Robert Morris - Good Stewards
We're in a series called "Beyond Blessed", And, I want you to understand that this is so big and so many people miss this, and I'm trying to think of how I can say it to make the impact that I want this statement to make, all right? We know that when we give, God blesses us. That's just all through Scripture, and it's when we give with the right heart, obviously. If we're giving with a selfish motive, that's not gonna bring the blessing of God. That's not what God's trying to do in our heart. But when I wrote "The Blessed Life", we've talked about when we give and I talked about all of these testimonies about how God would bless.
Here's what I want you to catch about "Beyond Blessed". In the very same way that God supernaturally blesses you when you give generously, in the very same way God supernaturally blesses you when you operate your finances according to biblical standards and stewardship. And, so many don't understand this. Please, please, please, please hear me. Please hear me on this. It's not just that the numbers add up. It's not just that you got on a budget and you're spending less in this column so you have more in this column. We have testimony after testimony after testimony, here at Gateway Church, of people who have gotten their finances in order and God has supernaturally blessed them. So, that's what I want you to hear. I want you to hear, because see, in the same way, we do want God's supernatural blessing on our finances, so when there's an opportunity to give, sometimes we give knowing, not in a bad way, but knowing that God's gonna bless us for giving. When you get your finances in order, there is a supernatural blessing from heaven.
There's miraculous blessings that happen from heaven. Are you following me? I want you to know that, and I want you to just try it. Just try it and watch the supernatural happen. So, we're talking about "Good Stewards" this week, and I want to talk a little bit about ownership and stewardship, because this is a big issue for us to understand as believers. It will change everything in your life. I am overwhelmed right now with this burden. You can live with no financial stress. I'm talking about none. And it is one of the greatest places to live in the world, but it comes not from whether you have a lot of money in the bank or not. It comes whether in your heart you're the owner or the steward. Because, listen, it's like renting. Think about this, okay? If you're the renter, when stuff breaks, you just call the landlord. And think about that term even, the land-lord. Who's the Lord of the land? See, what's great is when God owns it, He fixes it. When you own it, it causes you a whole bunch of stress.
So I'm gonna read you this passage in Matthew 25, and here's what you need to know. It's the famous passage about God giving five talents, two talents, and one talent. Here's the only thing you've got to know, and I'll explain it later in the message. Talent here is talking about money. It is a sum of money. I can prove it theologically and historically. Okay? It is not talking about ability. And there are many people that say, well, some people have this much ability, some have this much ability. Okay, this talks about ability, but this is talking about a sum of money. This is a whole thing where God says I have given so much money to different people according to the ability that they have, and I expect money back. I expect a return on My investment. So you need to know, here's Jesus taking several verses talking about how we handle money, all right?
So, Matthew 25:14. "For the kingdom of heaven is like..". I'm gonna stop a few times 'cause I'm eaten up with this burden for this message. This is Jesus talking. He knows what heaven's like, would you agree? This is the Son of God talking. And by the way, this is the eleventh time Jesus said, in the Book of Matthew, "For the kingdom of heaven is like..". "The kingdom of heaven is like..". It's a great study, by the way. There are eleven of them. This is the eleventh one. It starts in Matthew 13, by the way, all right. "For the kingdom of heaven is like a man," that's Jesus: "traveling to a far country, who called his own servants," that's believers, Christians: "and delivered," watch this very carefully: "his goods to them". Just a question you can all answer out loud, whose goods are they? Okay, let's remember that. "And to one he gave five talents.."., now that's a sum of money. I'll tell you exactly how much money He gives in just a moment. "To another two, to another one".
Now, why would He do that? It doesn't sound fair. Here's why. "To each according to his own ability.."., how much ability the person had. "And immediately he went on a journey. Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them". The word "traded" here means to do business. It literally means to enact business, a business, to do business. He did business with them, "and he made another five talents. Likewise, he who had received two gained two more also. But he who had received one went and dug it in the ground, and hid.."., watch, "his lord's money". Not his money, his lord's money. "After a long time, the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them".
Did you know that Jesus is going to come back and one of the things He's going to do is He's going to see how you handled His money? His money, that's part of it. "Settled accounts with them.."., and I'm gonna show you in a minute that it's money, okay, it's clear. "So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, "Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them". His lord said to him, "Well done, good and faithful servant". Look at me just for a moment. Have you ever heard that phrase? Does everyone say that's what I want to hear Jesus say? This is the only place it's in the Bible, and it's talking about money. The people who hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant", from the Lord, are the people who are good stewards.
I know I'm shocking you all. I can just feel the, I just don't know about this. I do. I've studied this. He is talking about money, and the people that hear this are the good stewards. Are you all with me? This is amazing. Okay, the way you've handled your money, pardon me, the way you handled His money so far, is He gonna say, "Well done, good and faithful servant"? Okay. "Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord". He also who had received two talents came and said, "Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them". His lord said to him, "Well done, good and faithful servant". Notice, by the way, it's not how much, it's how much according to your ability.
