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Lesson 6: The Marks of a Steward *

Introduction: Assume you decide to hire a steward because you have considerable assets. What traits would you look for in someone to trust with your money or your other possessions? What characteristics could be ignored? You would want the person to be smart, or at least wise, right? Honest? Loyal, in the sense of having your best interests at heart? Competent? If you think these characteristics are important, perhaps even mandatory, would God's requirements be different? They might be, right? Let's plunge into our study of the Bible and learn more about being God's steward!

  1. Wise

    1. Read Luke 16:8. You will recall that in Lesson 3 of this series we studied this story. (If you don't recall, read the entire story of the unjust manager, Luke 16:1-12.) What did Jesus seem to indicate is the most important trait - in this parable at least? (Being "shrewd." Jesus is talking about a combination of intelligence and commonsense.)

      1. Was this dishonest manager a "steward?" (Yes!)

    2. Read Matthew 24:45-46. What kind of a steward is Jesus describing? (A wise and faithful one.)

      1. What action results from this wisdom? (Faithful performance.)

        1. Do some important traits have, as their natural result, other important traits? (In this case this certainly seems true. Being wise results in being faithful. Let's talk next about being faithful.)

  2. Faithful

    1. Read Hebrews 11:1. Tell me one thing that you do not have, but you are certain you will have in the future? (If you are young, look for an answer other than gray hair and wrinkles.)

      1. Name something else that you have been assured that you will have in the future, but you do not see any evidence of it right now?

      2. If you can come up with an answer to these two questions, then you have "faith" in your answers.

    2. Read Hebrews 11:2-3. Do you have faith that God is the Creator of the universe? (I hope so! Many do not.)

    3. Read Hebrews 11:8. What was so unique about Abraham's decision to go where God told him?

      1. If I told you that I wanted you to not simply take a trip, but permanently move somewhere, what would you want to know? (Where.)

      2. If you did not know where you were moving, would you agree to move?

    4. When you consider the answers you have just given, what does it teach you about the nature of faith?

      1. Now, consider that this kind of faith is a "mark" of a steward. Why do you think it is characteristic of one of God's stewards?

        1. Would it be helpful if your steward was one of the smartest people on the planet, but was not faithful to you? Did not trust you in difficult times?

  3. Vision

    1. Read Matthew 6:19-21. You may recall that we studied this statement in Luke 12 in the context of the successful farmer who had a great crop, built barns to store it, and then died that night. ( Luke 12:16-21.) The following verses in Luke then tell us to trust God, not money, and to create assets in heaven because that is where we will spend our future. Do you recall this?

    2. Let's also explore the context for the Matthew version of this story. Read Matthew 6:22-23. What do our eyes have to do with storing up treasure in heaven rather than on earth?

    3. Read Matthew 6:24. What does Jesus' statement about two masters have to do with our eyes?

      1. More importantly, what does it have to do with being a steward? (The unifying theme is having a vision to advance the Kingdom of God. If your goal is God, rather than money, if your vision in life is to bring glory to God, then your time, money and other assets follow your vision.)

      2. Is vision different than being faithful? (I think it is a different side of being trustworthy. The faithful side says that you believe God and you believe in His plan for your life. The vision side says you have a plan in life that is in accord with your beliefs.)

  4. Honest

    1. Read Psalms 12:1-2. What terrible thing has happened to the world, according to the Psalmist? (Everyone lies.)

    2. Read Psalms 12:3-4. What is the problem with a steward who boasts? (He thinks that he is the reason for his success, not the wealth and direction of his master.)

      1. What is the link between boasting and honesty? (True boasting is a lie. It makes the steward unreliable.)

    3. Read John 8:44. Have you met people whose "native language" is to lie?

      1. Would you hire a steward who spoke that language fluently?

    4. Read 1 Timothy 4:1-4. Do the people described here have a conscience? (It has been "seared," so I believe the answer is that they do not have a properly working conscience.)

      1. When a person tells you that God requires you to take some additional action to be more faithful, do you assume that person is religious and honest?

      2. When a person tells you that God does not require you to do something you are doing right now, something that you think is required, do you assume that person is less religious and perhaps not truly honest?

        1. Notice here that the people who are hypocrites, liars, and have no conscience, are urging people to do more for God. They are urging people to refrain from doing things they enjoy. What do you think about the idea that the more "strict" Christian might really be an evil person?

        2. What does this have to do with the marks of a steward? (You want a steward to give you accurate advice. Here, the advice originates with demons.)

  5. Obedient

    1. Read 1 Samuel 15:22. How would you compare obedience and "sacrifices" in today's terms? (It is better to obey then to say "I'm sorry.")

      1. Is obedience something that you think is important for a steward? (You want your directions followed.)

        1. Why? (Because it is your assets that are at stake.)

          1. Does that same consideration apply to our stewardship for God? (No doubt God wants His instructions followed, but He gives us instructions for our benefit.)

    2. Read 1 Samuel 15:23. Let's discuss the nature of disobedience. What does this say is the cause of disobedience? (Arrogance and rebellion.)

      1. Would you want an arrogant and rebellious steward working for you? (No. Think about how this applies to doing your job.)

      2. What other reasons might a person disobey? (Weakness. Confusion.)

        1. Would you want a steward who was weak and confused?

    3. Read 1 Samuel 15:24-25. Who does Saul blame for his disobedience? (The people.)

      1. What do you think is the problem with Saul's excuse? (He is not being accountable.)

    4. When you think about the "marks of a steward" that we have discussed, how much of this is about being accountable? (All of it. We need to take responsibility for all of these traits. This is not about salvation, it is about our service to God. It is about how we will live our lives.)

    5. Friend, will you consider each of these characteristics of a steward, and compare them to your life? If you find that you don't measure up, why not ask the Holy Spirit, right now, to help you improve your walk with God?

  6. Next week: Honesty With God.
* Copr. 2018, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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