This past week’s Watchtower study went to great lengths to show from Scripture that we, men and women both, are steward for the Lord.
Par. 3 “…the Scriptures show that all who serve God have a stewardship.”
Par. 6 “…the apostle Paul wrote that Christian overseers were to be ‘God’s stewards.’ (Titus 1:7)”
Par. 7 “The apostle Peter wrote a letter to Christians in general, stating: “In proportion as each one has received a gift, use it in ministering to one another as fine stewards…” (1 Pet. 1:1, 4:10)”…“Accordingly, all who serve God are stewards, and with their stewardship; comes honor, trust, and responsibility.”
Par. 13 “Paul wrote: “Let a man so appraise us as being subordinates of Christ and stewards of sacred secrets of God” (1 Cor. 4:1)”
Par. 15 “We must be faithful, trustworthy….Faithfulness is essential to be an effective, successful steward. Recall that Paul wrote: “What is looked for in stewards is for a man to be found faithful.” – 1 Cor. 4:2”
Par. 16 [Parable of the talents] “If we are faithful, we will be rewarded; that is certain. If we are not faithful, we will suffer loss. We see this principle in Jesus’ illustration of the talents. The slaves that faithfully “did business” with the master’s money received commendation and were richly blessed. The slave who acted irresponsibly with what the master had entrusted to him was judged “wicked,” “sluggish,” and “good-for-nothing.” The talent he had been given was taken away, and he was thrown out. Read Matthew 25:14-18, 23, 26, 28-30”
Par. 17 “On another occasion, Jesus pointed out the consequences of unfaithfulness.” [We then demonstrate the point using another of Jesus parables.]
We show clearly from Scripture that we are all stewards. We show from Scripture that faithful stewards are rewarded and unfaithful ones suffer loss. We use Jesus parables regarding stewards to illustrate these points. We subtly introduce a change in our interpretation as well, for we used to teach that the parable of the talents applied to the anointed with a heavenly hope.
*** w81 11/1 p. 31 Questions From Readers ***
Since all three slaves are in the ‘master’s’ household, they would stand for all the prospective heirs of the heavenly kingdom, with differing abilities and opportunities for increasing Kingdom interests.
So here’s the question: What is our basis for extracting Matthew 25:45-47 and Luke 12:42-44 from this discussion and saying that the steward therein described only refers to a tiny group (currently 8, at one time, only 1–Rutherford) of men?
Luke 12:42-44 speaks of four stewards or slaves. One who, when the master arrives (a still future event) is judged faithful and rewarded with appointment of all his belongings. A second who is whipped severely, a third who is punished less severely, and a fourth who is cast outside. Doesn’t this fit nicely with all we have just learned in the article? Can’t we think of fellow stewards who might well qualify as any one of these four types of steward?
But just try to make these four types fit with our current official understanding and you may end up babbling in some corner—which is likely why we have never come out with a full application of this parable, but only stuck with interpreting 25% of it—the part that lends support to the authority that those applying it to themselves claim. (John 5:31)