By John Oso
“When evening came, the owner told his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages”.
Stewardship is the most basic of all biblical concepts about material things. Furthermore, the foundational principle of stewardship is that God is the owner of everything.
Our text reveals the three beings that are part of the story the chapter talks about.
The Owner, the Foreman (Steward) and the Workers.
Since we are more concerned about God’s ownership in stewardship, we shall be considering it under three Rs
God has the REACH: Reach is the capacity to show influence over things. God’s influence is not illegal because he created all things (Gen 1:1, Psalm 24:1). If God makes it, he owns it, if he owns it, he can control it, if he can control it, he can fix it, if it turns bad. That is why it is possible for God to turn our mess into a message. He can fix our lives and situations. Because of his reach, he went out five times- 6am, 9am, 12 noon, 3pm and around 5pm. Furthermore, even though omnipotent and omnipresent, he gives man a fraction of the vastness to manage for him (Gen 1:25-31). A steward, therefore is not the owner, even though in charge. He is keeping a trust; he is managing on behalf of one. He is appointed amongst many; he must therefore remember that, “to be responsible is to be appointable, to be appointable is to be accountable, to be accountable is to be punishable”. Both the steward and what he manages belong to God; hence, he must be faithful.
God has the RESOURCES: He is the owner of the vineyard (Matt 20:1). What we erroneously call our own actually belongs to God, and this should keep us humble. He gave us the imago dei (His image) and breath. This in essence signifies that the reality of our being is God’s. We owe our lives and existence to Him, for in Him we live, move and have our being (Acts 17:28). He did not stop at that, when we derailed, he bought us again. (Psalm 50:10-12, ICor 4:7, 6:20, 7:23). He has all the animals (psalm 50:10), silver and gold (Haggai 2:8), all we need to make life and godliness (2 Pet 1:3), power to make wealth (Deut 8:18), good land that flows with milk and honey (Deut 26:9). Unfortunately, because of our lack of right perspective we hoard all these, even when God demands them. The vastness and enormity of God’s resources made Him as the owner of the vineyard to move out five times to employ idle hands. Men without being engaged will be idle, an idle hand is the devil’s workshop. Men must strive to keep busy working for the Lord. It is only in the Church that we always have vacancies, because the field is ripe for harvest, but the workers are few. If we are not in God’s service, we are wasting away. God’s world is large enough to accommodate everyone, the good, bad and ugly and his church is big enough to accommodate the saints and potential saints.
iii. God has the REWARD: Whether God calls you early, earlier or earliest. If he calls you late or later, there is equal reward- His Kingdom (Luke 18:28-30). God calls people at different times, the most important thing is not the time of calling, God calls us when we can be useful for him. People that bear the yoke early should not look with disdain upon people who are called later. The truth of the matter is that we begin to enjoy all that God has to offer the moment we are called and we answer the call. However, one must work for the reward. No two of the workers worked on the same spot. In the body of Christ, you have your space- Gifts, roles, talents and expectations.
Everybody must be involved in soul winning. We cannot afford to fail God, if we fail him, no rewards. God can also replace people if they do not rise up to the challenge. The master’s job must be done with dexterity.
God went out five times. I believe it was not by coincidence or mistake. Five in Hebrew reckoning stands for grace. The last time he went out confirmed this, it was the eleventh hour, very close to the Zero hour or the beginning of another day. God keeps calling people into his Church, the body of Christ. He calls us from the market place, the slave market of sin, the place of noise, the place of indecision (Matt 11:16). He calls us from our selfish lives, from the pit of sin the devil had dragged and abandoned us. Men are encouraged to hear the call and follow the master.
We are saved by grace,
Made stewards by grace,
We should not disappoint this gracious God.
We cannot hide- God has the Reach
We should not be proud – God has the Resources
It is not in vain- God has the Reward.
The reward will come in the evening, when our works on earth is done, when no advocate will stand surety for you except you are in Christ Jesus. It will be a time of divine judgement, a time when everybody will stand before the throne of God to get rewarded for what they have done in the flesh. A time of reckoning; a time to give account. It is the zero hour and interestingly, we are closer to the evening of the world in our generation. Events around us attest to this fact, the world is set for the second coming of the Lord, the evening is upon us. For he says, behold I come and my reward is with me to give unto everyone according to their works.
Revd Canon Oso is a Priest in Akure Anglican Diocese.