This morning I’m thinking about perspective. Identical circumstance taking on very different implications depending on how we look at it. You can see how much perspective shaped the apostle Paul. If anyone had bragging rights, it was him. Even if you throw out all his accomplishments B.C. (before Christ) — “circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee . . . as to righteousness, under the law blameless” (Php. 3:5) — he still has a pretty impressive resume. How many have encountered the risen Christ one-on-one, up close and personal (Acts 9:3-5)? How many have been schooled by Christ one-on-one (Gal. 1:11-12, 2Cor. 12:2-4)? How many have had as widespread and successful a ministry as his?
Yet, there was no boasting. And, though a man of great spiritual privilege, there was no coasting. All out . . . peddle to the metal. And reading in 1Corinthians this morning, the Spirit provides some insight as to why Paul was the man he was . . . and why he lived the way he lived. And I’m thinking it’s because of perspective.
This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful. (1Corinthians 4:1-2 ESV)
You want to know how to think about us, says Paul, think of us as underlings, as mere attendants, as those who have a duty to discharge for another.
No boasting . . . he counted himself but a servant. No coasting . . . he viewed “the mysteries of God” as a treasure entrusted to him to steward.
And it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.
That’s perspective. All that we are in Christ, and all that we possess through Christ is a gift that we are to steward. How we need to beware of ever seeing it as anything but a gift. How we need to be on guard against, at some point, thinking that what we have and what we are in Christ is somehow because of who we have been and what we have done. Paul asks his readers the question, “What do you have that you did not receive?” (4:7) Right answer? Nothing!
There is nothing we have, spiritual or physical, that we have not received but by the good and gracious hand of our loving Father. There is no standing we have before the throne of glory except that which we have inherited through the finished work of the Son on the cross. There is no understanding of the things of the kingdom of God but that the Spirit has not revealed to us. Where is the boasting? No where. And if it is all a stewardship, when do we get to retire and start coasting? Not thinkin’ that’s gonna happen. For it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.
Regardless of our season of life . . . whether we possess much or little in material wealth . . . despite our level of spiritual maturity . . . whether we think we know a little or lot about the kingdom . . . though we think we have much or minimal to offer our Lord . . . wherever we are, whatever we have, it is all the gift of God and we have been called to steward that gift.
And it is required of stewards that they be found faithful. And that’s the difference perspective can make.
O’ Lord, find us faithful! By Your grace . . . for Your glory.