Faithful investment into God’s kingdom is required
“Ship your grain across the sea; after many days you may receive a return. Invest in seven ventures, yes, in eight; you do not know what disaster may come upon the land.” Ecclesiastes 11:1-2
In his book, “Stewarding Life,” Paul Chappel makes the following observation about God’s measure of stewardship.
“When a church or business hires an outside accounting firm to audit their books, the CPAS are not so concerned with the volume of the financial transactions on the church or business ledgers. Rather, they check and double-check the accuracy.”
When it comes time for God to “audit” each Christian’s service, he will do so based on our faithfulness in managing the resources that he has entrusted to us, rather than the volume of resources we have managed. Faithfulness is God’s measure of stewardship.
“Moreover it is required in stewards that a man be found faithful.” (1 Corinthians 4:2)
Solomon was an expert in shipping and agriculture. Solomon had a fleet of ships, he kept them at sea, and years elapsed before he received a return on his investment. There was significant risk as there was no guarantee in shipping for the investor.
You could deal with shipwrecks, storms and pirates. But if we pay close attention to the wise council we receive here, it will tell us to assume the risk, load your grain and send it out to sea. If we do not send it out, we will have bread but not a thing more. We gain nothing if we don’t take a risk and “cast your bread upon the waters.”
If we only hold onto what we have, our resources will never multiply, which will inevitably lead to exhausting the resources that we do have. The key to having a continuous supply is using that which we already possess to grow God’s kingdom. This requires us to trust that God will do something for us that we could not do on our own. God can return a ship full of treasure — we know what he can do.
This means that we have to be obediently committed to God’s plan and take action. Make a commitment and look forward to a favorable return. Solomon knew his ship would not return for three years. He was looking forward to where he wanted to be in three years when he sent the ship out.
We need to invest wisely by diversifying. We do not know what disaster may come upon the land. We cannot send all of our grain out in one ship or plant all of our seeds in one field, we need diversity. Some ships will wreck, some will not. Some fields will produce greatly, some might not — diversify to combat the unpredictability of the future.
Christ has entrusted us to invest in his work. He will use our investment to produce eternal fruit and growth for his kingdom. This requires us to be faithful in giving of the time, talents and resources that he has blessed us with.
We must not take an overly cautious (nor reckless) position in the task of sowing or building. Time is of the essence. Souls hang in the balance. We will never reap a spiritual increase if we do not cast our bread upon the waters. “Be diligent and work while it is still day, because the night is coming when no man can work.” (John 9:4)
In Jesus’s name I pray.
(“From the Pulpit” is a weekly sermon provided by the clergy members of The Weirton Ministerial Association)