Excerpt from the Sermon by Pastor (Dr) Daniel Prajogo, Bethany International Church Melbourne, at Bethany International Service, on Sunday, 8 January 2017.
Now He was also saying to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and this manager was reported to him as squandering his possessions. And he called him and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an accounting of your management, for you can no longer be manager.’ The manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do, since my master is taking the management away from me? I am not strong enough to dig; I am ashamed to beg. I know what I shall do, so that when I am removed from the management people will welcome me into their homes.’ (Luke 16:1-4)
Whatever we have now belongs to God and we are only stewards of those belongings. However, one day we will be the owner (when we are in heaven).
Would you want to exchange 1 million dollars for health? If you agree many would rather keep the good health than 1 million dollars. Whatever you have right now will go off one day. You will never know when your time will be up.
Going back to the parable of the unrighteous steward, there are three things the steward experienced after he was told that he would be removed from his position.
1. Experienced a Radical Change in his Focus
So far, the steward had been living in the “now” focus. He changed to look at what happens in the future and this was a form of repentance.
2. Experienced a Change in his Lifestyle
He changed his lifestyle from spending for his own to investing in others. He started to invest in relationship and friendship with others. This is what the master praised.
3. Experienced a Change in his Value
He experienced a change in his value. He knew that the money would be gone soon. His value changed. Children of the world are wiser than children of the light because the children of the light do not invest in eternity. That is why some Christians are no different from the children of the world. However, children of the light have eternal life. Eternal life is not what we attain but what we receive by the grace of God.
As believers, there are two good news for us:
1. We have eternal life.
2. Whatever we have, we will not lose it if we convert it to eternity.
Let God influence your thinking. The steward was living the best life in the “now” moment but he changed that. Heaven is something that influences our life now. One of the famous quotes Pastor Daniel remembered since young was, “Those who never think of heaven will never get there.” Has eternal life changed our life? Otherwise it is just theological knowledge without any transformation.
“He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you? (Luke 16:10-11).
What will we do with the money that we have? Jim Elliot graduate of Princeton University went to the Amazon tribe to evangelize. He died there being killed by the tribes there. He had said that he could lose anything he had on earth, but what he had in eternity would not be lost. He was willing to invest in evangelizing to the people, despite knowing that he may die because he knew he was sowing for eternity.
Pastor Daniel shared about a good steward close to his heart – his mother. She set them to live as a good steward. She loved to serve the Lord and use whatever she had for God. In the early 1980s, she pioneered a church in Jember together with her husband and it is probably the biggest church in Jember town. Today, the church has a big auditorium, a praying garden and an English school. The church started with three people. They had to wait 10 years to get the permit. Six months after getting the permit, the local government revoked it. Despite that she went ahead every day to continue building with just two workers. She was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2015, and despite her condition, she served the Lord till the end. His mother’s life touched many people’s life. Although the doctors told her, after she had broken her hip bone, that she could not walk – she said it was ok as long as she could still go to church – albeit on a wheelchair. In early 2016, Pastor Daniel visited his mother. Although she was having some form hallucination due to the medication, yet when Pastor Daniel praised God, read the bible and prayed with his mother, she was still able to say amen! In the midst of her suffering, she kept thinking about the church getting an electrical generator to counter the unstable electrical supply. By the grace of God, the congregation from the Melbourne International Church sowed for eternity to bless the church in Jember with a generator, and today the church can proceed with the service without any disruption to the electricity supply!
Let us start investing in the Kingdom of God. Finish the race and keep the faith!