Being A Servant and A Steward


Justice and Righteousness on the Pathway

Amos 6:1-14

August 11, 2019

Intro: Oprah Winfrey addressed the mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, that took the lives of dozens of people over the weekend.

The famous talk show host said in a new interview she feels the reason behind the latest string of violence is that people are “missing” a “core moral center.”

“Churches used to do that… It was a central place you could come to and there was a core center of values about a way of living and being in the world,” she added. “Until we can return to that, however that is, in whatever form, we will continue to be lost.”

This isn’t the first time the 65-year-old opened up about mass shootings. In May 2018, Winfrey penned an article for her magazine titled, “Why ‘It’s Time To Stand Up’ to Gun Violence.”

“All people belong to someone’s family. So, can we agree that all people deserve protection from senseless killings? Can we agree that all families deserve and have the right to safety, in addition to the right to bear arms,” Winfrey wrote at the time.

She concluded: “I hope and pray that you agree: It’s time to stand up, and stand together, for the sake of us all.” An interview with Extra’s Renee Bargh.

The core center morally was never the church.  It was Jesus.  The church preached that we were responsible to the God of the Universe.  If we going to know who He really is we need to now Jesus as our Savior.  People are not missing a core moral center they are missing Jesus as the center and focus of their lives. God knows us, He created us and He knows what we need.  We must be born again and after that to know that we to be servants of His and stewards under His command.

We can only really love and care for others is we do it under the direction and power of God, who loves them more.  Who we marry, How we raise our children, our career path and how we work at it and how we interact with people is to be guided by serving God and people. We are to do it God’s way because we are under His command and authority.

Israel’s leaders had become so self-centered and addicted to the good life that they could not and would not follow God’s pathway for them.  They enjoyed being on top and to stay there they they were willing to abused anyone they could.  The leaders got to where they were because God allowed that in their life.  But like the story of the church at Ephesus in the second chapter of Revelation – they “had left their first love”.  This is our Father’s world and He has called us to be His servants and stewards while on this earth.  The people who were called by His name refused to surrender to God.  God loved them and the whole world so much that He had to act decisively against Israel.  The lives and souls of that generation up to and past the one we live in now was in the balance.

Once more God speaks to Amos and communicates God’s displeasure for what Israel is doing.

Amos presents a series of “This is what you are doing and this is what I am going to do to you.  God is going to be moving in their lives in a way that they have not anticipated.

 Woe to those lounging in luxury at Jerusalem and Samaria, so famous and popular among the people of Israel. 2 Go over to Calneh and see what happened there; then go to great Hamath and down to Gath in the Philistines’ land. Once they were better and greater than you, but look at them now. 3 You push away all thought of punishment awaiting you, but by your deeds you bring the Day of Judgment near.

The cities listed here could not control their destiny. God basically asks; Do you think you are exempt from God’s mighty arm, also? You live in luxury that is based on abusing others.  You think this is the good life. You think things are peaceful and yet you are about to experience God’s judgment. Your unrighteous deeds and abuse of justice is hastening the Day of the Lord.

Do you remember me talking about the Day of the Lord?  Israel new that the Day of the Lord was going to be bad news for the enemies of God.  But they missed, that they had become the enemy of God. God declared they were really living it up on the dime of the people of Israel.

They were being judged for what they did and didn’t do.

4 You lie on ivory beds surrounded with luxury, eating the meat of the tenderest lambs and the choicest calves. 5 You sing idle songs to the sound of the harp and fancy yourselves to be great musicians as King David was.

They really were living the good life. God said, “You enjoy the best life has to offer. You have it so good that you try to write new songs about a god who supports your behavior.  You are so oblivious that your create new instruments of worship for your self-worship songs.  Sadly, your worship songs do not change your lives. The music is empty because you sing songs like “How Great I Art”. “I Surrender Some”. You think you can write better songs than King David. He worshipped Me.  Your songs lift you up as the ones to be worshipped.

