Sermon 2440. Faithful Stewardship
INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD'S DAY, NOVEMBER 24, 1895.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON THURSDAY EVENING, APRIL 14, 1887.
"Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful." 1 Corinthians 4:2.
IT is well that our dear Brothers and Sisters should make a right account of us. Paul says, in the verse preceding our text,"Let a man so think of us," for there are some who make a wrong reckoning as to the ministers of the Gospel. Some go to anextreme, for they glory in men. One glories in Paul, who is so deep in doctrine, another in Cephas, who is so energetic andplainspoken, another in Apollos, who is so exceedingly eloquent and mighty in the Scriptures. But Paul says, in the latterverses of the third chapter, "Let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or theworld, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; and you are Christ's; and Christ is God's."You do not belong to your ministers, you must not put yourselves down as followers of them-you belong to Christ and Christ,Himself-and all His ministers belong to you.
But while some erred in thinking too much of their ministers, as no doubt they still do-God deliver them from such a delusion-therewere, no doubt, others who erred in not thinking enough of them, not appreciating their position and condition so as to sympathizewith them and pray for them. Had they known to what a responsible office they were called and what was required at their hands,they would lovingly have borne them upon their hearts, and gone with their names to the Mercy Seat in continual prayer. Hence,it is very important that men should so think of us as to judge us correctly, so that while they do not rely upon us in anywrong sense, they may, at the same time, feel an affectionate sympathy with us and constantly bear us up before the Throneof Grace.
Paul goes on to tell us how we ought to think of the ministers of Christ. The word should be, "servants," of Christ. Thereis a great respectability about the word, "minister," which really does not belong to it, for, if you take it to pieces, itmeans an under-rower, one of those men who had to take an oar on the lowest benches of the slave ships. There were three benchesfor the rowers and it was a hard task for all who were at the oars-but to the under-rowers, who had to bend to their workin the most trying position as they sent the galley flying through the water, it was stern toil, indeed! Now, God's ministers,if they act as they should, are under-rowers of Christ. They are tugging away at a very heavy oar and they may well ask youto pray that as they use up their strength, fresh force may be imparted to them from the God of All Power, that they may notlabor in vain, nor spend their strength for nothing!
We ask men, therefore, to think of us as servants, not as masters. The word, "bishop," has come to have a wonderful significanceabout it which is not in the least degree Scriptural. We are simply to be shepherds of the sheep-and a shepherd is no greatlord. He is the servant of all the sheep and though he leads them, it is by going first, taking the brunt of all that comes,and finding out the best places for them to feed and to rest. Let a man so think of us as servants, but not merely as servantsto the Church, certainly not as servants to men, but as servants of Christ! That is our honor as ministers-we serve the LordJesus Christ-the best of Masters! But, as He deserves to have the best of servants, the responsibility of the position weighsdown the honor attached to it. Oh, if they who serve men should serve them faithfully, how much more should they be foundfaithful who are the servants of Christ!
Then the Apostle adds that men are to think of us as stewards. And it is about that office that I am going to speak to you-"Itis required in stewards, that a man be found faithful." Although my text, no doubt, refers, in the first place, to those wholabor in word and doctrine, to whom it is a life's vocation, yet all the people of God are stewards, and each child of God,in his own way and in his own place, should reckon that whatever gift he has should be used for the Lord Jesus
Christ, and laid out for Him. And he should also remember that he is made one of the Lord's stewards and that it is requiredof him that he be found faithful. And I may even add that every unconverted man has a stewardship to fulfill. As God's creature,he is bound to be God's servant-and at the Last Great Day he will have to give an account of every opportunity and capacityfor service which God has given to him! And woe unto him if he is found an unfaithful steward in the day of his Lord's reckoning!
If I should seem to speak rather more about ministers than about anybody else, I will ask you kindly to pick out all thatbelongs to yourselves, you who are private Christians, and you who are not Christians at all. I pray the Lord to make useof what I say to myself and then to you who are His people-and to those, also, who are not His people-that they may be prickedto the heart and made to feel how ungenerously they have acted towards the great Lord of the house. To begin, then, I willfirst ask-how are we stewards? Secondly, if stewards, how are we to behave? Next, how are we in danger of misbehaving? And,lastly, what will be the result of right behavior or of misbehavior in those who are stewards?
