Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required in stewards that one be found faithful. 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. Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God. (1 Corinthians 4:1-5)
Seeking Praise From God
A servant or a steward is a person who knows their place in life is one of service and responsibility to the master. These terms are difficult in a culture where freedom of thought, voice, and life are the foundation of character and identity. Slavery is frowned upon with great disfavor for good reason but the idea cannot be discounted in the relationship of man and God. Being a steward accountable to a master is not out of the question when examining the manner of how the Lord demands obedience from His disciples. Both terms resonate with the idea of service to the one who has the right to demand His will to be followed and obeyed. Service to the master is not to do with a begrudging spirit of spite but a willingness to do everything possible to please Him. A servant of Christ is a person who has voluntarily submitted their will to the voice of the Son of God without question. There are no freedoms of choice within the heart of a man who serves the Lord as a slave. It would be incredulous for a servant to demand rights from his master and no less the impossibility of a man requiring the Lord God Creator to bow to his wishes. The prophet Isaiah bemused the conflict between man and God as likened to the potter and the clay. Man was formed by God like the potter forms the clay. The clay cannot demand of the potter because the potter is the one who has power over the clay. Servants of Christ live under the authority of the Son of God without question. The slave must answer to the master alone because all authority comes from the Lord.
Stewards are those who are entrusted with great responsibility. In the Old Testament Joseph was a wonderful example of a young man who was given a great challenge to steward the house of Potiphar and did so with an exemplary spirit in a very difficult situation. When he was put in prison he continued to serve as a man of noble character to steward his responsibilities to the prison authorities and the Lord blessed him. What made the difference in the life of Joseph and as Paul would show in his letter to Corinth, stewardship is based upon a relationship with God, not man. Faithful men and women of scripture shared one single gem of character: whatever they did in whatever situation they found themselves they desired nothing more than to serve God and to please Him. There is only one judge and it is to His will the spirit must bow. Serving God goes beyond the fear of men. Pleasing the will of the Father is foremost and essential to the character of those who live holy lives. When a man realizes he is a slave for Christ and a steward of God, decisions in life will become more clear and demonstrable in the work of the kingdom because he knows what he does and how he lives is about pleasing the heavenly Father above all other things in life. It separates the minutia of this world to the spiritual treasures of spiritual holiness and godliness. Pleasing God is above all things and nothing will come before this desire.
Learning to be a slave and steward of Christ will change everything in life. Husbands and wives who seek to please God will find their servitude comes from a relationship in following the word of God. It is not about their needs and their wants but what does the Father require and how can we please Him in our marriage. As parents, children are guided by the principles of forming characters that will bring happiness to the Lord. Families are bound together by a single love of truth, righteousness, and purity to the will of the Father. This is especially true for children to learn to trust in God and have a willing heart to serve Him above all other things in life. This will be a key ingredient when they choose a mate, their occupation in life and decisions on where to live and how to form their own family. Above all else, seeking to please the Lord will govern motives and life decisions. Praise from God is to be desired above all other things. There can be no greater satisfaction than to know that when all things are finished the Lord will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Judgment comes from God regardless but let that judgment be that He is pleased with the life of His servant and commending to the work of His steward in the kingdom of His Son. Please God and the joy of eternal life will be the reward given to His servants and His stewards.