Dying to Self: Whole Life Stewardship
Dying to self and living under the Lordship of Christ is foundational for Christian discipleship. We can explore these foundational truths by exploring the following;
- The Cost of Discipleship
- Dying To Self
- Whole Life Stewardship
- The Lordship of Jesus Christ
One of the most important truths we learn after becoming Jesus’ disciples is that the Lord God Almighty is the actual owner of everything.
The Bible says that He created everything we can and cannot see (Genesis 1). Everything belongs to Him; He made everything for His glory. And God gives it to human beings to take care of it, to use it, and to help those who are in need by sharing it.
Before our salvation, we lived and acted as if we were the owners of everything we possessed. Since our eyes were blinded by Satan, we did not have eternal perspectives or vision. Our ambition was to get wealthy on earth; our god was money. When we came to Jesus and decided to become His disciples, we understood that we cannot serve two masters, we cannot serve both God and money (Matthew 6:19-24). We had to train our greedy eyes away from storing up on earth and turn them towards eternal treasures. Paul himself prays that the eyes of our understanding may be enlightened to see the things that others cannot see (Ephesians 1:15-23).
Who Is a Steward?
A steward is someone who is entrusted with the money/wealth/property of someone else. He manages it according to the instruction of the master. The steward is not the owner of the property. His responsibility is to take care of it and to be accountable to the master. Eliezer, the servant of Abraham, is one of the biblical examples of a steward (Genesis 15:1-3; Genesis 24:1-67).
As disciples of Jesus Christ who have already died to self, we understand that our lives do not belong to us. Being a disciple means that we surrender our lives to the Lord Jesus Christ and that we are not the owners of anything we possess.
The first-century Christians understood this fact very clearly. We read in the book of Acts 2:44-45, “Those who believed had everything in common; they sold their possessions and goods and divided them among all as anyone had needed.” As disciples of Jesus, the need to give our time, abilities, and material possessions to others when the Lord directs us is very important. This is based on our conviction that these are gifts from God to be used in His service for the benefit of all mankind, in grateful acknowledgment of our master, Jesus Christ. “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms” (1 Peter 4:10).
A true steward is someone who has a zeal for the master, has no fear, has complete trust in the master, and is a hard worker, working day and night for the master.
We need to be faithful to God for the possessions He has entrusted to us
God made us stewards of His creation. He created this earth and everything in it for human beings; He made Adam and Eve and gave all that He created to their care. Therefore, as the children of Adam, we are the people who should take care of this earth and everything in it. “Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful” (1 Corinthians 4:2).
Giving an Account of Everything We Possess
As stewards, we need to give an account to God for everything that He has given to us. We are not permitted to do whatever we want to do with what God has given us; we are accountable for the time He has given us to live on the face of the earth. On the day of final judgment, we will give an account to God for our talents, family, money, houses, land, opportunities—everything He gave us (Revelation 20:11-12).
We must ask whether God will be pleased with our stewardship or with the way that we have spent His possessions. Will God be pleased that His stewards all too often choose to fulfill their own wishes rather than to fulfill His mission? It is important to give ownership of all possessions to God. Then, it is easy to manage His possessions in a way that is pleasing to Him, in accordance with His principles (1 Peter 4:10).
The Example of the Unjust Steward
Luke 16:1-13 is a parable Jesus used to explain the duty of a steward. Here we see that His investment strategy is the exact opposite of what we see in society today. Most people use other people’s money to make money for themselves. God tells us to use our money to impact people’s lives (Luke 16:9). Not only that, Jesus makes it clear that money is a test to see if we can be trusted with true riches (Luke 16:10-11). From God’s perspective, our first and top desire should be life change (true riches). If that is true, then the question becomes, “can God trust us with the lives He is going to change?” How we use our money will determine how that question is answered. Although the steward in the parable is at first unjust, Jesus finally praises him because he used his position as a steward to make friends. Jesus asks His disciples to use the wealth that we have to make friends and help others. This is an eye-opener to all of us—whatever God gave us is to be used for making eternal rewards. A careful study of this passage will also teach us that how we use our wealth is proof of our commitment to the real master in our lives, whether it be God or money.