I. First, then, HOW ARE WE STEWARDS?
Well, God's ministers are stewards, first, as appointed to look after other servants. You know, dear Friend, if you are aservant, you have enough to do to mind your own work. But if you happen to be an upper servant, such as a steward is, youhave not only your own work to mind, but it is a part of your own work to look after the work of other people. There are somewho are so foolish that they look only at the honor of this position, whereas, if they were wise, they would look more atthe responsibility of it. Brothers and Sisters, if I had my choice, I would rather look after a horse than look after a man!The second is much the more difficult animal to manage! And to look after many men-oh, this is, indeed, a difficult task!
I had an old friend, who was, for 40 years, a shepherd, and after that he became a minister-and he lived to be 40 years ashepherd in a spiritual sense. I asked him, once, "Which was the easier flock to manage?" "Oh!," he replied, "the second flockof sheep was a deal more sheepish than the first." I understood what he meant. They say that sheep have as many diseases asthere are days in the year. Yes, but men have as many complaints as there are minutes in the year! It is not long that theyare free from one malady or another! I mean, men and women-all those that belong to the spiritual flock of which the ministeris the shepherd-there is a certain form of trouble arising out of each one. True, there is a certain amount of comfort andjoy arising out of every Christian, but there is a measure of difficulty that must come to the steward from everyone of hisfellow servants. It is by no means a position which any man who understands it might desire for himself! The real stewardis one who has been appointed to the position-and if he is not appointed, why, he has no right to be a steward at all! Itis the great Master of the house who calls this one or that one to look after the other servants-and it is from this callingthat he has the right to interfere in any respect with them.
Next, notice that the servants of God-whether called ministers or not-those who are really so, are stewards because they areunder the Master's near command. An ordinary servant in God's house may take his orders from the steward, but the stewardtakes no orders from anybody but the Master and, therefore, he is in an evil case and the household is in an evil case, too,if he does not often resort to the Master-if he does not distinctly recognize his position as an underling of his Master-andif he does not so keep up his daily fellowship with the Master that he, himself, knows the Master's mind and is able to communicateit to his fellow servants.
There are many of you, dear Friends, who have around you your children, your servants, your fellow workers. Well, in thatrespect, you are a steward to them-they have to do a good deal that you tell them. Then do, I pray you-and I speak this tomyself as well as to you-let us wait upon the Master! Let us come forth to speak to our fellow servants, not our own words,but the words of Him who is Master and Lord to the whole household! How beautifully Jesus, the greatest of all stewards, didthis! How constantly He said, "The words that I speak unto you I speak not of Myself: but the Father that dwells in Me, Hedoes the works." He was always referring those who were His brethren back to the great Head of the family-and He did not speakwithout His Father's authority. Having taken up the position of a subordinate in order to work out our redemption, He continuallydeclared that He was His Father's servant.
It is an ill day for us when we begin to think that our thoughts are to be given out in the house instead of the Master'sthoughts! It is not for us to deliver our own speculations, but to go straight away to the Word of God and, by the teachingof the indwelling Spirit, to come forth to the people with what we have received-not what we have invented!
You shall find no power, my Brothers and Sisters, in doing Christian work unless you keep on doing it as receiving your missionand commission from the great Lord of All!
I recollect how McCheyne says, "It is God's Word that saves, not our comment on God's Word." And I am sure that it is so.It is God at the back of the steward who blesses all in the household. But when the steward does not go to the Master andget his orders from Him, he soon puts everything into confusion. He loses his own standing and he is apt to do desperate mischiefto all who are round about him.
Then, the true steward is called upon to give an account-and if he does it often, so much the better! I am persuaded that,in the things of God as well as between man and man, "short reckonings make long friends," and if we will often go to ourMaster with our service and present it to Him, and overhaul it under His Divine Guidance, confessing our shortcomings andblessing Him for every particle of success that has attended it, we shall do much better than if we go on for a long stretchwithout a reference to Him. Brothers and Sisters, you who are teaching your classes of boys or girls, bring your Sunday workto the Lord at the end of the Sabbath! And when we have finished a sermon, those of us who stand up to preach, let us notbe satisfied until we have brought that piece of our work under our Master's eyes. I am sure that if the steward can get tothe side of his Master every evening, or every morning say to Him, "We did such and such yesterday, and there is such andsuch which we propose to do today," that is the way for the house to be well-ordered! Things go right when there is no absenteelandlord, but when the great Master is always close at hand and the steward constantly goes to Him with an account of allhis work!
