There once was a King who owned vast holdings. In fact, He owned everything! He was a good, wise and gracious King, kind and merciful to all who submitted to his authority. In His wisdom, he chose to divide His kingdom among many, many stewards. To each He gave a certain portion of responsibility, in keeping with their individual talents, abilities and tastes. Some of these stewards did very well in their assigned portion of the Kingdom. They took the gifts the King gave and used them wisely and well. Others did not – but that is a tale for another time.
When the stewards used the King’s gifts wisely, their particular corner of the Kingdom would thrive. But even in the midst of the most Kingdom-successful pockets of the Kingdom, there were problems. Very often these problem were of the stewards’ own making. They would forget to follow the King’s simple rules. And when they forgot, they would miss the target of the standards that the King had set. (By the way – these standards were set for their own good, to bring about abundant living because the King was all-wise. But that, too, is a tale for another day.) When the stewards messed up (as they often did), the King was gracious and kind, always forgiving when they asked. Unfortunately, however, problems and challenges would arise because of the wrong choices of the stewards – natural consequences of their actions.
But sometimes, the stewards had problems that were not of their making. The King had an enemy, a rival who thought he could be a better king. This rivalry began long ago and had already been resolved by the King’s beloved son, the Prince of Peace. However, the enemy still had limited time and limited power – his death sentence had yet to be imposed – and he used it to mess with the stewards of the King. The enemy and his henchmen worked hard to cause problems for the stewards – because the enemy knew how much the King loved and valued each one of the stewards. His favorite strategy was to make them question whether or not the King was really a good King, the best King. He knew that one of the biggest problems these stewards faced was their own forgetfulness. With the very best intent and all sorts of energy, they would zealously work their corner of the Kingdom. But in all their busyness with business, they would forget that their King was still The King. They would forget that He ruled over all. And they would forget that they had His power, protection and provision backing them as His chosen stewards.
So when a problem would arise, the stewards would take different approaches to the issues.
Some of them would put their heads down, take a deep breath and tackle the problem with all their might, without consulting the King or even thinking about His Kingdom agenda. They figured, “The King helps those who help themselves!” – although He had never said that. Instead, He had said, “Watch Me and do as I do. Watch my Prince of Peace and learn His ways. Learn from Me and I will teach you how to be a good steward. In this world, you will have problems. But I am bigger than this world and all of its problems.”
Others would quickly throw up their hands and take a seat in a corner, rocking back and forth, moaning about the problem to all who would listen. They would even go so far as to say, “Well, obviously the King has forgotten about me. After all, He is so busy with His whole Kingdom and I am just a little steward. No one cares – and especially not the King! After all, if He cared about me, I wouldn’t have problems to overcome.” What they forgot was that the King was all wise. He knew his enemy and had control over what problems He allowed the enemy to cause. Because, you see, the King had a deeper and wiser plan than the enemy. He knew that each problem the enemy caused could be a precious lesson for the steward, a way to help his or her corner of the Kingdom thrive. And He had already promised that to the stewards – “Whatever the enemy intends for evil, I will work together for good for you because you are a steward of my Kingdom. And even the problems you bring on yourself – even those, I will bring something beautiful from, if you will let me.”
Still other stewards would say “Let’s talk to the King about this problem” and would send a brief message to Him – but then would act as if He never got the message (although He always did!) They would use Kingdom-speak about the problem but they still secretly fretted about it, stewing over it, losing sleep, and constantly wondering if the King would really come through on this one.
And some stewards would work hard at making it look like they had no problems, because they were more concerned about what the other stewards thought of them than they were of the King’s good opinion. Everything they did in relation to the problem was image-management. But inwardly, they were dying. Working hard, doing all the right things, trying desperately to look “together” in front of the other stewards. But they forgot that the King could see beyond what the other stewards could see – the King could see their hearts. They were not fooling Him – and really, not anyone else, either.
But a few – a very few – wise stewards would remember this Truth. They would say to themselves, “As a steward of the King, this situation falls under my purview. It is my assigned corner of the Kingdom and I am responsible for what the King has entrusted to me. But, while this is under my purview, it is the King’s problem. I know He has all the resources in the world at His disposal. So I will send him messages about my problem, pouring out my heart before Him. And then I will wait to see how He directs. Perhaps he will fix what is wrong without my help. After all, His is the King of Kings! Perhaps He will send a message back about the problem through one of His messengers. Or perhaps He will use one of the writings He has already provided to guide me. After all, I have the riches of His wisdom at my disposal through His writings. And there are other wise stewards around me who He may send to help. Or, perhaps He will give me an idea of how I can fix this problem – a new insight into this situation. But, regardless of how the King chooses to address this problem, I will choose to do two things. First, I will send the messages. And then I will joyfully wait on the King, resting in His goodness and greatness. Because this may fall under my purview, but it is His problem.”
These stewards were choosing to not just know the King’s words but to actually live them out. He had told all of the stewards, “If you will put yourself under my authority in ALL things – every problem, every interaction with other stewards, every battle with my enemy, every battle with yourself – ALL things – then I will honor you. You will see me do amazing things on your behalf. Because when you humble yourself before me, the King of Kings, you honor My Kingdom and you honor Me. Wait for me, even when it feels like I am coming late. Trust in me, even when you cannot tell what I am doing. Honor me with your words – but more than that, honor me with your heart. When the enemy whispers lies in your ear, tell him the Truth about me – and about who you are in Me. Choose to learn My ways. Because My ways are the only way to real life – eternal life – abundant life. Study My teaching. And trust My power. But most of all, trust My heart for you. I am for you and not against you. It will be alright in the end. My Kingdom will prevail.” And the stewards that actually did this lived happily ever after – not just in their heavenly reward, but in the “Kingdom that has come on earth as it is in heaven” as a result of their choice to trust the King.
The moral of the story:
My challenges, whatever they may be, fall under my purview, but they are God’s problem.