Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Good Gospel Stewards

One of my fears about borrowing an item from someone is that I'm going to break it. I've borrowed tillers, tools and even vehicles, and I worry about breaking something and having to tell the owner what happened. Even if the item is older and might break no matter who uses it, I just don't want to have it happen to me. My father taught me to try and return any item you borrow in better condition than what you received it. For the most part, I've tried to live by that principle, and that's probably why I fear breaking something that I borrow.

In Luke 19:11-27, Jesus told a parable about a noble man who gave ten of his servants one mina each and ordered them to use this money he loaned them to earn more money. Essentially, they were to return the item back to the owner in better condition than what they received it. When you read the parable, you discover that Jesus is challenging His disciples to be good stewards of the gospel and invest the gospel in the lives of others to grow God's kingdom. 

The gospel is the most valuable treasure we've been entrusted with as believers and Christ doesn't want us to bury it, but invest it in the lives of others and watch it grow. The servant that buried the treasure was rebuked, but those who invested and grew their mina on loan from the master were commended. 

So how are we doing in our investment of the gospel in the lives of others? Have we invested the gospel in others and seen it grow?

If that's your desire, but you don't know how to do that, let me suggest four general yet practical steps for you to take in your desire to follow Christ as a disciple maker.

1. Pray. Start praying about the person God would have you invest in. Look for a person whose heart is open and ready to receive the gospel. Look for a person who is faithful, available, and teachable to train in the ways of Christ. Don't pray with your eyes closed, but open and looking for that person God wants you to invest in.

2. Prepare. None of us walking the face of this planet have become perfect like Christ. We are all works in progress. As you pray and look for whom God wants you to invest in, be growing yourself as a disciple. Ask someone you respect to help you grow in a particular area of your life. Find a good book that helps deepen your walk with Christ. Go through a DVD series on a topic for growth. Know the gospel backwards and forwards and practice sharing it. Share it with a strong mature believer and ask for their input. Be preparing yourself now.

3. Practice. Don't wait until you think you're fully prepared, because then you'll never step out and disciple anyone. Start practicing now. Share what you're learning in your quiet time with other friends and family. Teach what you have learned in your walk with Christ to others who want to learn. Share your testimony with your spouse or a friend. You can start discipling someone in some area today. Don't wait until you think you've finally arrived spiritually because that won't happen until Christ returns.

4. Persevere. You'll have frustrations and disappointments, but don't let that discourage you or cause you to quit. Even Jesus had a disciple who betrayed Him and one who denied Him. That will happen, but be faithful and persevere. God is faithful!

If you commit yourself to investing the gospel in the lives of others, then at the end of time when Christ asks what you did with His gospel you'll be able to show Him the changed lives and give back the gospel with a return as it were. Then you'll hear the Lord's blessed words, "Well done, good and faithful servant!"

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