Oh, Brothers and Sisters, let us constantly do this! We do not live near enough to God, do we? I know that some of you waitupon Him day and night and you abide under the shadow of the Almighty, but I fear that there are some workers who forget todo this. We should work with the hands of Martha, but yet keep near the Master with the heart of Mary! We need a combinationof activity and meditation. When we get that-when we inwardly retire for consultation with our Lord and then come out activelyto labor for our Lord-then shall we be good stewards in the little part of the great house with which He has entrusted us.
Further, a steward is a man who is put in trust with his master's goods. This is the main point of his stewardship- nothingis his own-it is all his master's. When he begins to open an account of his own, it is wonderful how apt he is to mistakewhat is his master's and to call it his own and, by-and-by, he gets into a muddle and cannot distinguish his master's accountsfrom his own. Oh, it is a glorious thing when you have not any, "own"-when you do not live for yourself at all, but whollyfor Christ! Then you will not make any blunders! There will not be any of Christ's property getting into your cash account,so that you will have a difficulty in disentangling it. "No man that wars entangles himself with the affairs of this life,"for he can say-
"'Tis done, the great transaction's done, I am my Lord's,"
"and all the business I have here below is His. I have no sub-ends or secondary objectives, but all I have and am is for Him."Then it is easy to keep our accounts and to make no mistakes in them.
The true steward is put in trust with his master's property, first, to protect it. Oh, with what earnestness ought we to guardthe Gospel of Christ! With what holy valor ought we to contend earnestly for the faith once and for all delivered to the saints!"Hold fast the form of sound words," wrote Paul to Timothy-not only the words, but the particular form of them which the Apostlehad delivered! Not merely sound doctrine, but the very words in which those doctrines had been made to take shape! The truesteward is to defend his master's treasure with his very life. The Lord has put us in trust with the Gospel-and all the peopleof God, in their measure-have also become trustees of those inestimably precious doctrines wherein will be found the Gloryof God and the salvation of the sons of men! So we are to defend our Master's property.
And next, we are to dispense it. It is the steward who provides for the table of the household. He brings out of that treasurythings new and old. He never forgets, when the table is spread, to put the bread and the salt on it. The bread is Christ,Himself, on which we feed. And the salt is the Grace of which we cannot have too much. The true steward does not starve thechildren, but he sees that each one is fed with convenient food. To one he brings milk, for he is a babe. To another, he givesstrong meat, for he is a man who has had his senses exercised to discern between good and evil. The steward keeps his master'sstores and sees that they are not wasted-but he also takes care to magnify his master's liberality by seeing that none ofthe household know any need.
I have known some who pretended to be stewards of Christ who evidently did not understand the business. There was an old fableof a man who gave bones to the sheep and grass to the dogs, but neither of them did well on such fare. And some preachingseems to me just like that! The preacher assumes, in his opening prayer, that all his hearers are converted, and the wholeservice goes on as if everybody was a Christian! And yet, if you listen carefully, you will hear that there is an undertoneimplying that nobody is really saved and that everybody is saved in imagination. Brothers, if we cannot discern between therighteous and the wicked, we shall never be as God's mouth to our hearers! If we have not a javelin for God's foes, as wellas butter in a lordly dish for His friends, He will never make use of us as stewards in His house. There is much Grace neededin the dispensing of our Master's goods-the rightly dividing of the Word of God-and bringing out every Truth of God in dueproportion and in due season,
These are two parts of the steward's business-to protect his master's property and to dispense it.
Besides this, he is to use his master's property for his master's benefit. The goods entrusted to him are to be put out tointerest, or used in business to bring in profit for his master. I trust that there are many of us here present who are usingthe Gospel for the glory of Christ. What little we know, we try to proclaim, that sinners may be converted and that the Saviormay be glorified. It is a wonderful thing for us to have the Bible, is it not? But oh, to use the Bible every day so as tobring Glory to God! It is a good thing even to be a tract-distributor, or to do the least service in the Kingdom of Christ,but the one point for us to aim at is to do it so that the profit of it may come, not to us, but to our Master! The stewardmust not get to trading on his own account. As I have said before, if he does that, there is apt to be a lot of mistakes madein the reckoning! Everything that the steward does is for his master.
