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Matthew 28
posted August 9, 2012

Revelation 13
posted August 16, 2012

Thou Canst Be No Longr Steward - June 17, 2005


Sermon of the Week – June 17, 2005

In Luke sixteen Jesus told the disciples, “There was a certain rich man who had a steward who was accused unto him that he was wasting his goods. The rich man called the steward unto him and said, ‘What is this that I hear of thee? Render an account of thy stewardship for thou canst be no longer steward.’ ”

The Lord, of course, will be the Rich Man in the story and we are the stewards. All of us are stewards. Before we move on it might be well to tell what Paul said about stewards, “Moreover it is required in a steward that a man be found faithful.”  That is the one big requirement; a steward must be faithful. Paul also referred to the elders, as stewards when he said, “The bishops should be blameless as God's stewards.” Then Peter refers to all Christians as stewards when he says that we are stewards of the manifold grace of God. Every Christian fits in there somewhere in manifold grace. Some day we will be called to account. Some day the call will come through loud and clear as found in this chapter, “Render an account of thy stewardship for thou canst be no longer steward.” You may be an atheist but you are responsible for the gifts God has given to you. You may be a Christian but you are responsible to God. God will demand an accounting, “Render an account of thy stewardship for thou canst be no longer steward.” God will ask what we have done with what belongs to Him, “What are you doing with My Church? What have you done with My Bible? What have you done with the talent I gave to you? What have you done with that money I gave to you? What have you done with the opportunities I gave to you? Render an account of thy stewardship for thou canst be no longer steward.”

The steward in this story began to talk to himself. He said, “What shall I do seeing I am about to be fired? I have no strength to dig, to beg I am ashamed. I am too old to get a job anywhere else. I am not old enough to draw social security.” As he looked at it he only had three choices. He could dig, beg or steal. He chose the latter. He called each of the Master's debtors. They probably feared to come in. They thought, “Maybe he is going to foreclose on us.” When they came in the steward no doubt asked about the wife and kids. “Oh they are doing fine, in fact, Junior is going to college this fall; he plays fullback on the football team.” “That's fine. Now about this little indebtedness, how much owest thou unto my Lord?” The creditor very nervously said, “A hundred measures of oil.” The steward said, “Take thy bond and sit down quickly and write fifty.” This has been guestimated at about nine hundred gallons of oil.

A second came in and the same question was asked. The answer, “A hundred measures of wheat.” “Take thy bond and write fourscore.” That would be about eleven hundred bushels of wheat. Only two of the creditors are mentioned, but you can see with that kind of a program, if he called in about a dozen more and offered the same deal he was going to be rich.

I have to stop here and note that there are a lot of unjust stewards in the Lord's service—preachers who are always lowering the standards. How much owest thou unto My Lord? The Book says, “Repent and be immersed for the remission of sins.” The creditor thinks that this is a little high; he fidgets and the unjust preacher says, “Take thy bond and sit down quickly and write faith only.” Another comes in. Same deal. “How much owest thou unto my Lord?” “Hmm let's see, the Book says, “They went down into the water both Philip and the Eunuch and he immersed him.” Again the creditor fidgets and again the unjust preacher says, “Tell you what I'll do, I'm a good fellow, I like to get along with everybody. Take thy bond and sit down quickly and write that they went down into the water and he sprinkled him.”

Perhaps another comes, “How much owest thou? The Book states, “And upon the first day of the week…”. Aw forget it! Take thy bond and sit down quickly and write, Upon the first day of the week, once a month we were gathered together to break bread and also on world-wide Communion Sunday. And for those who want to have Sundays off for Egyptian activities, the Lord's Supper on Saturday will be just fine.” One day these unjust preachers and/or stewards will hear the voice of the Master, “Render an account of thy stewardship for thou canst be no longer steward.

Note also that question, “How much owest thou unto my Lord?” OK, how much do you owe? What do you owe the Lord for dying for you on the cross? How much owest thou unto my Lord for the good fortune you had of having the gospel in all it's purity preached unto you? How much owest thou unto my Lord for the good health you have enjoyed for all these years? How much owest thou unto my Lord for the job you have and ten thousand others things? How much owest thou unto My Lord in money? How much owest thou unto my Lord in time? How much owest thou unto my Lord in talent? How much owest thou unto my Lord in service? How much owest thou unto my Lord?

