Introduction: How then should we live? After studying all of these
lessons on stewardship, now that we come to the last lesson, have you
changed your attitudes and your actions? We learned that God is much
more generous to us than He is demanding. We learned that being
generous, like our God, is the key to a better life. We learned that
generosity is not only about money, it is also about our time, our
talents, and our attention. We’ve learned that stewards must have
common sense. We’ve learned that stewards trust God. Let’s finish
this series by studying some passages from the Bible that help us
understand exactly what living the life of God’s steward looks like!

  1. Acknowledging God

    1. Read Matthew 7:21. What does this suggest a proper steward
      will do? (“The will of my Father.” Just calling Jesus’
      name is apparently not sufficient.)

    2. Read Matthew 7:22. If you were asked “Why should you go to
      heaven?” “What proves you have been a proper steward of
      God?” Would you give an answer like the one found in this

      1. If you could give such a powerful answer (I could
        not) would you think that you had been a glorious
        steward for God?

    3. Read Matthew 7:23. Wait a minute! Doesn’t doing all of
      these things involve the power of the Holy Spirit? No
      mere human can be a true prophet, overpower demons, or
      perform miracles! These are the very things that Jesus

      1. Worse, how can those who perform these powerful deeds
        be called “evildoers?”

    4. Let’s skip down a chapter in Matthew and read Matthew 8:5-8. Is this the attitude that you would expect of a Roman
      army officer?

    5. Read Matthew 8:9-12. How would this Roman army officer
      answer the question of whether he should go to heaven?
      (Obviously, he would not claim the merits of his deeds. He
      would claim the merits of Jesus’ power.)

      1. Do you see now what is wrong with the responses in
        Matthew 7:22? (These people claim their own works as
        the basis for salvation. These works can only be done
        through the power of the Holy Spirit. It is God who
        did these things, not the individuals.)

      2. Let’s assume that the people in Matthew 7:22 are not
        lying. These miracles really happened. Why are they
        evil-doers? (Clearly, casting out demons, performing
        miracles, and prophesying are not evil works. That
        means that the evil is claiming personal credit for
        these things. It is claiming that they entitle the
        person to be saved.)

      3. What, then, is the first “work” of a true steward of
        God? (Understanding that all that is accomplished to
        advance the Kingdom of God is done by the grace and
        power of God – and not the steward.)

  2. Trusting God

    1. Read Proverbs 3:5-6. What two things should characterize
      the life of a steward who understands the lesson we just
      learned in the previous section? (Trust God. Acknowledge

      1. What does it mean that God will make our paths
        “straight?” (Our life is uncomplicated.)

    2. Read Proverbs 3:7. Why do you think that being “wise in
      your own eyes” is contrasted with fearing God and
      “shun[ning] evil?” (This suggests that if we rely on our
      own wisdom, we would not shun evil or defer to God’s

    3. Read Proverbs 3:8. Does this seem reasonable to you?
      Trusting God, deferring to His wisdom and directions,
      makes you healthier and your bones stronger? We typically
      think that eating well and exercising brings health and
      strong bones! (If we defer to the wisdom of God, we find
      that a life lived in dependence on Him makes us

  3. Bringing Glory to God

    1. Read 1 Peter 2:11. Why does Peter call us “aliens and
      strangers?” (This suggests an attitude on our part – that
      we don’t really belong here.)

      1. What is the problem with “sinful desires?” (They
        attack our soul. Could this have something to do with
        the matter we just discussed, that trust and
        obedience make us healthier? If our soul feels under
        attack because of our wrong desires, our health

    2. Read 1 Peter 2:12. Will pagans accuse us of wrongdoing?

      1. Will they know that they are lying? (Yes.)

      2. Do we have a role in making sure that they are lying?
        (Yes. Peter tells us that living a life in accord
        with God’s will not only makes our life better, but
        it brings glory to God.)

        1. Notice the time frame: “on the day He visits
          us.” Are we going to see pagans give glory to
          God anytime soon?

    3. Read 1 Peter 2:15. What does this say about foolish talk
      and living a life in accord with God’s will? (This tells
      us that proper living will convince many that the pagan
      attacks on us are false, foolish and ignorant. That can
      happen now, it need not wait for the Second Coming of

  4. Peaceful Living

    1. Read Philippians 4:4-5. We see two connected concepts:
      rejoicing and gentleness. Normally, I don’t think of them
      as being connected. How would you make sense of this? (I’m
      not gentle when I’m arguing a point in court. (And even
      when I’m not in court my arguments are often not gentle.)
      This is undoubtedly due to the fact that I’m trying to get
      something changed. When you rejoice, you are content with
      your situation. This connects the two concepts for me –
      being content with your situation and the resulting
      gentleness of actions.)

      1. Notice the last sentence: “The Lord is near.” What
        does that have to do with being gentle? (Contrast
        what I just said (about arguing a point) with the
        people in Matthew 7:22. I’m falling into that same
        trap – thinking that my “ungentle” efforts will cause
        the change. The truth is that our God, who is “near,”
        is the One who powers the changes.)

    2. Read Philippians 4:6-7. Would you like to reach a point
      like this in your life? (This paints a wonderful picture
      of a peaceful life.)

      1. Will it be obvious to all those around you that you
        should feel this sense of peace? (The phrase is “the
        peace … which transcends all understanding.” That
        tells us that our peaceful attitude makes no sense to
        the world. But, it makes perfect sense to those who
        trust in their God who is near.)

        1. When I previously asked about “reaching a
          point” where you would have peace, I was
          thinking about a natural progression of a well-lived life. This seems to be something
          different, something that we can have
          regardless of what is going on in our life. Is
          that how you understand this text about “peace”
          that defies pagan understanding? (Trusting God
          gives peace now.)

    3. Read Philippians 4:8. Have you considered how much of your
      time is wasted thinking about things that, frankly, are

      1. Sometimes my thoughts are rediculous. I was working
        out in the gym when a scary-looking guy entered. He
        looked dangerous, and I think he wanted to look that
        way. As I was exercising, I was thinking about how
        he might attack me and I might defend myself. Some
        days later in the gym, when he saw we were lifting
        the same amount of weight, he spoke to me. We became
        very friendly – and he commented on how unusual it
        was that we should be friends. What should an old man
        who writes Bible studies have been thinking about
        instead defending himself? (Had I been following the
        Bible, I would have been thinking how I could bring
        the gospel to him! Although I started out on the
        completely wrong mental track, I ended up inviting
        him to my Bible study.)

    4. Read Philippians 4:9. What should we do with all of the
      lessons that we have learned about stewardship? (Put them
      into practice! The result is that the “God of peace will
      be with you.”)

    5. Friend, would you like to have peace? Would you like to
      enjoy a better life? Why not resolve right now, by the
      power of the Holy Spirit, to live the life of a steward of

  5. Next week: We begin a series of lessons entitled “Preparation
    for the End Time.”