Abraham said, "The steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus," and Abraham trusted him to go and find a wife for Isaac.So does our Lord use us and trust us, as His stewards. Our great God trusts us to go and find a spouse for Christ-and ourbusiness is to go and discover her, to find her out and ask her to come with us that she may be joined to that blessed Lordof All, the Son of the Great Father, to whom He has left the inheritance. Happy are we, when, like the steward of Abraham,we can bring back the beloved one for our Master's Son! This is a part of our work, to make use of everything that the Masterentrusts to us for His own dear Son and to look upon the Church with which we have to deal as the bride we are to bring toJesus, that she may be married to Him forever.
I will say no more upon the first part of my subject except this-a steward is charged with the general care of the family.He has not merely to look after the stores, but he has to take care of all the family. The steward of the olden times usedto reckon all that belonged to his master as if it were his own-and he got into the habit of talking of it in that way. HisLordship once asked his steward, "What is that coming up the drive?" "Oh," he answered, "it is our horse and carriage, myLord." "Our horse and carriage?" exclaimed the nobleman, "and who may be in it?" "Oh, my Lord," replied the faithful servant,"it is our wife and children!"
Exactly so-the man had come to look upon everything that belonged to his master as belonging to himself-and that is the spiritwhich our Lord would have us cultivate! Those children of His, they are our children. Those that are newly converted to God,oh, they are especially ours and we love them dearly! And this great Church-well, it is a bride to us even as it is to Christ.Our whole life is given up to the blessed service to which Christ has given up Himself. Oh, that we could come anywhere nearto this ideal of what a true steward should be! God help us to do so!
II. Our second enquiry is "HOW ARE WE WHO ARE STEWARDS TO BEHAVE?" Our text supplies the answer- "Moreover it is requiredin stewards, that a man be found faithful."
Note, the Apostle does not say, "it is required in stewards, that a man be found brilliant." No minister will be blamed ifhe does not prove to be brilliant, nor even if he should not be successful. We shall not be condemned even if the seed doesnot spring up, provided that we sow it. You are responsible, not for the result of what you do, but for doing it honestly,sincerely, devoutly, prayerfully, believingly. I do not think that in such a case you will be unsuccessful- certainly notas God judges success. Still, the Apostle's point is that "it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful." What,then, should each one of us be with regard to faithfulness?
First, faithful to our Master. Oh, whatever we do, let us not be traitors to Him! Let us not be apparently doing His work,yet not really doing it. Let us not be preaching without praying. Let us not be talking about doing good without always trustingin Him without whom nothing can be good, or strong, or right! O God, may we, each of us, be able to say at the last, "I amclear of the blood of all men"! If we have dealt truly with our Master, if we can feel that we are sincerely seeking not ourown glory, but His Glory, and working not for men, but for Him alone, it is well with us.
Next, we must each one be faithful to our office, whatever that office may be. If you, as stewards of Christ, are called tobe ministers, be faithful to your ministry. If you are called to have substance, and to give it away, give it with cheerfulnessand be faithful in your office. If you are called to teach half-a-dozen children, and no more, it is quite enough to givean account for at the last-so be faithful to your office. Do not run about finding fault with your fellow servants and thinkingthat you could do their work better if you had it to do. But oh, for Christ's sake, and for the sake of His great Grace, dowhat you have to do with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. Make full proof of your ministry, whatever that ministryis.
Then, next, be faithful to the goods committed to you. I have already dwelt upon the necessity of earnestly defending thefaith. Oh, do not, I pray you, tolerate in yourselves any quibbling at God's Word, any picking and choosing out of the greatTruths of Inspiration! Endeavor to know the Lord's way, the Lord's truth, the Lord's life and in way, truth and life, followthe Lamb wherever He goes. Search the Scriptures and follow where the Scriptures lead you. Let no book composed by the wisestof men dictate your conscience. Remember that the Bible, and the Bible, alone, has the stamp of Infallibility upon it. Followits guidance and so be faithful to the treasure that is entrusted to your hands. Had good men, in past ages, been but faithfulto the Word of the Lord, there had not been so much of schism, heresy and false doctrine in the world. And if all professingChristians shall always be faithful to the pure Word of God, then will come the days of the true unity of the Church of Christ,and the conquest of the world by Christ!