When the Master heard what had taken place He commended the unjust steward because he had done wisely. The Lord was not condoning what he had done, but he was amazed at the cleverness of this rascal. Many times we do the same. We hear of someone who has embezzled thousands of dollars and we marvel at the intelligence of such a person.

One man a few years ago stole a half million dollars, got into a jetliner and parachuted out over the mountains in a western state. He was never heard from again. No one knows whether he died or if he is somewhere enjoying his ill-gotten gains. Every year there is a group of people who get together and celebrate what he did. They drink a toast to him and wish him well. I don't know whether any of them would try the same thing, but they surely do admire him for doing it. We can't help but marvel at the talent of some people to pull off such a scam. Think of the tremendous talent that some folk have to sing; act, write and they have laid these gifts at the feet of the Devil.

Jesus told the disciples, “The sons of this world are wiser for their generation, than the sons of light.”  I read of one quarterback of a top college football team who, during the summer, passed a football at least one hundred times every day through an automobile tire that was swinging from a tree. One hundred times every day to sharpen his passing ability! Think of the practice some are willing to do to play a ball game or to excel in music and we wonder what would happen if the members of the body of Christ would put that same dedication into the work of Christ; what marvels they would be! If some Christians can work so hard to be tops in some earthly things that may be alright in themselves, how come that same dedication is not spent in memorizing scripture or in some other area of excellence in the work of the Master? Some people choose the path of a fool and work like crazy at it and some choose the right path and act like fools not working at it. Remember you are a steward and you will give account. “Render an account of thy stewardship for thou canst be no longer steward.”

Jesus advised the disciples to make to themselves friends of the unrighteous mammon that when it shall fail they will be received into the eternal tabernacles. He said, “The unrighteous mammon will fail.” You can be sure of that! There will come a time when money will fail. Think of the rich people you have heard about including billionaires. How much did they take with them when they died? It will fail. So use it wisely now so that when it does fail you will be received into the eternal tabernacles. And now this statement of Jesus demands our attention, “… thou canst be no longer steward.” That statement will come to us all; sooner or later it could and will come in various ways and at various times, “…thou canst be no longer steward.” For some it will come in old age.


Many an old preacher has heard this message. There was a time when the phone was constantly ringing; there were sermons to get up and lessons to prepare, calls to be made, people to see and now those demands are no longer there. No one will call and say, “Come, hold me a revival. Come, speak for this event or that.” Infirmity of age will make it impossible to respond to such invitations. The same is true with any other phase of the Master's service. The call will come perhaps gradually, but you will hear it, “Render an account of thy stewardship for thou canst be no longer steward.”

We need to have the proper respect for the aged. After all you have to be a tough old bird to survive to old age. The old of this particular time have had to survive depressions, polio, several wars, accidents, diseases and many dangers too numerous to mention. A great many folk will never make it to old age. They will hear that statement of the Master long before old age. One of the great things for a faithful servant of God in old age will be to look back and remember that when he was young he gave his strength to the Lord's work. He can rejoice and say that he gave it his best shot. Whether you give it your best shot or not, to many in old age the message will come through loud and clear, “Render an account of thy stewardship for thou canst be no longer steward.” Again it may come to some in the area of lost influence.


Almost monthly we hear of some servant of God who has fallen into immorality and is forced out of a particular ministry. Others may be involved in the same problem and never get caught at it. But one way or the other the message is heard, “…thou canst be no longer steward.” There may be repentance, he may be forgiven, he may go to heaven, God’s grace is still there, but his influence is gone. People will always remember. Maybe they shouldn't, but they will and there is no use fighting it. A nail may be pulled out of a board but the scar will always remain. For many of us we get only one chance. It is not three strikes and you are out; it is one strike and you are out of the ball game. Maybe this is as it should be. It teaches us who deal in spiritual things to know that the precious gospel is held in an earthen vessel.

