“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” (1 Corinthians 4:1-2 ESV).
I have been a follower of Jesus for a long time. There have been times when I was faithful. And there have been times when I put myself and my desires ahead of what He wanted for me. I realize that I’m not alone in this. We all have witnessed an ebb and flow in our faith walks.
Apart from times of conviction, I really haven’t given much thought to how others view me. I have generally maintained the same attitude that the apostle Paul asserted in 1 Corinthians 4:3-5, that it is God who judges me. I try to consider mostly how God sees me.
But it is not inconsistent for Paul to say that he is swayed only by God’s judgment after telling us how others should see us. If we are, in fact, servants of Christ, then it should be obvious to all onlookers. There should never be a question about whether we live with ourselves as the center of our universe, or with God in such a position. And I don’t think there is any controversy in that statement.
But I think there may be some confusion about our being “stewards of the mysteries of God.” What does that even mean? What is a steward? And what are the mysteries of God.
A steward is a caretaker of sorts, looking after that which belongs to another. We often hear that we are to be good stewards of the money which the Lord has provided us, or of the earth, using them wisely. If a child were orphaned, oftentimes the inheritance would be withheld in trust, and managed by a steward, until the child reached a certain age. People with multiple homes often hire a caretaker to maintain their properties while they are away. In like manner, we have been made “stewards of the mysteries of God.”
Now God doesn’t just drop a bomb of wisdom and knowledge about all things Him. When we first come to faith, it is because we have grasped the first of the mysteries: that Jesus is God, that He was sinless, and that He died and rose again to make a way for us to be reconciled to God.
But as we spend time with Him, we grow in our faith. We discern truths about God’s character. We experience different depths of His love, grace, and mercy. He shows us more and more who He is.
These are the mysteries of God.
As “stewards of the mysteries of God”, we are entrusted with those revelations. They are treasures; and as it would be foolish for us to randomly display our physical treasures to anyone and everyone, it would be foolish for us to do so with the treasures that God has given to us!
While we are commanded to share our faith, there are things that God has shown us that are for sharing only with those who will respect what you have been given. In fact, Jesus told us, “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you” (Matthew 7:6 ESV).
This means that if we share what is precious to us from God with those who either don’t have faith or those who reject the faith, those treasures, those pearls, will be mistreated. So as stewards we must take care with whom we share what has been entrusted to us.
Thank God for the mysteries He has revealed to you, and care for them as that which is most precious to you!