Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The parable of the Stewards: The Defense of the Evil Steward

Read the passage at hand, Matthew 25:24-28.  At first one might be inclined to see the validity of the bad servant’s argument.  His lord even partly acknowledged such when he said, "you knew that I reap where I have not scattered seed"

Yet such acknowledgment does not free him of his response - abilities (see yesterday’s post).  This steward’s defense is even more trouble for him as it shows the condition of his heart toward his lord.  "I knew you to be a hard man..."

As steward over another's property, shouldn't you know the man?  Shouldn't you love the man?  It is predisposed that the man knew him, at least well enough to entrust a year’s wages to him...  Else why would he trust that you would make good decisions over his property?

It is his property after all...

Personal challenge: Is your disposition toward the Lord hard?

Verse 26 reveals to us the true disposition of the bad steward, "You wicked and lazy servant"   And before anyone complains that his lord is not just in his judgment, recall our key verse, 15 which says, "to each according to his own ability"

This steward did not have a leg to stand on.  Verse 27 tells us that doing as little as depositing the money in a bank would have been enough. 

But what kept him from that?  Only the steward’s hard heart toward his lord.

This begins to get into some deep waters but ought to be dealt with.  In studying the Immutability of the Lord a few years ago, I realized something of how He responds to men. And it is the hard cases particularly which taught me this.

In particular how the Lord relented from his judgment on the Ninevites when they repented of their sin.  Jonah knew this about God - and complained about it in Jonah 4:1-2. 

How could God go back upon His Word and still be true to his character, immutable in his ways?  Yet it is not God who is doing the changing.  Recall some of the verse which declare this, Heb 13:8, Malachi 3:6, and Numbers 23:19 to name a few. 

And Numbers 23:19 is particular in this, "God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?"   Here we see that God's immutability is placed side by side with man's changeability.  It is man who changes.  And God's disposition moves reflexively, as the man changes, He changes in line with His character towards the man. 

(As an aside, this is a beautiful reminder that God DOES want the sinner to change and will condescend to him, if he will but come...)

This steward WAS lazy and stubborn.  Unwilling to do the smallest task for his lord - all because he does not really know the man or love him.   Tomorrow Lord willing, I will try to point out some principles we ought to derive from this parable and some action we can take.   Amen

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