COLEMAN: Faithful in little, faithful in much

By Rev. Landon Coleman

Pastor, Immanuel

“One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.” (Luke 16:10) In this verse, Jesus was teaching his disciples a basic lesson about stewardship. The immediate lesson was about money, and of course Christians need to understand the biblical concept of stewardship when it comes to money.

However, rightly understood, stewardship is about being faith with whatever the Lord has entrusted to you – money, talents, opportunities, family, and influence – just to list a few possibilities. Nothing that we have is ours by way of right or accomplishment, and everything we have is a gift from the Lord – a gift for which we will one day give an account.

A helpful example of stewardship can be found in the life of Barnabas. Consider the following highlights from Barnabas’ resume. He was the first to befriend and recruit a great missionary (Paul). He was trusted with large missions offerings. He was involved in pioneering mission work. He was part of an important, pivotal church council. He was willing to separate from Paul to give a young believer a second chance.

These are great acts performed by a remarkable leader. Many young leaders in the church long for such a resume – one that gives them opportunity and status and recognition. It is at this point that Barnabas proves a helpful example of biblical stewardship. Long before Barnabas proved himself faithful in big things, he first proved himself faithful in little things. Consider the following examples:

The first thing we learn about Barnabas is that he was an encourager (Acts 4:36). His real name was “Joseph,” but the apostles nicknamed him “Barnabas,” which means “Son of Encouragement.” This is a helpful insight into Barnabas’ faithfulness in something little. One does not have to have title, position, or prestige to be an encourager. One only needs a willingness to seek out the good in others and to share a word of kindness to a fellow believer. You don’t have to have a special giftedness or a unique skill set to be an encourager. You only have to set out to speak true, gospel centered, encouraging words to another person. Long before Barnabas was asked to speak at the Jerusalem council, he was faithful in the little work of encouraging God’s people.

The second thing we learn about Barnabas is that he was a good steward of his money (Acts 4:37). Luke tells us that among the early believers, a remarkable spirit of generosity prevented any from having unmet needs. Those who had money or property understood that what they had did not really belong to them – it belonged to the Lord. These good stewards were willing to sell “their” property so that others might not go without. Barnabas was one of these generous individuals who sold a field that he “owned” and set the money at the apostles’ feet. Long before Barnabas was called to be part of the first missionary team, he was faithful in the little work of giving. It doesn’t take a special person to be faithful in giving, nor does it take a wealthy person. Only a person who is willing to be faithful with whatever the Lord has entrusted to them.