One important theme in the Bible is stewardship. A simple definition of stewardship is, “the taking care of something.” For example, on an airplane, the job of several people is to practice stewardship over the passengers, and these people who take care of us are called “stewards,” or “stewardesses.” A steward’s most important job in taking care of us on the airplane is to look out for our safety. When it comes to matters of safety, the steward is our boss–if the steward tells us to fasten our seat-belts, we do it!
Stewardship can be broken down into two parts: management of and accountability for something that belongs to someone else. To manage means to control, organize, and make decisions with resources. For example, a shoe store does not open by itself. The manager of the store makes sure that the doors are open, that the store is properly staffed, that employees are trained, that there are enough shoes to sell, that the sign is up outside so that customers will come inside. The manager, however, is accountable to someone else: the owner. Being accountable means being responsible, answering to someone, and then being judged by that someone as to whether we did a good job or not. As a manager, if we fulfill the expectations of the owner, we will receive a reward, and if not, we will receive negative consequences.
So, as managers here on earth, the first thing we need to figure out is who our boss is so we can take instructions from that boss, because the boss has expectations that we will be judged by. We need to know what these expectations are so that we can do the job right. We need to know whose door we need to knock on to say, “I’m here for that management job that I was hired forwhat is it you want me to do, and what are the standards?” The Bible tells us who the ultimate boss is in Colossians 1:15-17: “He is the image of the invisible God, the first-were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”
This means that God is the creator of everything; everything came from Him; He’s the maker of it all. God is our boss–so let’s call His company God Unlimited.
Now that we’ve figured out that God is the boss, what does He expect us to do as managers of God Unlimited? Genesis 2:15 tells us: “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” So, at the beginning of the world, God put Adam into the garden that He had created to tend and to keep it. In fact, God created everything that is on the earth, visible and invisible, and so everything belongs to God. God gave Adam the Garden to take care of the same way your neighbor might ask you to take care of his dog for a week. The dog is your responsibility for that week, but the dog is not yours. When your neighbor returns, you don’t take the dog home with you and keep it, because it is his. So from this example, we can figure out that our boss is God because He made everything and put man on earth to take care of His things, including the Garden and everything in the world we have today.
Because God created us in His own image, we do have the capacity to choose what we will do with God’s things on earth. But really, we have only one choice to make. We can follow God and be obedient to Him, living in His will and allowing Him to live through us by the Holy Spirit, or we can choose not to. Unfortunately, God’s first manager on earth, Adam, was tricked by Satan in the Garden and chose to disobey God. Adam left God Unlimited to go work for Satan’s company– let’s call it Evil Enterprises. Adam and Eve’s sin caused humans to be separated from God and allowed Satan to indwell us. God kicked Satan out and bought us back from The Evil One when He paid the highest price by sacrificing His own Son. 1 Corinthians 7:23 says: “You were bought at a price .” The importance of being bought is that we are owned by someone else. Jesus Christ had to give His life as the price for us at His crucifixion. So, God does own us and is still in control, but we still have the choice to follow Him or not to follow Him.
As the owner of God Unlimited, God us going to hold us accountable for the choices we make while we are on the earth. He will hold us accountable for what we are to tend and keep. Businesses use an accounting sheet to give a quick idea of how the business is doing. On the accounting sheet, there are debts on one side balanced against the credits on the other. A debit is something going out and a credit is something coming in. Let’s put that into real world terms, thinking along the lines of being accountable to our boss God. Debits are sin, and credits are righteousness (the state of not being in sin). Our accountability will affect what our experience will be like after we die. After our life on earth, God is going to review our debits and credits–our sin and our righteousness.
One of the main things that accountants do is to perform audits. During an audit, an accountant comes in and looks at everything in the business. He checks all of the debits and credits and makes sure that no credits have been hidden and that no debits have been made up. The Bible promises that God will do the same thing. Romans 14:12 says: “Each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.” God, as our boss, is our Supreme Auditor in life. After our life on earth is over, He will look at everything that we have done in our lives, and He will look at every single debit and credit that we have. As the Supreme Auditor, He is going to hold us accountable for all of our actions. “For we must all appear and be revealed as we are before the judgement seat of Christ, so that each one may receive his pay according to what he has done in the body, whether good or evil, considering what his purpose and motive have been and what he has achieved, been busy with, and given himself and his attention to accomplishing” (2 Corinthians 5:10).
God lays out our employee handbook in front of us; it’s called the Bible. In it we find the model employee of God Unlimited described in detail. His name is Jesus. Since we get to read about Him in our manual, we do have somebody to copy in our work. Philippians 2:5-8 says, “Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had. Though He was God,He did not deemed and cling to his rights as God. He made himself nothing; He took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form. And in human form, He obediently humbled Himself even further by dying a criminal’s death on a cross.”
Here are some obvious characteristics of our model employee that we want to copy: obedience, humility, loyalty, and a good attitude. Let’s look at these more closely:
Obedience: a servant’s attitude. We do the job no matter what. And we always remember that we’re serving someone else. Yes, we are the bosses in a sense, but we have someone else that we have to answer to–someone else is the supervisor over us. That person is God, of course.
Humility: We are not all prideful about the job we do. Nor do we say, “Oh, we’re doing a great job for ourselves,” and, “Look at me, look at me, look at me.” We simply know, “We’re doing a great job for the glory of our boss,” and, “We’re really pleased to be able to do it for our Boss. This isn’t for my glory, this is for the Big Guy.”