God continues to condemn their frivolous lifestyle.

6 You drink wine by the bucketful and perfume yourselves with sweet ointments, caring nothing at all that your brothers need your help. 7 Therefore you will be the first to be taken as slaves; suddenly your revelry will end.

God says; I admire how you guys are taking good care of yourselves.  You have the best wine.  You smell so good and your skin is so soft but do you know what is going on in the lives of the people you are responsible for?  You don’t and you don’t care”.

Oh, I see you have the drapes closed.  That is going to be bad for you.  You won’t see your enemy come over the hill.  All of a sudden, they will be at your door and you will be taken captive first and no one will help you.  You kept others from the Lord and from His resources so how can they help you?

You will be afraid when this happens but you why were not in awe of Me in your daily life?  Your worship kept you from celebrating how my nature and character brought great blessing in your life.  You know it now!

8 Jehovah the Almighty Lord has sworn by his own name, “I despise the pride and false glory of Israel and hate their beautiful homes. I will turn over this city and everything in it to her enemies.”

God is not finished for He says; Your great success and beautiful cities show your glory not My glory in your lives.  It is not what I want and thus I will give it to your enemies.  You will get to carry your ivory furniture into captivity, but only to furnish the homes of those you will serve.  You will be able to carry your perfumes and oils into captivity but you will be anointing your captors with them.  They will smell so good.

God’s judgement will be harsh but it will lead to our salvation today.

9 If there are as few as ten of them left and only one house, they too will perish. 10 A man’s uncle will be the only one left to bury him, and when he goes in to carry his body from the house, he will ask the only one still alive inside, “Are any others left?” And the answer will be, “No,” and he will add, “Shhh . . . don’t mention the name of the Lord—he might hear you.”

The whole nation will be affected on that day.  Even in the day of destruction people won’t acknowledge God.  As they say; Don’t say a thing about God, He did not do this to us. Still in denial.

11 For the Lord commanded this: that homes both great and small should be smashed to pieces. 

All of this destruction and defeat is at the hand of God.  Big and little homes will be destroyed.  No one is exempt.  By the way the wealthy and the leadership lived, they were responsible for God’s judgement to fall on all of Israel. The ordinary citizens were responsible for their actions but the leaders of Israel did nothing to turn the hearts of people to the Lord. They set an example of me first and take care of yourselves because no one else will.

God points out how ridiculous the actions of the leaders were.

12 Can horses run on rocks? Can oxen plow the sea? Who could even think about doing something like this?  Stupid even to ask—but no more stupid than what you do when you make a mockery of justice and corrupt and sour all that should be good and right. 13 And just as stupid is your rejoicing in how great you are when you are less than nothing—and priding yourselves on your own tiny power!

But God asks; How can you think that it is okay to use God’s laws to abuse your fellow citizens of Israel? You think the way that you have corrupted justice and care for each other is okay with God? How can you be so stinking blind?  Does God say stinking?

The New American Standard verse mentions LoDebar and Karnaim as two battles Israel had recently won.  They were very insignificant cities with no defense.

There wins were like this.  I bought a new car the other day.  I am so pleased to have it.  It is a 15-year-old Geo Prism. It only has 95,000 miles on it. It will look great in my garage. Yeah, um. 

Did you really celebrate your greatness in defeating them?  That is what God is talking about when Israel prides itself on a meaningless victory.

14 “O Israel, I will bring against you a nation that will bitterly oppress you from your northern boundary to your southern tip, all the way from Hamath to the brook of Arabah,” says the Lord, the Lord Almighty. 

The cities mentioned in verse 2 and here rise and fall because of the Lord God Almighty.  God tells them that He has a nation to the north that He will raise up to bring them to a great fall and into captivity. The defeat and oppression will cover all of Israel. It just a few years this did happen.)

A servant serves and Steward acts as His master while under His master’s orders.

