Shhhh! It’s A Secret!

Pastor's Ponderings IllustrationBible Readings for the day: Proverbs 19:13-22, 1 Corinthians 4:1-21, 1 Chronicles 26:20-27:34
Meditational Reading: 1 Corinthians 4:1-2
1  This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.
2  Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.

Paul is a “steward of the mysteries of God.”  In Paul’s day, the steward was the chief slave in a household; he had the responsibility of managing the master’s household and making sure it ran efficiently.  The steward made sure that his master had everything necessary to live a good and comfortable life.  The steward also made sure that he carried out all of his master’s commands.  The steward knew one thing:

  • He was a slave, answerable to his master;
  • he was not the master (even though he had great responsibility in the household).

Paul saw himself in relationship to Jesus.  He saw himself as Jesus’ slave, doing whatever Jesus wanted him to do.  What a change in attitude!  Too often I want Jesus to do what I want him to do!  I want him to serve me.  This fact was brought home to me quite a few years ago on Maundy Thursday (the night of Jesus’ betrayal).  The worship service I used that evening suggested the possibility of the Pastor washing the feet of some of the members of the congregation.  My first thought:  “I’m not going to wash anybody’s feet!”  And it hit me, and hit me hard:  I am better than Jesus!

What a transformational moment!  In a very real and concrete way, our Lord reminded me that I am his servant, doing his will.  And it is his will that I serve the people he has entrusted to my care.  I am his steward; I’m not the boss; I’m not “in charge.”  Jesus is the boss of the church; he is in charge; he has entrusted his church to all of our care.

There is a second aspect of Paul’s statement:  He is a “steward of the mysteries of God.”  Paul used a common religious term of his day.  The mysteries were various religions that kept secrets from the people who weren’t members of the religion.  More and more mysteries were revealed to you as you progressed in the mystery religion.  One of the things you promised to do on initiation into the mystery religion was to keep everything you learned a secret from anyone who wasn’t a member of your religion or other members who were not yet at your level of progression in the religion.

We are steward of the mysteries of God.  Throughout the Old Testament the Lord promised to send his Savior.  Throughout the Old Testament the people were reminded that God needed to forgive their sins.  Their very worship life, revolving around the sacrificial system, was a constant, continual reminder that the innocent victim must die on behalf of the guilty sinner.  People perverted God’s message and sacrifices.  Instead of seeing them as God’s means of forgiving their sins, they saw them as things they did for God!  We cannot make that mistake when we look to the Cross and our God and Savior who died their to forgive all of our sins.  What God revealed in pictures in the Old Covenant he revealed publicly and openly in the New Covenant:  Jesus died for my sins and, because he did, I am in a new and right relationship with God the Holy Trinity!

Paul openly proclaimed the good new of all that Jesus did for us.  That is why the Corinthian Christians came to faith!  He may have been a “steward of the mysteries of God” but he didn’t keep those mysteries a secret.  Nor should we!

A prayer:  Lord Jesus Christ, thank you for coming into this world to show your love for me and for all people.  Don’t let me keep that love a secret, but let me share with other people so that they, too, will know your love and forgiveness as well.  In your name I ask this.  Amen!

Should you wish to access Pastor Kerner’s sermon archive, you can do so at

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 585 South St. (Route 75), Suffield CT 06078 USA  Should you wish to support this ministry, you can mail a check to the church.

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