Jesus once told of a wealthy man who went on a long journey. Before the man left, he entrusted his wealth to three servants. To one he gave five units, to another just two units, and to the last he gave only one. Each received “according to his ability,” Jesus said. The servant with the five units invested them and made five more. The one entrusted with two units also traded with them, and made two more. The servant who had received only one unit dug a hole in the ground and hid it, keeping it safe, he thought.
When the rich man returned, he demanded an accounting. The servant who had received five units but turned in ten was richly praised and rewarded. “Well done, good and faithful servant,” said the master. “You have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much.” The servant who had doubled two units to four received the same commendation.
The last servant, who hid his master’s wealth in the ground, returned what he had been given; nothing lost, but nothing gained. The master rebuked him harshly, calling him wicked and taking his stewardship away. Then Jesus set down this principle: “For to everyone who has more will be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” [Matthew 25: 14-30]
Stewards are entrusted with great responsibility. Those who lead are entrusted with a stewardship that comes ultimately from God and will be judged by him alone in the end. We are given a job to do and significant authority as a trust. We will shipwreck our leadership for certain if we do not remember that we are stewards, not lords, of all that we hold by trust.