Next, we are bound to be faithful to every person in the household. This is a difficult work, but let us try to accomplishit. All of us, according as we are put into the stewardship, must labor for the good of all our Brothers and Sisters in Christ.We sang just now-
"Have You a lamb in all Your flock I would refuse to feed?"
and I hope that our answer is," No, great Shepherd of Israel, there is not a single lamb in all Your flock which we do notreckon to be better than ourselves." Do you not sometimes feel as if, if you could be as sure of being right as the very leastof the Lord's family, you would be perfectly content? We long to rise to the greatest heights of holiness and consecration,but yet, if we are allowed to wash the saints' feet, it will be a great honor for us. To do anything for Jesus, to be a doormatat the Temple gate, is a high privilege for any of us! Let us try, then, to do all that we ought to do in love and kindnessto all the members of our Master's household.
And then we must be faithful to the outside world as well. You see, a steward who looked to everything indoors, and then allowedpeople out of doors to cheat his master and run away with his goods, would not be a faithful steward! And you and I have muchto do with the souls of men outside the Church of Christ. Oh, what a world this is! What a world it is! Shall we be clearof the blood of all these millions in London? Ride or walk from one end of this great city to another and see if you do notfeel a mountain of granite pressing on your soul! O Lord, what can we do? "Who is sufficient for these things?" Living insuch an age as this and in such a thronged city as this, oh, how shall we be faithful to all the people?
When George Fox was dying, he said, "I am clear, I am clear." I have envied him a thousand times, for I believe the Quakerwas clear of the blood of men. He said many odd things and some things he had better not have said, but he never kept backanything that seemed to come from his soul. It mattered not to whom he spoke-whether it was to the king or to a beggar-hesaid what he believed, without fear of mortal man. Think of brave John Knox, of whom they could say when they buried him,"Here lies he who never feared the face of man." O stewards of God-and I have already said that all you Christians are, inyour measure, stewards of Christ-may this be said of you! "It is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful." I haveshown you what a wide field that one requirement covers-only the Grace of God can be sufficient for us that we may be foundfaithful.
III. Now, very briefly, indeed, I want to answer the third question, HOW ARE WE, IN OUR STEWARDSHIP, IN DANGER OF MISBEHAVING?Well, we can very readily misbehave by acting as if we were masters. You know the tendency of Jack in office-let us avoidanything like that. Remember what our Lord said about the man who began to domineer over his fellow servants and to beat them.This is not the way for a steward to behave, for he is, himself, only a servant. He has to look after other servants but hismaster will look after him-and if he gives himself great airs, he must beware lest his master should dismiss him from hisservice, and say to him, "You shall no longer be steward."
Next, a great deal of misbehavior is caused by endeavoring to please men. If the steward begins to try to please his fellowservants and to curry favor with them that they may speak well of him, he will very soon be a traitor to his master. O dearFriends, seek to please men for their good to edification, but never forget that he who is the servant of men cannot be theservant of God, for "no man can serve two masters." May the Lord help us to feel that we are not judged of men's judgment,but that we are going to do our duty as under the great Taskmaster's own eyes!
Next, we can very much injure our stewardship by idling, or trifling, or growing careless, or leaving our hearts out of ourwork. We can do this in the Sunday school and we can do this in the pulpit! When a man's heart is in his service, he doesnot need to tell you that it is, for you can soon see it. And I believe that there is more power in downright sincerity thanin all the talent that God ever gave to men! A simple, humble, lowly speaker who only says what the Holy Spirit prompts himto say-and who is quite indifferent about how he says it so long as he can say it in a right spirit-he is the man who willreach the hearts of other men! Brothers, if we begin turning over our words, so as to find out comely syllables with whichwe may please and tickle human ears, we shall lose all power over our hearers! I think that the very best nosegay we can evergive to our friends may be made by plucking a handful of field flowers just as we find them, and then saying, "These grewin God's garden. We have not arranged them very prettily, for their innate beauty is such that anything artificial would butinjure them." Oh, let us see to it that we live wholly and alone for this great work of winning souls and glorifying our Master-andlet us always speak with the accent of conviction!