The Parable of Talents
In Matthew 25:14-30, Jesus tells the parable of the talents. He starts with the sentence that the Kingdom of Heaven is like a man traveling to a far country. He called three of his servants and gave them five, two, and one talent respectively; a talent was a huge amount in those days. The servants were to go and create businesses with their talents so as to make a profit for the master.
In this parable, Jesus differentiates between two types of servants—one is faithful and another is slothful. In verse 21, Jesus says to the servant who made a profitable business with the talents, “Well done, you are a good servant, you are a faithful servant, you were faithful over a few things and I will make you rule over everything and finally enter into the joy of your Lord.”
In verse 26, Jesus rebukes the other servant who did not use his talent well. “You wicked and lazy servant, your talent will be taken from you, you are an unprofitable servant. You are to be cast into outer darkness.” The true stewards are traders of the wealth of the master to make a profit for the master.
The Fullness of Life
Christ wants us to live meaningful, satisfying lives. This joy and satisfaction will be available only if our master tells us, “well done, good and faithful servant” at the end of our lives. Godly men and women throughout the centuries made it a point to fully obey God whenever they received an order from Him. Because of this, their lives brought them joy and satisfaction as they walked in step with their Lord.
Jesus is the best example of a person who lived the fullness of life. Although He struggled with it, He was ultimately satisfied with His purpose in coming to earth because of His love for the Father. Just before His death, Jesus gave a final report of His whole life to the Father who sent Him to earth and how He had obeyed Him (John 17). The only way to live our life to its fullest is by living it out for the glory of God as Jesus did.
We live in a world of deception. Mathew 4 gives us a glimpse of how Jesus was tempted to live life to gain more wealth, become more famous, and be concerned about daily, material needs. We as His disciples also face similar temptations so that our attention will be diverted from fulfilling His call in our lives to how to gain material wealth and fame. We should overcome such temptation by following the example of Jesus.
John 15 is the best picture Jesus gave as to how we can find fulfillment in life—by abiding in Jesus. Without Him, we can do nothing that will produce fruit that will last. The branch can never bear fruit without receiving the life that flows from the vine; likewise, it is Jesus living in us that transforms our existence to be rewarding and fruitful.
Paul admonishes us to keep in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-26) If Jesus our master was led by the Holy Spirit on a daily basis, how much more do we need to hear and obey the Spirit?
This is only possible by the renewal of our minds (Romans 12:1-2). When we have the mind of Christ, we will not be conformed to this world and its desires—instead, we will be transformed. This will enable us to do the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God. If our minds are not renewed and do not become in tune with the mind of Christ, our bodies will not be holy or acceptable to God; they will cease to become living sacrifices to Him.
Global Disciples Canada is a Christian mission organization that trains local leaders living near least-reached communities to multiply disciples for Christ. One-third of our world hasn’t heard the Good News of Jesus. Yet. Global Disciples refers to these as “least-reached” people, and fewer than 10% of all missionaries work among these groups. We live in a time where many of these people are within reach of a local church. Through our simple and effective strategy of training and coaching, believers share the Gospel in their own nations and cultures. Jesus said, “Go and make disciples of all nations,” and we’re committed to doing just that. If you are looking for a Christian mission organization to partner with to become a better disciple and help make disciples, connect with us today!
Hungry for God’s Word
A Rwandan Pastor's testimony of reaching a community with little representation of the Gospel and how a new church was started in that area with 90 people accepting Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
Seeing Lives Changed
Discover the transformative power of God through inspiring stories of radical change and renewed sense of purpose in the lives of people in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Get Moving: How Small Business Can Support Sustainable Ministry
Discover how small businesses can be a key to sustainable ministry and reaching people with the Gospel especially those in the least reached areas of the world.
Impact your inbox
"*" indicates required fields
Give monthly, reach the world.
Join our community of monthly donors bringing the hope of Jesus to least-reached people groups around the world.