The End of Stewardship

Luke 16:1–2 “There was a certain rich man who had a manager, and this manager was reported to him as squandering his possessions. And he called him and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an accounting of your management, for you can no longer be manager.’ ”

Observation: There is much to consider in this story of the steward (manager) called to account by the owner of the property. Rather than looking at the whole story in detail, I will consider just two of its premises. The first is that the rich man, the owner, had every right to call the steward to account for what he had done with the owner’s possessions. And notice further that the end of stewardship had already been determined before the account was ordered. It made no difference if many years had passed since the steward and owner had last met; indeed, they may never have met. But the owner’s absenteeism gives the steward no greater latitude to be profligate than if the men had been fast friends. A second premise is that it was always the owner’s prerogative as to when the steward’s responsibilities would come to an end. Stewards serve at the pleasure of owners, not at their own. The steward’s preferences in the matter are not determinative; the decision belongs alone to the owner.

Application: These are sobering thoughts indeed. How easy it is for me to go through life forgetting that I am but a tenant, a temporary user of all God has entrusted to me. Even what I deem to be mine by the sweat of my labor is in my hands only temporarily, as each breath I draw is by His pleasure. It will end in a heartbeat. In an eye’s quick twinkling I will find myself standing before the Creator and owner of all I once treated as my own as He asks for an accounting. Every decision, every act or omission, every thought, will be reviewed before the One who gave life and all that I enjoy.

My eternal destiny is set as the final credits roll by—not destiny as in the sense of salvation. That will have been settled earlier by my response to the claims of Christ while still living. What the accounting reveals can have no impact upon my earlier response to Him. Instead, what will be determined is my destiny insofar as the eternal rewards of His pleasure or disappointment are concerned. I have a screensaver that reminds me each day, “The wealth of a man is determined not by how much he has, but by how little he needs.” In the hands of a wise steward, little becomes much. At the end of the age, a life lived with the owner always uppermost in my thoughts will result in a ringing, “Well done!”

Prayer: Father, keep me mindful of You at all times. Let my every thought, every deed, reflect Your ownership of my life.

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