“Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.” 1 Corinthians 4:2
I always wondered why the Bible says that. Why is faithfulness the one thing that is explicitly listed as a requirement for “servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God” (1 Corinthians 4:1). Why not love? Or patience? Or kindness? Why not the ability to recite all the books of the Bible in order or memorize the most verses? WHY FAITHFUL???
The key to this passage is understanding what a steward is – someone who was given something and asked to take care of it. If you read the rest of the chapter, St. Paul makes it clear that he doesn’t think highly of himself or what he has accomplished. He says that we are just stewards – not people who accomplished a lot, but people who received a lot. In other words, all of us are just like little orphan Annie – we got lucky and hit the jackpot when God adopted us into His family.
But as a member of His family, there are certain expectations. And those expectations center around faithfulness. What must I do to remain in good standing in the house of our heavenly Big Daddy Warbucks? I must do whatever I am asked to do.
And what you are asked to do might be considerably different than what others are asked to do. A father who has many children gives chores to each one. He doesn’t give them all the same chore – He divides the chores up amongst the many children so that all the work gets done. If you had 6 children, would you ask each one to wash the dishes every day? Or would you divide up the work so that each is doing something different?
So how do I know what God expects of me? One way to figure out what God expects of me is to take a look at what God has given me. The “chores” God is expecting from you can be figured out by looking at the tools God has given you.
One child is given a mop and the other child a sponge and both sent to the kitchen to clean. Given the tools provided, do you think that the father is expecting the same results from both children? Or maybe one child gets a mop and the other child a lawnmower – any chance the two end up with the same results?
Our problem is that we often focus on the tools God has given to others. We compare what we have with what others have. We look outside to what others have done and measure ourselves against them. That’s a big no-no and will get you into trouble.
“But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by a human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I know of nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 4:3-4
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in all my years of serving God, it’s this: EVERYONE IS UNIQUE. You have a unique set of talents and tools that I don’t have and that no one else in the whole wide world has. Stop comparing or measuring yourself against others. Stop looking to what others have and instead look to what God has given you. God won’t hold you accountable to the mission He has given to others, but rather to the mission He has given to you.
So with that said, remember this:
1) What others think about you is meaningless – who cares what the other orphans think. They don’t know what I’ve been given and they don’t know what the Master is expecting of me.
2) What I think about myself is also meaningless – I am not saying that we should have low self-esteem or think lowly of ourselves, but I am saying that my measure should not be meeting my own expectations/goal, but rather God’s expectations/goals for my life.
3) How we compare to others is meaningless as well – all that matters is faithfulness to the mission God has put in front of me.
Remember, you are just a steward – the only thing you have is what you’ve been given. You didn’t earn any of it or do anything to deserve it. You just got lucky and hit the jackpot when God chose you to be part of His family.
For discussion: where are substituting your expectations in place of HIS expectations for your life?