God is, in an infinitely higher sense, the Owner of all, than any employer can be said to be the owner of what he has. And the Church of Christ never will take high ground, never will be disentangled from the world, never will be able to go forward without these continual declensions and backslidings, until Christians, and the Churches generally, take the ground, and hold to it, that it is just as much a matter of discipline for a Church member practically to deny his stewardship as to deny the Deity of Christ; and that covetousness, fairly proved, shall just as soon exclude a man from the Communion as adultery.
Luke xvi. 2. -- Give an account of thy stewardship.
If you employ a steward to transact your business, you expect him to take advantage of the state of the market and of things in general, to improve every opportunity to promote your interest. Suppose at the busy seasons of the year, he should spend his time in idleness, or in his own private affairs, and not have an eye at all to the most favorable opportunities of promoting your interest, would you not soon say to him, "Give an account of thy stewardship, for thou mayest be no longer steward?" Now, sinner, you have always neglected opportunities of serving God, of warning your fellow-sinners, of promoting revivals of religion, and advancing the interest of truth. You have been diligent merely to promote your own private interests, and have entirely neglected the interests of your great employer; and are
At the judgment, we are informed that Christ will say to those who are accepted, " Well done, good and faithful servants." Reader! could he truly say this of you, " Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things," i. e. over the things committed to your charge. He will pronounce no false judgment, put no false estimate upon things; and if he cannot say this truly, " WeIl done, good and faithful servant," you will not be accepted, but will he thrust down to hell. Now, reader, what is your character, and what has been your conduct? God will soon call you to give an account of your stewardship. Have you been faithful to God, faithful to your own soul, and the souls of others? Are you ready to have your accounts examined, your conduct scrutinized, and your life weighed in the balance of the sanctuary? Are you interested in the blood of Jesus Christ? If not, repent, repent now, of all your wickedness, and lay hold upon the hope that is set before you; for, hark! a voice cries in your ears, "Give an account of thy stewardship for thou mayest be no longer steward."
You practically disown your stewardship of the wealth that is in your possession. By laying out money to gratify your own vanity and lust, you take off the keen edge of that truth, which ought to cut that sinner in two, who is living to himself. It is practically denying that the earth is the Lord's, with the cattle on a thousand hills, and all to be employed for His glory.
4. It implies the hearty and practical recognition of universal stewardship--that every thing you have and are--your being--life, health, body, soul, time, possessions, friends, all, are to be regarded and treated by you as in the highest possible sense belonging to God; and that for every thing, you are to give Him, as his steward, a strict and impartial account.