Okay, so in other words, a person who makes a small amount can get the same "well done" as a person who makes a large amount, as long as you do it according to your ability. "You have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord". Then he who had received the one talent came and said, "Lord, I knew you to be a hard man". My understanding of you is you're a hard man. There's a lot of people that think that about God. "Reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid". Fear is what drove him. So, he was never generous, never a good steward. "And I went and hid your talent...", remember, talent is a sum of money, "in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours". But his lord answered and said to him, "You're a wicked and a lazy servant". This is a person who was not a good steward. "You knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have at least," or you ought to have deposited...", now watch, "my money".
I told you He was talking about money. This is in red. This is Jesus. I just wanted you all to know. Some of you might be shocked. Jesus used the word "money", and He called it His money. "So you ought to have at least deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming..." at my coming, a lot of good theology in here: "I would have received back my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents...", the guy who will do somethin' with it. "For to everyone who has, more will be given, "And he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away". Okay, let me give you just a definition, if you wanted one, of stewardship. This is my own definition. I didn't find this in a dictionary, so there's probably a better one, but it's the management of the property of another. The management of the property of another.
Alright. So, three points, one is going to build on last week. Here's number one, I am not the owner. I am not the owner. Last week I read Psalm 24, "The earth is the Lord's, the fullness thereof, and all of the people who dwell in it". I also read Psalm 50, where He said, "I own the cattle on a thousand hills, I own the hills also". And I want to just go back to one there, Psalm 50:12. "If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world is Mine..". Okay, I just like that because of this. Here's what I think He's saying. If I were hungry, I'd eat one of My cows. Even if they're on your land, they're My cows. They're My deer, they're My fish, they're My chickens, My eggs. If I'm hungry, I'm going to eat one of My animals, or one of My vegetables. You know, I'll eat My tomatoes, My cauliflower, My broccoli. Mine, it's Mine. It's all God's. God owns it all! I showed you some Scripture, Old Testament.
Let me show you one in the New Testament. 1 Corinthians 10:26, "For the earth is the Lord's and all it contains". All it contains! How many of you ladies, either a ring, necklace, pendant, earring, bracelet, I don't know, how many of you ladies have a diamond? Can I see your hand at every campus? Okay. That diamond came from God's coal. The metal that you drove to church today, whether it's a Mercedes or a Chevy, it came from God's ore and His minerals. That's where that metal came from. The clothes you're wearing came from God's plants. The house you live in - the wood, the stone, the brick, every bit of it came from God's earth. If you have a pearl, it's because one of God's oysters got irritated by some sand. Can you imagine us saying that anything belongs to us, and how God would feel? By the way, the paper that your money is printed on came from God's trees. He owns every one of them. God's the owner.
You know what I think we have? I think we have a teenager problem. Now, not all teenagers go through this, but most of them do, okay? If you have a teenager or have ever had a teenager, you have had this thought at some point in your life, this is not your house. Haven't you? This is not your house, young man. You're on loan. You're leaving pretty soon, and it's just your mother and I, and we're not going to be crying, either. We're havin' a party! We liked it when it was just us, and we're going to be happy when it's just us again. But what's the problem with a teenager? We talked about this: childhood, adolescence, adulthood. You've got a person that has not transitioned to adulthood yet. How many teenagers does God have? All of us.
Listen, do you know the transition when you go from being childhood, adolescence, to adulthood in the kingdom? I'm going to tell you exactly what it is. When you learn to be a good steward and when you realize it's not yours, it's His. Otherwise you're still a teenager, and you think that even though you're living in His house, it's your house. Are you all following me? It's God's! It's God. God owns it all. By the way, it says after a long time the owner came back and settled accounts. I just want to remind all of you, the Owner's coming back and He's going to settle accounts.
So, number one, I'm not the owner. Here's number two, I am a steward. I am a steward. Do you realize God started the whole thing with stewardship? Adam and Eve. He said, y'all can live here and you can tend it. You can tend and you can work this garden, but that tree right there, you cannot eat from that tree right there. You know what He was trying to say? Every time you walk by that tree, I want you to remember who the Owner is. I'm the Owner. Do you know in essence what Satan told them? Remember he said He didn't want you to eat 'cause you'll be like Him? Here's what he said - you'll be an owner then. You won't be the steward anymore, you'll get to be the owner. And God said, no, you don't even get to live here anymore if you don't understand that I'm the Owner. It all started with stewardship.
By the way, do you know this is why evolutionists hate creationism? Because if there's an Owner, that means He owns them, too, and He does. There is an Owner. He owns the world and everybody. Okay, so let me tell you about a talent. A talent is a sum of money. I'll tell you and then I'll have to break it down for you. It is 10.000 denarii. Okay? A denarius is a day's wage. Denarius is singular, denarii is plural. It'd be like octopus and octopi. Okay? So, if you went snorkeling and saw two, you wouldn't say I saw two octopuses, you'd say I saw two octopi. Just helping you, okay? So, you didn't make two denarius, you made two denarii. So, denarii. Denarius, denarii. Okay, now 300 denarii is a year's wage. You worked about 300 days, with Sabbaths, holidays, and festivals.
