Precepts of Stewardship from 1 Peter 4: 1-11
Are you chasing your desires or our Lord?
The answer to this question will determine not only how you handle stewardship but even more important, what direction in life you go as well as if, when, and how sin will entice you to fall! Sin is coming; we can either draw near to God to stay clear, or draw near to sin and thus away from God and His best for us. The great news is that Christ gives us the ability to stand firm in Him. The key is, we need to want to! Peter’s people were being slandered and taken advantage of, and they were becoming disillusioned. Peter’s call was to stand firm in faith and not worry what others do as long as we look to Christ wholeheartedly (1 Pet. 2:12,15, 23; 3:9, 16; 4:4,14). Thus, the best defense is the offense of righteousness and demonstrating the good life in Christ!
This passage in 1 Peter 4, also gives us comfort in suffering because Christ Himself suffered, which gives us a better picture on how we are to view stewardship. He, who is God incarnate, who totally did not deserve to suffer, suffered on our behalf. He endured great physical, mental, and spiritual pain on our behalf, and exemplified the attitude and conduct we are to have when we go through the tough stuff of life to how we handle the stewardship of all we are and have. The call for us is to be prepared and equip ourselves for what lies ahead in life. We must have our expectations based on reality and in faith, so when something comes our way—whether it is a blessing or a problem—we can take it, handle it and mange it with excellence, learn, and grow from it. Then, in turn, we can be a blessing to others because of it. However, we cannot do that if we are not following Christ and taking heed to His example, His grace, and His love so we want to respond. Otherwise, our desires will fill that gap and will get the best of us. The sins of others and the sins of our heart will break us down and take us over unless we focus on Christ, His ways, and His path.
What does it mean to exemplify the attitude and conduct of Christ? What would that look like in your life?
The challenge to this call is the world’s ways. Sin is so enticing we can easily slip off God’s path. Thus, we need to be willing to suffer so sin does not entice us. We become more guarded against sin because a bigger picture is in our sight—Christ, His example, and our willingness and commitment to follow. When we see Him and not our personal viewpoints and desires, we will grow, mature, and be prepared for anything!
God’s will is the determining factor in life, how He wants us to be wise stewards of all we are and have and could have! It all comes down to this; will you follow His will, or yours and the world’s? Which one do you think brings the most blessings and contentment? Thus, we are to be trained and are to be prepared with Christ’s attitude, outlook, knowledge, and experience. We are to prepare for injustice and suffering!
“Pray” is meant to line us up in His will and with His empowerment (Luke 18:1; 1 Cor. 7:5; Eph. 6:18; 1 Thess. 5:17; 1 Pet. 3:7; 1 John 5:14-15).
A warning is given to us, the end of the world is coming! And a warning about sin, “time in the past” this refers to sin and its power to weigh us down so it defines who we are and traps us in the past. We all have past mistakes and wrong choices, but Christ freed us so we no longer need to be weighed down by them! Peter’s congregation had a pagan background that was very alluring; he is telling them (and us) not to let it draw them or become a part of their new life (Rom. 1:12:13; 6:1-14, 19; Gal. 5:19-21)!
Life and our opportunities are limited; thus, we are to make every effort to represent Christ and make the most of what we are given for His glory. We are stewards of all that we have, whether small or great. The better we use our gifts, the more generous He is with us with more gifts, abilities, and opportunities. We are called not to waste our opportunities, but to be diligent and faithful with our call, abilities, and prayer with love and hospitality. Do what God has called you to do and do it with passion, truth, and in love!
Thus, what is our call here? The key word is Hospitality, refers here to taking in travelers with generosity—not grudgingly or with complaining.
Even more so, it is how we view our life in general, since we have Christ’s love flowing in us, it should flow to others around us. This means we are to be willing to give preference to others, to look out for and look after one another, and to share, with discernment, what God has given us, including our family, home, finances, and food. We are to have an attitude of stewardship where we do not own anything because we are merely the caretakers for the real owner, God. He desires us to share His stuff, and we comply out of reverence and gratitude to Him. Thus, as we come along side others, we are to welcome them and act out our faith in real, helpful kindness, generosity, and deeds. This includes providing help and lodging to fellow Christians, helping those who are being persecuted, and helping out in our community (Matt. 25:34-43; Luke 10:30-37; Rom. 12: 3-8, 13: 16:33; 1 Cor. 12:1-7; 1 Timothy 3:2; 5:10; Titus 1:8; Hebrews 13:2; 3 John 1:5-8).
Thus, we do as the passage states, use whatever gift means we are to practice our spiritual gifts, and realize that the diversity we have is beneficial for one another. It also means being charitable or generous to others with what Christ has given you, and to serve Him without being held back by fear, time, or lack of talent. As Christians, we are to typify faith and reason together so we can exhibit the maturity needed to make wise decisions and have a purpose in life. This also means directly caring for those in need, such as the sick, infirmed, and poor. However, some Christians will have a specific call and empowerment to do this. People in the world may be more concerned for their own needs and agendas than they are for God’s clear doctrine and purpose, but as Christians, we are called to go beyond ourselves to serve others well and be careful how you speak and minister as we sometimes speak for God as He uses us (Titus 2). Kindness is the proof of authenticity (Rom. 2:1-4; 12:4-21; 16:1; 1 Cor. 12:7-11; Eph. 4:32; Col. 3:12-14; 1 John 3:16-23)!
The phrase, God may be praised, means for us to be good stewards, as we are called to live, serve, and do all that we do in life for the honor and glory of our Lord and Savior (Acts 7:38; Rom. 3:2; 1 Cor. 1:26-31; Jude 24-25)!
So how do I make this work? Answer this, does Love cover you? Do you use it to cover others? We are to be fueled and empowered by love in all situations. Christian love is the turning of our backs on our self-concerns and facing our neighbors. It is the surrender of our will to His. If love does not take us beyond our self-interests, then we have only lust and pride, not real love! God’s love must be our model for life. It must flow into us from Christ, and in return, flow out from us to those around us. God’s love is the ultimate power for the Christian. Love is more than a feeling; it has segments and characters to it. Love is also a choice, a decision that must be perused and worked on (John 13:1; 15:13; 1 Corinthians 13:3; 1 John)!
What get in our way? Our hurts, fears and past. God does not want us to be controlled by the past or to be fearful or cowardly.
Rather, we are to learn from our experiences and grow from them so we can be better at stewardship, but not be tied to them so they become our identity. We have been born again in Christ; our old life is old, and it is no longer who we are. Thus, we are to grow closer to Him and be an example to others who are still in the old life without being influenced and enticed by them. Our focus needs to be what is going on now, what God is doing, and how we can contribute to it. Not just what can I get, but what can I learn and gain to be better for His glory? Take comfort; God does indeed have a plan for you even when you cannot see it. His will for your growth in Him is clear! He wants you to be faithful and good so others can see in you a demonstration model for the new life that they can have too. He gives you the ability, the power, and the strength to endure and to enjoy (Gal. 6:7)! The most important aspect is for us to keep our eyes focused on Christ, with racehorse blinders on to block off the rest.
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:5 – 8)
© 2005 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D.