September 18, 2016
Text: Amos 8:4-7
I Timothy 2:1-7
It was on my 12th birthday. December 1st is usually cold and snowy- but that year was different. It
was more like a beautiful fall day. My dad was planning to plow that day, and he asked me if I
wanted to disc corn stalks. Of course I did! I thought I was on cloud nine. Although I had driven
the tractor around the yard doing chores by myself, that day was the first time I had worked in
the field all day. I had arrived. My dad had trusted me to do a man’s work and I was up to the
task to prove him right. There is something about knowing you are trusted enough to be given a
job. It motivates you. As a young 12 year old, even though I was tired at the end of the day and
feel asleep in church the next day, I wouldn’t admit it.
God has entrusted us with the gospel, the greatest treasure in all creation. Think about that!
Shouldn’t that motivate us all to be tireless in sharing the gospel God has entrusted us with?
In the gospel this morning, Jesus tells the disciples a parable. A steward was about to lose his job
because he had been dishonest with his masters goods. But this dishonest steward was not one to
give in easily. He came up with a shrewd plan to go forgive part of the debt people owed his
master-hoping they would remember him when he no longer had a job. And when his master in
the parable found out, he was commended for his shrewd dealings.
By telling this parable, Jesus was not implying that we should be dishonest in our dealings, but
used the story to point out that if dishonest people can be committed and engaged, why then
cannot honest people be even more engaged and motivated.
Countless movies have been made about the complex and detailed plots thieves connive and
scheme to steal something while putting themselves at risk of life and jail time. Although there
are countless Christians all over the world who are putting their lives on the line for the gospel-
sadly, too many Christians in the free world do not see the urgency and importance of sharing the
gospel to a lost world.
Another parable comes to mind that Jesus taught. It is about a man who went on a journey. But
before he left, he entrusted his property to his stewards. To one, he gave five talents, to another,
he gave two, and to the third, he gave one. The first steward immediately went and invested it
and doubled it’s worth. In the same say, the steward who had been given two talents, also
invested it and he too doubled it’s worth. But the steward who was given one, hid it, buried it in
the ground. And when the owner came back he commended the first two but not the third.
Looking up the word: “entrust” in the dictionary- I found one meaning that said: “to assign the
care of- to invest.” Apparently being a good steward is more than just making sure we do not
lose something, but also increasing it’s worth.
In school, we learn when a teacher not only explains something with words, but shows us how.
But the best way to learn is by doing- beginning with a small job and progressing to a larger,
more complex job.
When Jesus called the disciples, He was the model teacher. He not only with words, but with
words put into practice every day. Then one day, Jesus gathered 70 of those closest to him, and
sent them out two by two in His name to minister to people. In doing so, He was trusting them to
be faithful- (not necessarily perfect, but faithful) And when they returned, they were excited-
“even the demons obey!”
But the biggest lesson they learned was that it wasn’t their power or authority that the demons
obeyed- it was the power and authority of God they were representing. Jesus’ final words to us
before ascending into heaven were this: “all authority in heaven and earth has been given to me-
go therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of
the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I
am with you always to the close of the age.”
It is amazing that a perfect and holy God would entrust us with the most valuable treasure the
world has ever known! We have been given a responsibility of not only sharing the gospel with
the world but to keep it pure.
Some people down through the ages have compromised the message of the gospel to reflect the
opinions of the day. But the gospel is not for us to change what an unchanging God has spoken.
To be entrusted with the gospel is to guard the truth in every way, no matter what others might
think or say.
Secondly, we are to invest it in others. Jesus invested His life for us not only by speaking the
truth, but by dying on the cross in our place. Investing in others can be no less. The Germen
Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote from his prison cell: “When Christ calls a man, he
bids him come and die.” That means dying to self- giving away any personal rights for the sake
of the gospel. It even means to literally to be willing to die when asked to compromise or deny
The apostle Paul put it this way: “Now this is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and
stewards of the mysteries of God.” It means speaking out with a ready answer for the gospel
when it may not be a popular thing to do. It means serving others with little or no recognition.
It is human tendency to want the approval and praise of others- but what is more important is the
approval of God. Jesus said: “you cannot serve two masters- you will either hate the one and love
the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other.”
Many years ago, while working at a job I didn’t really like, the Lord spoke to me through the
words from Colossians that said: “Whatever your task, work heartily, as serving the Lord and not
men,” It didn’t change the job- but it did change my heart. Everything we do- every job that is set
before us- needs to be done in the context of the gospel.
Sharing the gospel begins with prayer. It is the foundation upon which our witness is built. The
Apostle Paul urged Timothy to pray with intercessions and thanksgiving for everyone- even for
our leaders- especially our leaders.
I don’t know about you, but I am guilty of complaining about our political leaders more than I
pray for them. That is wrong. This upcoming election is crucial. We need to get on our knees and
pray about it.
We have all been entrusted with the gospel to keep it pure and to share it freely. It doesn’t matter
if you are young or old or in-between. Whether we are new in our faith, or seasoned veterans of
the cross ultimately makes no difference because it is the power of the gospel we are sharing, not
our own wisdom or strength. Many times it is the simple word of a new Christian or a child that
God uses to change lives and the course of history- simply because they are excited and willing
to share when others remain silent.
Let us be faithful to Him who has called us. In Jesus name, Amen.