So, remember she poured the ointment on His feet, and Judas said, "Why wasn't this sold for 300 denarii"? A year's wage is what that perfume cost. 10.000 denarii, which is a talent of silver, is a lifetime. It's actually 33-1/3 years. By the way, that's how long Jesus lived, 33-1/3 years. A boy started working with his father when he was 12. He actually entered adolescence, but he actually became a laborer at 17, and in Jesus' day, retirement was age 50. Part of the reason was the life span was 55 to 65. Life span has increased. By the way, think about this. The life span of Methuselah was 969 years, and it's been going down because of sin. Jesus came into the world and it's been going back up, and it's because God has given wisdom to doctors and medical people now, and life has been extended actually because life came into the world. But in Jesus' day, you worked 33-1/3 years, in essence from 17 until you were 50, and then you retired. So, when people referred to 10.000 denarii, or one talent of silver, that's a lifetime wage, average wage, okay?
So this one, the one that got one, don't feel sorry for him. He got a whole lifetime wage. He didn't have to work the rest of his life. And then someone got two. Some people make twice what an annual salary would be. One guy got five. That's five times as much. Now, that's a talent of silver. By the way, a talent of gold is ten times. So, there are some people that make 50 times what an average person makes. They're called athletes. Okay, let's go on. But, it's money. It was a talent. God gave them a sum of money. We don't know if it was a talent of silver or a talent of gold, but it was enough to live on. For even the one who had one, it was enough to live his entire life. He gave him a lifetime of wages.
Now, here's the other thing that is amazing to me. It says that "according to their ability". When Debbie and I got married, I didn't make much money. As a matter of fact, our first tax return we ever filed, the government sent me back some money 'cause I didn't make enough. They felt sorry for me. The government felt sorry for me. We were lower than the low class when we got married. Okay, but my ability has increased. So you can say, well, I'm just a one talent person. You don't have to stay a one talent person, 'cause you can improve on your ability. You can get more education, you can learn more skill. Are you all following me? But what are you doing? Now, I would like to say this. If you're a five talent person, God expects five talents back from you. I want you to think about this. Let's say that there is a person who has the ability to give a million dollars. He has the ability to give a million dollars, but he gives $500.000. There's another person who only has the ability to give $50, but she gives $200. Who's going to hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant"?
See, God is judging you by what He gave you, but we have a lot of five talent people that give like one talent, and you're in trouble, because God is watching you. He's going to come settle accounts one day. I'm a steward. That's all I am is a steward. Let me give you one other definition I wrote about stewardship. Stewardship is to protect and expand the resources of another. Notice He wanted His resources expanded. He said you could have at least put it in the bank, because it would have been protected and expanded. Protected and expanded, that's what He wanted, and the guy didn't even put it in the bank. God is expecting you to protect it and expand it. He's expecting that. Let me say something else. Maybe you've never, ever thought about this. I hope you never forget this statement right here. You are God's bank. God has deposited His, it says "his lord's money". He has deposited His money in you, and He is expecting you to protect it and expand it.
So, which brings me to my third point, am I a good steward? I mean, I am a steward. By the way, you're a steward, 'cause you don't own anything. You don't own anything. God owns it all, so you are a steward. So the question is, are you a good steward? Luke 12:16, "Jesus spoke a parable to them, saying, "The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, "What shall I do, since I have no room to store.."., watch very carefully 'cause it's very important, "my crops". Notice he thought everything was his. "So he said, "I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods". See, he was thinking like an owner and not a steward. "And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years. Take your ease, eat, drink, and be merry". But God said to him, "You're a fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided? So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God".
Okay, he did not get reprimanded for making a lot of money. That wasn't the problem. He didn't get reprimanded for building bigger barns. He didn't get reprimanded for storing it, even. He got reprimanded for living for himself and not for the kingdom, and not for others. That's what he got reprimanded for. You need to know that being a good steward is that I'm a steward of everything God's given me, to be able to be a blessing when God wants me to be a blessing to someone. I'm stewarding it because I am the steward, I'm not the owner.
You know the thing I love about tithing, and the thing I love that God put it at %10. The word tithe in the Hebrew means a tenth. Here's what I love about it, it's the same for everyone. It's a penny on every dime; it's a dime on every dollar. So no matter how much you make, if you make a lot or if you make a little it's the same. But think about this widow that I talked about. Here's a widow who was tithing, but she didn't understand biblical stewardship, and when she began to put it in practice in her life, the principles in the Bible, the principles that I talk about in "Beyond Blessed", God supernaturally blessed her. That's what I want you to hear. God will supernaturally bless you when you put your finances in order, in the same way He blesses us when we're generous.