“Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” —1 Corinthians 4:1-2
Usually, when we talk about stewardship, we talk about tithes, talent, or time given for the work of the Lord. Paul, in these verses, is not talking about these familiar subjects but about the stewardship of the “mysteries of God,” the gospel or “good news” of salvation in Christ Jesus, the greatest news ever known.
Paul was faithful in his stewardship of sharing this good news. While preparing a sermon on Paul’s “unknown God” in Acts 16:23, I began to study the context of this passage. I discovered that Paul, while traveling to Athens, preached the gospel in every town he visited. He preached in more than ten cities and established mission churches in each. In other words, he won people to Christ everywhere he went.
He was waiting for Timothy and Silas in Athens, and guess what he did? He went about sharing the gospel, winning people to Christ, and establishing churches. Think about it: in a short period of time, Paul and the other Apostles established Christ’s Church that has grown through the ages and continues today.
I have known people in the Free Will Baptist movement who were just like Paul. A few who influenced my ministry of stewardship were Bob Shockey, Roy Thomas, and Connie Cariker. Trymon Messer was another awesome soul winner who lived with the goal of sharing the gospel with at least one person each day.
This emphasis on the gospel is especially true among Free Will Baptist Hispanic church planters. Their whole life is consumed with sharing the gospel with the Hispanic people. Recently, in Mexico City, Pastor Fernando Bustamante was waiting at a bus stop. Two young men approached, trying to sell some artifacts of Mexico. They started talking about the good deals they had for these artifacts. Pastor Fernando began talking to them about the great deal God had for them. He told them they were sinners condemned in their sins, but God so loved them that He gave His only begotten Son; if they would trust Him, they would not perish but have everlasting life. After a half hour of talking, both young men accepted Jesus as their Savior.
I was blessed to come to the Lord under the ministry of W.B. Hughes. He exposed me to the ministry of “knocking on doors” in the town of Hamilton, Alabama. He made sure I attended soul winning Bible conferences and exposed me to preachers who were fervent soul winners. He introduced me to Icy Mae Frederick, a missionary to Haiti and one of the greatest soul winners I have ever known. Our church hosted mission conferences where missionaries told about preaching the gospel in other countries. Then, as Paul did with Timothy, Brother Hughes sent me out to preach and teach the Word.
The greatest need of the church today is to get back to the basics of being good stewards of the gospel. The Macedonian call is still clear: “Come over and help us!” The voice of God is still calling, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?”
Isaiah’s response was simple: “Here am I; send me.” How will you respond to the Lord’s call? And, if not you, then who?