If you do not believe the Gospel, do not tell it to others! But if you do believe it, say it as if you meant it! I read, theother day, the story of a minister, whose boys came to him and asked if they might go to a certain show, and he said, "Wellmy dear boys, I-I-I-I hardly like it. I will show you, by-and-by, the objections there are to it. I do not decidedly forbidyou"-and the boys were out of the room in a minute! They ran off to their companion and said, "Jack, we may go." Yes, theirfather's hesitation was quite enough for them. He was going to say, "I do not decidedly forbid you, but, but, but"-only theboys did not care about his, "buts." And there are some ministers who, in preaching, say that a false doctrine is true, tosome extent, only there are certain objections, difficulties and so on. People do not wait to hear the objections and difficulties,but off they go at once with a bit of bad doctrine! It is often so, and it is a pity that it should be so. Ah, me, this triflingwith Divine Truth, this playing with God's Word will be sure to do an infinite deal of mischief and mar the stewardship ofany man who yields to it!
Next, we can prove ourselves unfaithful stewards by misusing our Master's goods, employing what He entrusted to us for someother end than His Glory, or by neglecting some of the household. We may so preach that there is never any milk for babesand, on the other hand, we may so preach that there is never a morsel of meat for men-and the milk may be so watery that itis not good enough even for babes! It is a sin to neglect any one member of the household, for we must be found faithful tothem all if we would be judged to be faithful at all.
We can also misbehave ourselves as stewards by conniving at whatever is wrong in our fellow servants. "Anything for a peacefullife!" is the motto of the unfaithful steward. "Let men live as they like. We cannot rebuke them because then they might quarrelwith us." Ah, dear me, if we are not prepared to bear a little of that sort of reproach! Even if reproof of sin must bringunkindness in return, we must not withhold that reproof, but must administer it with all the more prayerful-ness and kindness!It must be given lest, as it was with Eli, a curse shall come upon our house because our sons made themselves vile and werestrained them not.
And, dear Friends, there is one other thing that any steward may do and, thereby, spoil his stewardship. That is, prove unfaithfulby forgetting that his Lord will soon come. He may come before we begin our next piece of work. He may come while we are inthe middle of it, or He may come just as we are closing it and, may then and there require an account at our hands! Oh, howearnestly we should live if we were sure that Christ would come tonight! What family prayer you would have tonight if youknew that before the morning dawned, Christ would come! Some of you, perhaps, would want to give something extra to His cause,if you knew that it would be the last opportunity you would have of doing so. Some of you would go and wake your childrenup and talk to them about Christ if you knew that He would come before the morning light.
There is a great deal left undone by most of us-we are not all like Mr. Whitefield, who could say when he went to bed, "Ihave not left even a pair of gloves out of their place. If I were to die tonight, everything is right." It is a beautifulthing to live, so, and that is how God's stewards should live! "Ready, yes, ready," to live or to die, to go on or to leaveoff, to stop here or to go to Heaven-whichever the Master appoints! This is good stewardship. But if we forget that He willcome, we shall get into a loose and slovenly way of acting-and that will be to our own discredit and to our Master's dishonor.
IV. Now, finally, WHAT WILL BE THE RESULT OF OUR STEWARDSHIP?
Supposing we are good stewards, what will the result be? A reward from our Master's own lips. In the Day of Account He willsay, "Well done, good and faithful servant." Now, after that, you do not need a crown, do you? You do not need any rulingover many cities! You will have all that, but I think that this utterance of our Master is quite enough for any steward ofHis, "Well done, good and faithful servant." Oh, if He should ever say that to us, there is enough in it to make a whole eternityof bliss!
But suppose that, at the last, we are found unfaithful, what will the result be? Punishment from the Lord's own hand! If itis so, that we have never washed our robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. If it is so that our hearts havenever been renewed by Divine Grace. If it is so that we have never been saved from our sin and, consequently, have never beensaved from our unfaithfulness-if it should turn out that we have never been saved from living to ourselves, never been savedso as to live honestly and faithfully to God-then what will the result be? I mean, for you who profess to be Christians? Hereare our Lord's words. I am not going to enlarge on them any more than I did on the other words-"The lord of that servant willcome in a day when he looks not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder and will appointhim his portion with the unbelievers"-as if that was the worst punishment that could be meted out to him! God grant that noneof us may ever have that portion!
