In our series on Biblical Principles of Stewardship, we have defined a steward and discused the responsibilities, disciplines, and hindrances to Biblical Stewardship. If you have missed any of them, I highly recommend going back and catching up as they are foundational to today’s lesson.
Today, we will talk about The Urgency of Stewardship.
Why the urgency?
Urgency means the condition of being urgent: of pressing importance. the definition for urgent is compelling immediate action: PRESSING.
1 Corinthians 7:29a “But this I say brethren, the time is short”
Psalm 89: 47- “Remember how short my time is: wherefore hast thou made all men in vain?”
James 4:14- “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.
Psalm 39:4-5 – “Lord, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am. Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah
We also do not know when the Master will return.
Matthew 24:36- But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
If you look around today, we are in a state of definite uneasiness and disarray. On the wake of the election, we could be facing the largest political disaster ever known to the United States and yet we go about as if nothing has changed.
Have you ever heard of normalcy bias?
Normalcy bias is a mental state that stops people from taking seriously the possibility of a crisis that is outside their normal day to day experience. When people are faced with radical change or a traumatic event they will continue on as if things are “normal”.
The opposite of normalcy bias is situational awareness. Situational awareness is being aware of what is happening around you to understand how information, events, and your own actions will impact the world around you, and taking action on this information.
In all of this, we have two choices just like the people in the parables we have been studying.
- Ready vs. Not ready
- Prepared vs. unprepared
- wise vs. foolish
- Situational Awareness vs. normalcy bias
Let’s re-read the parables:
Matthew 24:45-50- “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, that he shall make him ruler over all his goods. But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellowservants and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,”
Mat 25:1-13 –  Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.  And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.  They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:  But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.  While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.  And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.  Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.  And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.  But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.  And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.  Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.  But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.  Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
Mat 25:14-30 –  For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.  And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.  Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.  And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.  But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.  After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.  And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.  His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.  He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.  His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.  Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:  And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.  His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:  Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.  Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.  For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.  And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
The characters in the parables Jesus was teaching to the disciples who were practicing normalcy bias were the evil servant, the unprepared virgins, and the servant given one talent. They just went on, like any other day. How often do we live like this? We say we believe that Christ will return, but we live the same day after day, as if that day will never come?
How should we live differently? We need to practice situational awareness.
- Be watchful! We need to look and observe attentively and carefully.
- Be alert! We need to be vigilant and never let our guard down.
- Be prepared! Being prepared is a response of faith. We need to make ready in advance for the return of Christ.
- Walk wisely!
- Redeem the time!
Being a prepared servant will look differently for each of us. It’s like packing for a trip. I may pack different items for my family and I than you would. That doesn’t make me any more or less prepared, but the key to prepared packing is to know the purpose and plan for your trip.
How do we prepare for the Master’s return?
We must know our purpose and the plan God has for us!
What has God called you to do? Are you doing it well, preparing for His return?
What can you do to practice spiritual situational awareness?
Blessings today as you strive for Biblical Stewardship!