christ then you’ve missed the “grace boat.”
Grace, to some people, means a “get out of effort for free” card. But the Bible says that, yes, grace is God’s free gift through Jesus Christ… and that it is required of stewards that they be found faithful! The evidence that genuine grace is at work in our hearts is that the Spirit of God is leading us to an urgent, consistent, faithful service of Lord Jesus – as trustworthy stewards of all he has given to our care.
Any preacher, or parent, or church member, or breadwinner, or student, or teenager who does not does not feel the weight of this responsibility does not understand God’s grace in Jesus Christ. God has, in Jesus Christ, not set us free to serve ourselves, but to serve Jesus Christ every moment of our lives, with every decision of our lives, with all the energy in our bodies.