But oh, you who are unbelievers-do you not see that your portion is that which God will appoint to these who are unfaithfuland only worthy of condemnation? What is your portion? It is something truly terrible, for it will be that which God appointsas a punishment for the worst of sinners, the treacherous and the unfaithful! O unbelievers, I would not be in your placefive minutes for all the world! As the Lord lives, there is but a step between you and Hell! Only a breath and you may begone. If I were in your place, I would be afraid to eat a morsel of bread, tonight, lest a crumb should go the wrong way and,by causing my death, should land me in everlasting misery! One might be afraid to shut his eyes, tonight, as an unbeliever,lest, as he closed them on earth, he shut them forever to all light and hope, world without end-
"You sinners, seek His Grace,
Whose wrath you cannot bear! Fly to the shelter of His Cross And find salvation there."
Oh, fly to Jesus at once, for He has said, "Him that comes to Me I will in no wise cast out." God help you to trust to Christ,tonight, and to go out of this Tabernacle saved men and saved women, for Jesus Christ's sake! Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: LUKE12:35-48.
Verses 35-37. Let your loins be girded about and your lights burning; and you yourselves like unto men that wait for theirmaster, when he will return from the wedding; that when he comes and knocks, they may open unto him immediately. Blessed arethose servants whom the master, when he comes, shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, andmake them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. This is a wonderful passage. Christ has already had oneturn as a Servitor. He was Master and Lord, yet He washed His disciples' feet. But He says that if we are watchful and faithful,if we truly serve Him, the day shall come when, in all His robes of Glory, He shall gird Himself and serve us.
38-40. And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.And this know, that if the good man of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and nothave suffered his house to be broken into. Be you therefore ready also: for the Son of Man comes at an hour when you thinknot. This is a warning to Christ's own people, but it is still more a warning to those who do not know Him. Suppose He wereto come tonight-where would you be, you who have, up to now, lived as if you were your own masters and were by no means theservants of Christ? Take heed unto yourselves, for you know not when your Lord shall come!
41-44. Then Peter said unto Him, Lord, speak, then, this parable unto us, or even to all? And the Lord said, Who then is thatfaithful and wise steward, whom his master shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in dueseason? Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, shall find so doing. Of a truth I say unto you, that he willmake him ruler over all that he has. What rewards Christ has in store for His people! If we will but be His servants, now,and the servants of our Brothers and Sisters, He will make us rulers over all that He has! I cannot attempt to explain allthat these words mean, but I bless the Lord that they are absolutely true!
45, 46. But and if that servant says in his heart, My master delays his coming; and shall begin to beat the male and femaleservants and to eat and drink, and to be drunk; the master of that servant will come on a day when he looks not for him, andat an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. Againlet me say that I cannot attempt to explain all that these words mean, but, oh, what will be the horror, the terror, of thepunishment which will fall upon the unfaithful steward, the minister who is untrue to his holy calling, the professor whosays that he is a child of God and a steward of Christ, and yet is unfaithful to his trust? I will read our Lord's words again.You know how we are sometimes accused of saying things too dreadful about the wrath of God in the world to come, but, Beloved,we never say anything dreadful enough! If you will carefully examine the Word of God, you will find there expressions suchas even Dante or the mediaeval preachers, with all the horrors they depicted, never surpassed! We cannot exaggerate the awfuldepth of meaning which we find in the words of the loving Christ, Himself! Let me read this verse again-"The master of thatservant will come on a day when he looks not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, andwill appoint him his portion with the unbelievers."
47, 48. And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and did not prepare himself, neither did according to his will, shallbe beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes.For unto whomever much is given, of him shall be much required and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask themore. Judge you, then, Brothers and Sisters, how much of ability and talent your Lord has entrusted to you- and be not contentto have rendered Him some service-but look for proportionate service and humble yourselves in His Presence if your serviceis not in proportion to the opportunities entrusted to you! Who among us can refrain from humbling himself before God whenhe thinks of this?