This article continues off of the concept I presented in my previous post, which I suggest reading before jumping right in here.
God is a God of stewardship. It’s something he truly values, and I believe that is evidenced from even the very beginning. He gave Adam the task of cultivating the Garden. Taking care of it. Stewarding it. After all, it was his home.
God desires that we steward the gifts and talents He blesses us with. This is especially seen in the Parable of the Talents and the Parable of the Ten Minas, where the master gives his servants talents or minas, and entrusts that they will engage in business and multiply what he gave them.
To the servant that was given ten talents and gained ten more, the Lord blessed with the one talent that the slothful servant (“wicked” he even calls him!). The master then explains an opertaing principle of his estate (i.e. an operting principle of the Kingdom): “To everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” (Matthew 25.29).
Stewardship, then, precedes abundance and blessing. We cannot expect abundance and blessing absent of stewardship and obedience. For what father blesses a disobedient child?
So then, our Father desires to His children to be fruitful with the blessings, talents, and gifts He has given us, and multiply them. Because after all, the Kingdom is one of growth and expansion.
Blessings and obedience
Now, I wish to clarify something here…
A withholding of blessings does not mean God is withholding His love from you. For even while you are disobedient, you are still your Father’s child. He never “shreds the adoption papers” so to speak, because of your disobedience. You will always be His son or daughter. He will always love you.
The reason, I believe, He refrains from blessing a son or daughter when they have been disobedient, is out of a desire to see their heart restored to its rightful position. Because disobedience is indicative of a heart being displaced from its rightful position, one that recognizes the love of their Father and yearns for Him and to please Him in return. So the heart of the Father is not to punish His son or daughter by withholding blessings (for punishment has to do with fear, which does not exist in perfect love), nor to use guilt or shame as a tactic to incite obedience. The heart of the Father is to have their heart back, and the relationship restored. For their is no greater blessing a man can have than union with His Maker.
What about the Parable of the Prodigal Son?
In the Parable of the Prodigal Son, an unruly son asks his father for his inheritance immediately (which is to say “I can’t wait until your dead… I value my inheritence over your life and our relationship”). He then proceeds to squander everything he has on drugs, sex, and rock and roll. Er… “reckless living.”
After he comes to himself and realizes his heartless and reckless actions, he sets out to return home, but not as a son but as a servant.
But while he was still yet a long way off, the father saw him. His heart lept with joy and he had compassion for his son, picking up his loins to run for his son, embracing him and kissing him.
The son confesses his sin, and asks to be given a servant’s position. He wishes to obtain a lowly identity. But the father orders the servants to being forth blessings, and the father declares to everyone the true identity of his son.
Based on this, my beliefs, laid out above, are seemingly, at first glance incorrect, since the father is blessing his unruly son. But I don’t believe so, for two reasons.
First, the son confessed his sin and had shown repentence. His heart had already broken from realizing his actions for what they were. There is no need for discipline in this case.
But secondly, and more importantly, the father blessed his son despite his actions because he was restoring his identity. The father was putting him back in his rightful position in the family. The father saw this as more important than disciplining the son for his actions.
Now, with that restoration of the son’s position in the family comes a restoration of the household rules. Being part of the family means the son has a familial obligation to do what is required of him. For if chores and tasks are not done, the house becomes chaotic and dysfunctional. And such is not the nature of the Kingdom.
So we as Sons and Daughters have a familial obligation to follow the rules of the House (the Kingdom). Disobedience does not beget a revocation of our position in the family. But until our heart is restored to it’s rightful position before the Father, we cannot expect to see blessings.
Luckily, the rules of the House are not burdensome (1 John 5.3), and are fulfilled simply through loving God and loving others.