Commentary on "Stewardship"
Day 1: Sabbath Afternoon, June 6, 2009
This week's lesson begins with a short passage by R. Scott Rodin about Stewarship. He states that stewardship is not just about caring for financial resources—it is more involved. He makes the point that the term steward is misunderstood because our modern vocabulary doesn't have a term that carries the richness of this word's meaning.
The companion booklet, E.G. White Notes for the Sabbath School Lessons, features a three-paragraph quote from Testimonies to Ministers.
I have no issues with the brief explanation of Stewardship by R. Scott Rodin. The problems in today's lesson are found in the Ellen White quote in the Notes booklet.
"God has not given talents to men capriciously, but according to their God-given ability to use them." Ellen G. White, Testimonies to Ministers.
God does not give talents according to our ability to use them! The Bible says:
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone... All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills (1Cor. 4-6, 11).
God gives gifts "as he wills." The gift and the amount is the sovereign act of God. Another quote from today's passage in the Notes booklet is equally in error:
"God requires every human agent to consult the living oracle, and become thoroughly acquainted with His expressed will in all matters, that by diligently using the talents lent him, he may gain others." Ellen G. White, Testimonies to Ministers.
Nowhere in the Bible is this supported. As stated above in 1Corinthians, God gives as he wills. When we are faithful in the use of God's gifts, the increase is not for us, but for the kingdom of God. In the parable of the talents, the faithful servants didn't keep their increase, but it was all returned to their master.
The last paragraph of the Ellen White quote is even worse. Here is part of it:
"God would have us learn the solemn lesson that we are working out our own destiny. The character we form in this life decides whether or not we are fitted to live through the eternal ages..." Ellen G. White, Testimonies to Ministers.
We are not saved by how well we form characters. This is salvation by works! We are saved by trusting Jesus' finished work that was accomplished by His substitutionary atonement. We rest from our labors because He did all the work required.
Have you trusted Jesus? Are you resting from your works?
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