The Devil learned in the Garden of Eden that a woman was his best tool to lead a man from the tree of life. The Devil knows now that a woman is the best tool to lead a man to hell. The Devil knows now that a woman is his best tool to lead a man out of a very successful ministry. Many an elder or other spiritual leader has also heard the message, “…thou canst be no longer steward.” True, he may not be run out of town but his influence is gone because of indifference to his duties or a lifestyle that is not compatible to his position in the Kingdom. Many have heard the message this way. He may have been too deaf to hear it but it was there just the same, “…thou canst be no longer steward.” Then again it comes to some as parents.


The parent only has a limited amount of time to govern their children. By the time they reach eighteen or so they have assumed enough authority of their own that they no longer have to do as the parents say. One man told me that his son is a grandfather and that he would still obey him. That may be the case but one thing for sure he doesn't have to. If he chooses he can do as he pleases. At some moment when the child reaches maturity the message is given. It comes though loud and clear, “…thou canst be no longer steward.” For some parents it comes long before eighteen. I know of some that have no control over their kids at about ten years old. Some evidently never did have any control. From the time the kid was able to go to first grade, influence was transferred from the home to the school. The message was there even though they may have been too deaf to hear, “…thou canst be no longer steward” It comes also in the area of possessions.


Think of all the money you have ever made. Think of all the cars you have ever owned. Think of the house you live in. Think of all the savings you have ever had and all the money you have ever spent. Then ask yourself, “How much of these worldly possessions were given to the service of God?” If we have short-changed God for twenty years it may be next to impossible to ever catch up with what we have spent on the Devil. I cannot vouch for the accuracy of it but I remember reading how the Emperor Charlemagne who when he was buried was not buried in a shroud lying down but sitting on a throne with an open Bible on his lap and his forefinger pointing to the sixteenth chapter of Matthew to the verse, “What shall a man be profited if he shall gain the whole world and forfeit his soul or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” Be it remembered you will hear that message regarding your possessions, “Render an account of thy stewardship for thou canst be no longer steward.” That message will certainly be heard in a time of sickness.


We are always reminded of our mortality at a time of sickness, pain, aches or a germ. At such a time of a triple by-pass or a cancer operation or some other serious sickness, it is easy to make promises to God, “Lord, get me out of this and I will be a better steward.” It is always easier to offer a sick body to the Lord than a well body. If we are well and not a thing wrong with us and the doctor has given us a clean bill of health, we feel confident that we can handle it ourselves. But let a person get down on the flat of his back and then he is reminded that this may be the moment when he will hear, “Render an account of thy stewardship for thou canst be no longer steward.” It will come again most certainly at death.


Most of us feel that death is something that happens to everybody else but us. It may happen to my neighbor but not to me. I remember when as a teenager that I told another young man that I felt as though I would never die. That of course is true. We will always be conscious whether in the body or out of the body, but that is not what I meant. I meant that I had a feeling that death was not for me physically—everybody else, yes, but not for me. This young man said he did not think he was going to die either. He was my best friend at the time. He did die. He was a macho type person and when he was about fifty years old he got into a fight and someone put a thirty-eight close to his chest and pulled the trigger. He died. Perhaps it is natural for young people, as well as old to feel immortal; that feeling was probably put there by the Devil. At least he put it into the mind of Adam and Eve, “Thou shalt not surely die.” But they did. If you have not yet obeyed the terms of pardon you had better give it some thought. It may come any day. The message from the Master may come loud and clear, “Render an account of thy stewardship for thou canst be no longer steward.” Then once more it will come if all else fails at the return of Jesus.


At the return of the Master the news will come, “Render an account of thy stewardship.” Jesus made this prediction about His return, “Who then is the faithful and wise servant whom the Lord hath set over His household to render them their food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his Lord when He cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you He will set him over all that He hath. But if that servant shall say in his heart, my Lord tarrieth and shall begin to beat his fellow servants, the Lord of that servant shall come in a day when he expected not and in an hour when he thinks not and shall cut him asunder. There shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth.”

When the Lord comes, a tally will be made of time, talent, and treasure. “Render an account of thy stewardship for thou canst be no longer steward.”