In the house

Luke 12:42-44
And the Lord said, “Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all that he has.”

As in all the parables, Jesus is giving us a paradigm to understand life in his Kingdom. Because we’ve been born again into a new world, the Kingdom of God, we must have our minds renewed in order to understand God’s ways and our response.

Jesus often taught that his church is the family of God, a household, where he is Lord and master and where we are all children and servants of God.

In explaining what is expected of us, he taught that every believer, every follower of Jesus, is given an assignment and the authority to fulfil that assignment. In Mark 13:34, he says the kingdom “is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to EACH his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch.” Jesus is the master, we are his servants. EACH is given a work to do until he returns.

Every believer is a disicple and every disciple is a minister. You have a role, a part to play in God’s redemptive work on earth. You, as a christian, are called to ministry (which simply means serving others). You have a purpose. You have been anointed and empowered by the Holy Spirit. You have been given authority in Jesus’ name to represent his kingdom.

Every believer is in the house: loved and adopted by God and given an assignment to complete. Every believer is under the leadership, headship, Lordship of Jesus Christ. Every believer is of equal value and worth. Every believer is called to love others, practice hospitality, pray for others, minister in the power of the Spirit, share the gospel, care for the poor, comfort the hurting, stand for justice, grow in christ-like character. There are not two callings or levels of christians; as if some are called to holiness and some are not, or as if some are called to ministry and some are not.

And yet, he gave a distinct role to leaders in the church. He has assigned certain servants to RULE in the church, in the house of God. Did you see that in luke 12:43: Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make RULER over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season”? Jesus taught that pastors and elders are given a realm authority in the church.

First, he calls them servants who steward or manage the house. These pastors are not the head of the church, they are not the source, savior, or lord. Jesus is the Head. These pastors are servants of Christ. They are managers of HIS house. They, like all the other servants of God, have been given an assignment. They will be held accountable and they will be rewarded if they serve faithfully. They are saved by grace and are dependent on the Head, Christ, like every other believer.

Second, these leaders of the church are given authority over the other servants in the house of God. They are to rule over the house, stewarding or managing the household for their master. What is their assignment? What is their authority? To feed the other servants! They are servants of God serving the other servants. Their job is to serve; to feed. Everyone is working hard, serving the master, bringing the kingdom to earth as it is in heaven. Everyone has an assignment. But some servants need to ensure that everyone is card for, fed, safe. Some are given a distinct role to ensure everyone is focused and ready for the masters return. Just like we all need the physical nourishment to live and work, so we need the nourishment from the Word of God in order to serve the Lord and the world he loves. This is the calling and assignment of pastors and leaders in the church. A leader’s job is to feed God’s servants so they can do their job. In other words, a pastor’s ministry is to equip others to do their ministry.

Pastors are not suragot christians. They are not the only ministers. They are not the only ones with a calling. In fact, their calling is found in empowering others to fulfill their calling. Therefore, a pastor’s success is found in the successful fulfillment of the household’s (church’s) collective calling and the successful fulfillment of each servant’s individual calling. A pastor’s authority is only to empower, protect, feed, keep every servant focused on the mission, help every servant fullfil their calling and become all they were designed to be.

This is the same thing Paul taught in Ephesians 4:12-13 when he wrote, “And He Himself GAVE SOME to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, FOR the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we ALL come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ….” Notice the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers are gifts GIVEN to the church; servants of God serving the saints. In verse 12 he defines their purpose: FOR the equiping of the saints for the work of ministry. One person’s anointing or calling does not diminish another’s, but rather it is given as a grace or gift to bring forth another’s anointing or calling. It’s not just that the leaders do ministry, but do the equipping (which means to heal, mend, restore, repair, resource, empower, release, support) so the rest of the saints can do their ministry to the others in the church and in the world.

This truth about the Kingdom calls EACH of us to do our part. Jesus is calling EVERY believer to seek him, know him, love him, become like him, and partner with him in bringing redemption to this world through the power of the Gospel. And he is calling SOME to be equippers. All the servants of God need to fulfill their assignment for the sake of the world. The church is the hope of the world, salt and light, bringing the life of heaven to earth. And so, the church needs faithful and wise servants, leading them and nourishing them with the Word of God; we need pastors and leaders in the church to mend and empower EVERYONE to fulfill their calling.

Let’s be found faithful!

God does not want to do it for you, but with, in and through you.

John 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

God does not want to do it for you, but with, in and through you.

The image of the vine and the branch is a powerful and real image of our connection to Jesus.  Vine: He is the source.  Branch: we are the conduit.  In order for fruit to be produced, the plant requires the vine and the branches.

Simple truth: we need Jesus.  Without him we can produce nothing of his Kingdom, of his character, of his power, for his glory.  Without him there is no eternal life.  But without us nothing can be produced either.  His kingdom does not come, his power is not released, his character is not manifested in the world except THROUGH us.  If we do not abide, if we do not surrender to his leadership, trust in his provision, rely and depend on him, then the life that is in him will not flow through us to produce fruit.  In order for the redemptive Kingdom of God to manifest in our lives and in this world we must be connected to the vine.

This is why faith is the essential response to the grace of God.  In Fact, Hebrews 11:6 tells us that without faith it impossible to please God.  Grace is his work; faith is our response.  As Paul says in Ephesians 2:8, “For it is by grace that you have been saved through faith….”  Notice God’s work of healing and redemption (saved) is by grace AND through faith.  Not one or the other, but his grace and our faith cooperating.

What God wants to produce for us in this world must flow in and through us.  God wants us to be fruitful.  He wants to bless us and make us a blessing to the world.  He wants his redemptive kingdom manifested in the world.  He has provided all we need through the finished work of the cross and the ongoing work of his Spirit.  And we are the conduits.   Our participation is essential.  He has decided that he will do nothing on earth except through the willingly participation of human beings.  Why?  Because he gave us this world as our home to manage (see Genesis 1-2).  He gave us dominion over this world.  We are responsible.  And so his work of redemption must flow in and through us.  He will not bypass you or your will.  He won’t produce something without a transformation of your character and an alignment of your will.  He does not want to do something for you but with, in and through you.

This is why our intimate connection of trust and dependence on the Lord is vital.  That is why Jesus calls us to ABIDE.  This is why our character development is vital.  This is why we need our mind renewed, our souls sanctified by the transforming power of the preached Word of God.  This is why submission to his leadership and to healing community is vital.  Everything he produces must done with us and flow in and through us.

Want to start a friendship with God or deepen it?  Next steps.

Got thoughts or questions?  Your turn; comment below.