Loyalty: We never jump ship even though there is another company out there. Remember the boss of the other company is Satan. He is constantly approaching us and saying “Hey, why don’t you come work for me? God’s a pretty good company, but He’s not telling you some things I can do for you.” So let’s beware. There’s another company out there, and its boss always tries to trick us to get us to work for him. Our loyal model employee never ever went to work for Satan’s company. He never moonlighted with his company. He never worked for him full-time or part-time. He stayed loyal to the Big Boss, GOD.
A Good Attitude: Our model employee, Jesus, did not once complain about jobs God gave him. He had some pretty tough jobs, didn’t He? He had some pretty tough assignments out there in the field. He had to die on the cross for our sins, even though he didn’t deserve to die; not once did He complain about it, not once!
So those are some good things to remember about our model employee, Jesus. We want to remain obedient to our Boss, we want to show a servant’s attitude, and we are humble in that we are working for our Boss and not for ourselves. We stay loyal and keep working for our Boss, and we do not go to work for the other company. Plus, we do it all with a fantastic attitude about the jobs God gives us. Remember, God gives us some hards jobs. If the model employee had to go to the Cross and die, we can expect that our job too is going to be pretty tough. It’s not easy; there aren’t a bunch of fringe benefits and a free ride. There are going to be some jobs out there that are going to be tough to do, be we must never complain about them (John 6:38).
One other thing to remember about our model employee, Jesus, is that He had a couple of specific parts of His job description that we really don’t have in our job description. He was appointed to do His job by the Boss for some very specific things. Take a quick look: “For I have come down from Heaven not to do my will but to do the will of Him who sent me.” When Jesus came down, God didn’t just say, “Well the world’s kind of gotten into a mess and I don’t know what to do with it. You go try to fix it–make some studies, make some advisory committees and let’s see if we can just committee this thing to death and make the world work out”–that’s not what He did. God sent His agent, Jesus, down to do exactly what He wanted done. He wasn’t to make decisions on His own–not to do what He thought should be done–but only what God had for Him to do. In Hebrews 10:7 Jesus said, “Then look I said, I have come to do your will, oh God. Just as it is written about me in the scriptures.” God sent Jesus down to do His will, and Jesus said, “Yes, Sir. I’ve come to do your will; just give me the word.” Here is more proof that the model employee was obedient, had a servant’s attitude, was quite humble, remained loyal, and He did not complain about any of it.
Okay, now we have a pretty good idea of what’s expected of us as employees and managers in God’s big company. When starting a new job, the most important thing is to train. Of course, it would be very unfair just to bring in a new employee and say, “Get to work. I expect results by the end of the day.” No, new employees don’t know what they’re doing. They don’t know how to operate the equipment. That would be crazy. Every good company has an excellent training program. God’s big company has an excellent training program, too; help us along, and show us the right way to work. Then God is ready to send us out to do our job. We’ve seen the model employee, Jesus, and how He works. And the Holy Spirit is with us to tell us what we’re supposed to do and how we’re supposed to do it. (Look at John 16:8-11).
All right, we’ve got the Holy Spirit–He’s our number one trainer. God doesn’t just overwhelm us with directions on the first day or expects us to memorize the entire employee manual right then. He gives us the Holy Spirit to walk us through day to day as we’re going along in life. The Spirit knows the difference between right and wrong, and that’s His number one job.
He knows and tells us the difference between righteousness and sin. That’s the number one reason God gave us the Holy Spirit to live in us–to show us the difference between righteousness and sin. Remember, if we’re going to be held accountable (debts on the left, credits on the right), we want to have all credits and no debits. For us to know what those credits and debits are, we need someone telling us the difference between right and wrong, and that’s the Holy Spirit’s job. According to John 16:13, “So when the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you in to all truth He guides us, and He will not make up His own rules. This is very important to the work relationship with our Boss, because we know that the Holy Spirit is not going to tell us the wrong thing. He will only take direction from His Boss, God. He speaks by God’s authority only. If we remain obedient in our lives and listen to the Holy Spirit, then we cannot go wrong because He speaks only with God’s permission and authority. If you ever get any kind of message inside your conscience that tells you something that goes against our employee manual, the Bible, then that is not the employee trainer, the Holy Spirit. That is the other boss, Satan, who we should not listen to. He wants to sell us a great song and dance about his company, but there is absolutely no profit in the end. When we listen to our Trainer, He is speaking with God’s authority only, and we cannot go wrong that way (Romans 5:5).
The Boss has given us the Holy Spirit to train us well because He loves us; He is concerned about our well-being and about what is best for us. Because He really does love us, He gives us such an excellent trainer. Now, look at what we are going to be able to do in our job. Our trainer is so good that He is going to train us in the ways of our Boss, God. And we’re going to be able to accept the love that God has for us because we’re so well trained. God is love, and the Holy Spirit is God.
So, since the Holy Spirit is inside us living out His life through us, WE ARE LOVE. We are like lightning-rods for God’s love going through us. He loves us so much that He joins the Holy Spirit (which is Himself) to our spirits so that we can become love! (Romans 8:14, 16-26). The Holy Spirit, the Trainer, stays inside us and speaks to us deep inside our hearts; He does not go away, He stays connected with our spirit. He is constantly telling us the difference between right and wrong. He shows His love to us by continuing to tell us the difference between right and wrong (Romans 8:26). Sometimes we’re going along in our job and we hit a road block, but our Trainer stays with us, Our understanding is limited, but The Trainer will guide us, He will start to work things out through us. He will always be there in the most difficult times in our job, in the toughest parts of our job description, As you can see, God has given us everything we need to do a great job in His company: the Holy Spirit as our Trainer, Jesus as our model to follow, and the Bible as our employee handbook.