By Irven Lee
We have many things that we may use as tools in the service to God. We do not buy heaven or earn its glories, but each will be judged according to the deeds done in his body. Only good stewards of God’s blessings will receive God’s great gift of eternal life. No man will be lost because of neglect on the part of the Father, Son, or Holy Spirit, but many will be lost because of their own neglect of the great salvation.
A great contribution is made to our peace of mind and genuine happiness by wise and unselfish use of the tools and blessings that God places at our disposal. We cannot enrich the lives of others without being blessed ourselves. God has promised to openly reward those who learn to share and serve. God is not served by men’s hands as though He needed anything, but He is pleased as we make acceptable sacrifices in service to our fellow man. When we work with God, it is in an effort to make a better world for ourselves and others.
He that would be great is to be servant of all, but when he uses the things given to him by the Father above, he is left with no room to boast. He has only done his duty. It is required of stewards that they be faithful in the use of the things committed unto them. Let there be less thought given to receiving the proper praise and credit, and more thought given to the many things we need to do to the glory of God. Men may see our good works and glorify God. We seek not position, pay, or praise when we realize that we are servants of God purchased by the blood of Christ.
So often men complain of their inability to do great things so they bury their one talent. Life is made up of little words and small deeds, but great things may come of the cup of cold water given or by the word fitly spoken. Let us fill the moments of time with the little things that please God, and let the great goal be reached by always abounding in the work of the Lord that we can do. Servants generally busy themselves with small tasks that do not make head lines. Be good servants. Be faithful stewards. This is done by meeting and accepting opportunities that come our way. There is room for the small things that we can do.
Some about us who profess to be Christians do not carry their part of the load and do not live as they should. They will give account to God for their own failures. We cannot please God by pointing to their failures while we do nothing ourselves. We cannot go to heaven by the sins of others. We have sins enough of our own in duties we overlook. Each servant stands or falls before his own Master, and neither of us has been appointed judge. Let us busy our hands and minds with our own responsibilities. There may be times when we may provoke others to love and good works. We are allowed to think of others with the idea of helping them, but not for the purpose of excusing ourselves by their weaknesses.
Christ is head of His church and in charge of His vineyard. Faithful servants carry out orders rather than seeking to rearrange and change the plans of the Master. Some may report that they have done great things only to hear that they were workers of iniquity. Calling a work a good work will not make it acceptable to God if He did not authorize it. Very much thought and concern should be given to staying within the doctrine of Christ in whatever we undertake. The steward does not own the property which is given into his charge, and he is not free to use it except as directed. Many religious people are evidently very busy supporting and upholding the doctrines of men rather than the doctrine of God. Let the owner of the house plan the work. We busy ourselves carrying out His plans.
In God’s house there are many who are workers together with God. A man is a poor example as a steward or servant if he cannot work with the other servants peacefully. Industry is forced to let some workers go because they cannot get along with their fellows. The Lord delights in those who are peace makers rather than in those who sow discord. Let us be busy and happy workers who enjoy the fellowship with other workers in the vineyard. Work becomes a great pleasure when there is happiness among all who are involved in the tasks at hand.
The Lord has planned for there to be overseers in each church. They are shepherds who work under the chief Shepherd and at His direction. Many of the things that the Lord wants done may be done quietly by the individual workers without the left hand knowing what the right hand does, but there are things to be done together. We need to be able to follow the scriptural leaders in such a way that their work will be a joy. They watch for our souls as they that must give account. They are not out of place when they in wisdom and kindness offer their counsel to us or to our children. In fact, we may exhort one another, or even reprove and rebuke, if we remember to do so with reverence and godly fear. In any work men may learn from one another. The church may edify itself in love and all grow stronger. We are to be able to take suggestions as well as to give them.
When we speak of the various topics discussed in the Bible we may call it preaching. To keep the servants zealous and informed as to the work to be done, there should be some servants who instruct, correct, warn, encourage, and seek to enlist new workers in public and private efforts. Paul’s work as a steward of God was especially in this field. This is a great work. Evangelists are not the only teachers. The giving of proper instructions is an important aspect of God’s plan. It calls for our coming together often. None should feel that his private efforts excuse him from the public gatherings. It is true that the private efforts are important, but they are not likely to continue if the workers neglect the assembling of themselves together. God knows we need to exhort one another because there is danger from the deceitfulness of sin. We honor God and edify one another when we do the things commanded in the assemblies. A good steward in God’s work is not a lone wolf.
We are to lift up our eyes and look on the fields that are white unto harvest. The Lord wants laborers in His vineyard. Some complain that they are never given anything to do. They are bored by not having anything to do as perhaps preachers or other members of the church have. This is ridiculous! When they lift up their eyes and look, can they not see a white harvest ready for workers? Find something to do that needs doing and do it with your might. If you will look and then work, you will see more and more to do. Be faithful stewards. Do not be too blind to see the many things that need to be done.
Carpenters work with wood. Masons work with brick and stone. These materials are lifeless, and they do not fight back. The servants of the Lord do many things, but their great work is with people, and this requires patience, wisdom, love, self-control, knowledge, and any other legitimate tool. Two people are not as much alike as two bricks or two boards, so some efforts may bring surprises for which we are not prepared. We may have to pray, study, and make many efforts before finally seeing another living stone added to the temple of God. W e may need to become all things to all men that we may by all means save some. Let all things be done decently and in order.
Truth Magazine XXII: 47, pp. 761-762
November 30, 1978