While the upper crust of Israel lived in luxury the poor lived with little.  The elite were concerned about eating the best food, focusing on idle interests, and enhancing their comfort level.  They were not concerned that people other than them were in need.  Worse than this is that they were not concerned in the spiritual wealth of the nation.  The life they lived so blinded them that they did not know they had drifted for from the Lord.  They were not even interested in the spiritual condition of the themselves or the people in the land.  They lived for peace but were hastening the day of destruction.

Before we begin to boo and hiss at the wealthy let’s remember that rich or poor or any other way you want to describe people not many are really in what God is expects or what He is doing.  The rich focus on themselves and so the poor.  Politicians focus on what they can get and we focus on what we want.  We want peace, prosperity, and the good life but we seek it outside the Lord. 

Let’s not live that way.

Let me sift this down this judgement from God so that we can take away a good word from God today that we can use on our pathways this week.

What Paul says in Colossians 3:23-24 says what God was expecting out of His people in Israel.

23 Work hard and cheerfully at all you do, just as though you were working for the Lord and not merely for your masters, 24 remembering that it is the Lord Christ who is going to pay you, giving you your full portion of all he owns. He is the one you are really working for.

We are servants and stewards of Jesus.  A servant serves and Steward acts for His master while under His master’s orders.

We Are Servants of God

Noun – one that serves others

Verb – serving others

We are not serving God we are serving with and for God.   God does not need our help.  He can take care of Himself.  He does allow us to His hands and feet we live as His servants.

He trains us through His Word.  He prepares us through life experience so that we know what it means to be His servants or followers.  That is why personal study, reflection and worship are so vital to our walk with Christ. 

Through surrender our battle cry is “Where He leads, we will follow!”. 

Through the study of God’s Word, we must never miss that we are called to live out our relationship with Jesus on the pathway that we walk every day.  How we interact with others, how we treat others, how we help fellow pathway travelers will make people say there is a servant of Christ.  That will only happen as we are being servants of Christ.

Jesus sees everyone as worth His death on the Cross.  It was worth it, for if they will believe they will get exactly what He wants them to have.  It is exactly what they need. This is the reason we share and care.   We are His servants who have been saved and changed by the love of Jesus our Savior but we must never forget that we are also His stewards.

We are stewards of God.

A steward according to it definition, as a noun is… a person who manages another’s property or financial affairs.

This is my Fathers world and all the money I have is His.

As a verb in action it means… that act of managing or looking after another’s property or business.  This is exactly what Colossians says; He is the one you are really working for.

The job we have is Jesus job we show up and do it as His follower and we get paid for what we do for Him.  We take His money and we give thanks by giving a tithe to Him.  We take the other 90% of the money that we received for serving in His place and we spend in in surrender to Him as well.

We make friends with family, neighbors and work associates because Jesus want them to be His friends.  He wants to have friends. He wants us to introduce our friends to our boss and supervisor. 

He wants us to live our life, like He is living it in us.  If it is consistent with His Word, He allows and wants us to add our own flare to it.  You wouldn’t want a whole church of “Steve Christians” any more than you would want one with ones like you, would you?

Another of God’s expectations is that we go out of our way to care for and stand up for those He loves.  He calls us to help the homeless, the poor, the disabled and the dis-enfranchised. To do it with intentionality.

Israel was accused of not caring about the plight of the rest of Israel.  Let us not be accused of this.  Pray for your neighbor, your community, your state, your country and the world.  Pray for spiritual renewal.  Pray that Christians everywhere would experience the abundant life that Jesus promises us.  Pray for God’s spirit to fall on us all. Prayer can turn the hearts of those who need salvation to call on Jesus.

Challenge: It is way too easy for us to fall into the easy life and to forget that while on this earth we are to know Jesus and to make Him known.  We need to go out of our way to minister to others.  A great way to do that is to care for people on your pathway.  Start there and in our obedience, God will expand who is on our pathway.

Live this week as a servant and never forget to be about your Father’s business.