“Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” 1 Cor. 4:1-2
St. Paul and all who are called by God through the Church to preach the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ are ministers and servants of Christ, and they are stewards of the mysteries of God. To them the saving Word of God has been entrusted, and they are to use that Word to extend and build up the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ. As servants of Christ and stewards of God’s Word, they are required to be faithful — not to men but to Christ and His Word!
Elsewhere, St. Paul writes: “But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts” (1 Thess. 2:4; cf. Gal. 1:1,9ff.).
St. Paul was faithful to his Lord Jesus Christ. He was unwilling to compromise the Gospel for the sake of temporal peace and tranquility; and he traveled throughout the Roman Empire, sometimes enduring great hardship, so that others could hear of Christ Jesus and the salvation He won for all by His innocent sufferings and death upon the cross (cf. Gal. 1:6ff.; 2 Cor. 11:22ff.; 2 Tim. 4:6-8).
Where the preaching of God’s Word was rejected, St. Paul shook off the dust from his feet and moved on; but, where the Gospel was received in faith, Paul continued on there, nurturing and building up the believers with the Word of God (Acts 13:44-51; 18:1-11).
Called pastors today are also servants of Jesus Christ, entrusted with the precious and saving Gospel. As a minister of Christ and a steward of God’s Word, a pastor is to be faithful, not to men, but to God, who called and placed him into this office. Pastors are to shepherd and feed the Church of Jesus Christ with the pure and sincere Word of God, and to administer the Sacraments according to Christ’s institution (cf. 1 Pet. 5:1-4; Acts 20:28; 2 Tim. 3:14-4:5; Jer. 23:28). It is as St. Paul says, “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful” (v. 2). What matters is not how men judge a pastor’s faithfulness but whether or not he is judged faithful by his Lord (cf. v. 3-4).
As believers and members of Christ’s Church, we also share in this stewardship of God’s mysteries. We have been entrusted with the saving Word of God and the task of using that Word to disciple all nations (Matt. 28:18-20). We are to send men to preach the Gospel in all the world (cf. Mark 16:15-16), forgiving the sins of penitent sinners and retaining the sins of the impenitent as long as they do not repent (cf. John 20:23). And, as servants of Jesus Christ, we are accountable unto Him for this stewardship.
Have we been faithful to God’s Word? Have we faithfully used the Word entrusted to us to carry out this great work for our Lord and Savior? Or, have we compromised the Word or hid it among us (cf. Luke 19:10-27)?
As we consider our own failures as servants of Christ and stewards of His mysteries, we can be thankful that our Savior was faithful in that task entrusted to Him of His Father, for our Lord Jesus Christ did not fail or come short in accomplishing the redemption of our souls! He fulfilled perfectly in our stead all that God’s holy law demands of us, and He paid in full the just punishment for our sins and the sins of the whole world when He suffered and died upon the cross (cf. Heb. 4:15; 7:26-27; 9:11-14,27-28; 10:19ff.). Through faith in our crucified and risen Savior, we have forgiveness for our sins and the assurance of eternal life with Him in heaven!
Again, the Bible says: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16).
And, as forgiven children of God, we use the time He has entrusted to us in this world to be His faithful servants and stewards of His saving Word.
Dear Lord Jesus Christ, forgive us for any laziness or unfaithfulness on our part; and move us to be good stewards of Thy Word, sharing its sacred truths with people everywhere, that they too might know Thee as the only true God and their only Savior from sin and the everlasting punishments of hell. Amen.
[Scripture is quoted from the King James Version of the Bible]