Reflections on Stewardship and Authority
It's been a year since I wrote on this blog. I wrote the following in an email and it seemed to resonate with several people. I think this might be something that would be a blessing to others beyond that.
There are some themes of authority and stewardship that seem to be coming up a lot for me in recent times. Particularly, as I've thought about the prospect of doing some teaching concerning prayer & worship for the students at UT and have thought about the role of the Campus House of Prayer at UT and that piece about the authority that God has given us in shifting spiritual atmospheres and executing, applying His will in the earth being something that needs to be grasped, something that I'm grasping myself.
There's the principle that God is the Owner: The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof (Psalm 24:1) but to humanity He has entrusted us the earth to steward: “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” And there are realms that he's placed us in with in that. In Christ now, we are seated with Him in the heavenly places in Christ (Ephesians 2:6). All authority in heaven and earth was given to Jesus and He commissioned us from that to make disciples, seeing His Kingdom increase.
Also, with influence, there is responsibility. This I'm still coming to understand: God is Good! He has finished the work in Christ. Sometimes it isn't that God is being stingy when we're asking him for things because He has already given us everything pertaining to life and godliness (2 Pet 1), but He's gracious. Some things that could really crush us. Or He might choose to keep you hidden for a time for your good, and to humble, test, train and develop you...so that you may know that man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Deut 8:3).
Yet when He does choose and place you, and He gives blueprints, insights, vision, He does give permission and authority to do things according to that, that we don't need to hesitate with those things. I'm talking to myself on that because that's something that I've been struggling with.
There's a place that we have as Campus Renewal at UT with a level of influence, resources, connections, history that was handed down to me from someone else. There have also been some challenges that I stepped into from things that happened before I got into this role, and other challenges along the way and now I have an opportunity to really establish a new culture this next year.
Former location of Campus House of Prayer at UT
There's a stewardship, but there's also a place of pioneering, not just settling at what's been done but how does God want to take this forward?
When we're talking about prophetic dreams, prophetic words spoken, there's an element of stewardship of those things. How do I steward what it is that He's already spoken to me? And gifts, talents, such as the voice and music in me, and writings?
It's partnership, in rest. It's not just us sitting back and doing nothing necessarily, and it's not us working ourselves to death apart from His strength and His life.
Something else that I'm also learning is there are some things that aren't in my sphere of responsibility - like if we're talking money for a ministry or people for a ministry or saving people - these things God does. But I have responsibility to share the vision, and obey Jesus in the ways that He says. And of course, it is Him working in me and through me. We get messed up when we try to do God's part for him or we aren't being obedient to him in what he says for us to do. He's gracious though and will still do things on our behalf. But I believe some things don't get accomplished because He has put it in our hands to do something and we aren't doing it.
There's timing as well; not all things are for now. We have the famous example of Ishmael coming forth from Abraham when the promise was sure from God but the timing was not and the method was not.
I also learned that God can give you something but then tell you to lay it down. Bill Vanderbush, who taught a school of ministry here aptly taught that Jesus told his disciples to take swords with them before his betrayal (Luke 22:36-38) but later, when Peter actually uses it to cut off Malchus' ear (John 18:10-11), Jesus told him to put it up. I believe there's still more of unfolding to me of God's purposes for me in sending me where he send me for college. I have felt that this is something that God has had me to lay down for His purposes. Yet I've seen Him use it at different times too.
So I'm thinking on these things.
"He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much;" - Luke 16:10
"Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy. " - 1 Cor. 4:1-2
"For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel. For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me." (1 Cor. 9:16-17)
I noticed there is language that Paul uses repeatedly when talking to Timothy.
"according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted. I thank Christ Jesus my Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service." (1 Tim 1:11-12).
"This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you fight the good fight..." (1 Tim 1:18)
" O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you..." (1 Tim 6:20)
"Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure that has been entrusted to you." (2 Tim 1:14)
"The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also." (2 Tim 2:2)
"It is a trustworthy statement..." (2 Tim 2:11)
He also talks extensively in Ephesians 3:1-10: "For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles— 2 if indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace which was given to me for you; 3 that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief. 4 By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit; 6 to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel, 7 of which I was made a minister, according to the gift of God’s grace which was given to me according to the working of His power. 8 To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, 9 and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things; 10 so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places."
Grace and Peace,