Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
When someone places his possessions under a caretaker or steward, it is because of necessity or convenience. The person cannot take care of everything by himself, or maybe he doesn’t want to be bothered. But in the case of our Lord, it is quite different. The Lord God appoints men as caretakers of His stuff not because of necessity or bother, but because of pure grace and mercy.
Nothing in this world is really ours. Everything we have belongs to the Lord, and He entrusts it to us for a time, given into our care so that we would use it in thanksgiving according to our needs, or distribute it to our fellow servants according to their needs. It is not good stewardship to misuse the stuff of the earth or to hoard it, to vandalize or waste it. Gluttony is a sin as sure as sloth. We must render an account of our stewardship when Lord comes. Who has been a faithful caretaker? Who has never eaten when he was full? Who has never withheld his surplus from his neighbor? Repent.
Stop your envy and jealousy. Stop your greed and covetousness. Stop judging the stewardship of others. A tractor is not worth its price to me. But I am certain I spend more on books than most of you would, and maybe that would seem wasteful to you. How we spend God’s money is our stewardship. Each family is different, deriving a different amount of pleasure or use out of different things. But don’t make rules for everyone else where the Scriptures have left us free. Exercise stewardship according to your own situation and wisdom. Be humble and modest as one who has failed again and again to be a good steward. Repent.
The Lord does not condone thievery. The unjust steward in the parable was a bad steward. He wasted the master’s stuff. That is a form of theft. Employees who do not work a full hour steal from employers who pay by the hour. Workers who waste material are guilty of stealing. Scripture condemns this. But Our Lord condones and even praises the injustice of stewardship in the parable when the once-wasteful steward now gives away the goods, where he cancels debts owed to his master.
So if Our Lord does not condone thievery, what is He condoning? He is condoning grace. The King of Heaven is not like the rulers of the earth. He does not give us stewardship because He is too busy to take care of it or because He finds it a bother, but because He is gracious and merciful. He gives us a part in His kingdom. He gives it for our joy. And His Kingdom does not run on the economies of men, but the economy of grace. He loves to give away His Kingdom. He is a vineyard owner who pays those who work one hour as though they worked all day. He is a shepherd who has found a lost sheep and shows his joy by throwing a banquet that costs more than the sheep. He is a landowner who sends His Son for the workers to kill so that He might hand over to them the inheritance of His murdered Son.
This is grace. He gives us for free what we do not deserve and could never earn. He gives us His Kingdom, His name, His love. He says to those who squandered their lives, those who are not good or faithful, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” God is merciful; He paid your debt in the death of His Son. He is not angry. He loves and delights in you.
Now the risen Lord, in perfect stewardship, pours out His lifeblood for you, His body and blood to eat and drink to cancel all sin, shame, and guilt. He is not wasteful, yet the cup overflows. He gives more than you need. He is not wasteful; He is extravagant in His generosity. You don’t just eat to live; you feast. You revel in the gifts the Lord bestows. In the name of the Father and of the Son (†) and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The peace of God which passes all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus always. Amen.