In approximately AD 96, during his exile to the island of Patmos John the Apostle received instructions to record what Jesus revealed to him in a book (Revelation) including this message to the church in Philadelphia below.


Revelations 3:7-13

7  “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, ‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true, “HE WHO HAS THE KEY OF DAVID, HE WHO OPENS AND NO ONE SHUTS, AND SHUTS AND NO ONE OPENS”: 8  “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. 9  Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie—indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. 10  Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.

11  Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. 12  He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name. 13  “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ‘

Observation questions

Notes: The town of Philadelphia (translated “brotherly love”, today Alasehir in Trukey) was a small town in the hills 30 miles southeast of Sardis. Although the town was prosperous due to its trade (being the gateway to central Asia) and wine production, trade route and had healthy trade the town remained small due to frequent earthquakes, prompting citizens to live outside its walls. Jesus revelation as One having “the Key of David” phrase is a quotation from Isaiah 22:20-23, where the key of the house of David was given to Eliakim, indicating entrustment of authority.

  1. Complete the Revelation seriestable below by answering these questions (2:18-29):
  • How does Christ reveal himself to this congregation?
  • What does Christ commend in this congregation?
  • What does Christ condemn in this congregation?
  • What does Christ exhort in this congregation?
  • What does Christ warn this congregation of?
  • What does Christ promiseto this congregation?
  1. Consider how Jesus reveals Himself to this church. Why would he introduce himself as “Holy / True / the One holding the Key of David”?
  2. What does it mean that Jesus “place(s) before them an open door…”?
  3. Look at verse 8. Why does Jesus place before them an “open door…”?  What do you learn about patience and faithful endurance?
  4. Consider how this church suffered (including earthquakes, persecution alluded to in verse 8). How does God comfort this church? What does that mean?
  5. What is Jesus calling this church to “overcome”?
  6. Considering the context of this town, why would it be comforting that Jesus promises to make the overcomer to be placed as a “pillar in the temple of God” forever?

Reflection questions

  1. The church in Philadelphia was suffering from the frequent earthquakes along with the people in the city. In addition, they suffered harsh, constant persecution from the people they were ministering to. Yet they did not leave the town, but rather remained as a faithful witnesses to Christ’s loving grace in a town which did not receive them.
  • In which way can you identify with the temptation to pack up your things and run away, yet you patiently endured hardship and remained faithful to where God called you? What was the outcome?
  • As reward to faithful endurance Jesus promised unprecedented grace and opportunities to witness. Could you relate to this during times of hardship? Share!?
  • Note that Jesus rewards this congregation’s faithful endurance in this life (v8, 10), and the life to come (v12). In which way does the latter reward inspire you to remain faithful amidst hardship?
  1. Considering your current challenges, what does Jesus call you to hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown” (v11)?


Thank God for His grace with is sufficient for you, and make this declaration with Paul from your heart:

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose…. 35  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? …38  For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39  nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” [Romans 8:28-39]


The Character of a leader: Consistency and Faithfulness

God gave Joseph a promise of leadership, and for 12 years he suffered rejection, enslavement, imprisonment, false accusation and betrayal. Yet his consistency and faithfulness with God’s favor on his life caused him to rise from every setback until God could entrust him with the leadership and preservation of millions.

Learn as Danelle Esterhuizen shares how to grow in consistency and faithfulness as a leader (


Genesis 39:1-12 [After Joseph was sold as a slave to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh]

3  His master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD caused all that he did to succeed in his hands. 4  So Joseph found favor in his sight and attended him, and he made him overseer of his house and put him in charge of all that he had…

Genesis 39:20-23 [Joseph in prison]

20  And Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined, and he was there in prison. 21  But the LORD was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. 22  And the keeper of the prison put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners who were in the prison. Whatever was done there, he was the one who did it. 23  The keeper of the prison paid no attention to anything that was in Joseph’s charge, because the LORD was with him. And whatever he did, the LORD made it succeed.

Genesis 41:39-41 [Joseph appointed Prime Minister of Egypt]

39  Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has shown you all this, there is none so discerning and wise as you are. 40  You shall be over my house, and all my people shall order themselves as you command. Only as regards the throne will I be greater than you.” 41  And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt… 44  I am Pharaoh, and without your consent no one shall lift up hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.”

Observations and reflection questions

For greater context read Joseph’s story in Genesis 37-42.  The three Texts quoted above span about 12 years of Joseph’s life.

  1. Consider the consistency of Joseph’s character in three very different settings, each with similar results. To what does the Scripture attribute Joseph’s leadership success in each of these settings?
    • In Potiphar’s house
    • In Prison
    • In Pharaoh’s household [use your knowledge of the greater history here…]
    • What does this teach you about consistency and faithfulness in the character of a leader?
  2. Consider the background of suffering: how did Joseph…
    • …end up in Potiphar’s house?
    • …end up in Prison?
    • …remain so long in Prison before appearing before Pharaoh?
    • What does this teach you about faithfulness in the character of a leader, especially regarding unfair and unpleasant times?
  3. Consider the special mention of God’s activity in the life of Joseph in each of these texts: what was God doing in and through Joseph’s life…
    • …while enslaved in Potiphar’s house?
    • …while unfairly imprisoned?
    • …while governing Egypt?
    • What does this suggest about God’s plan and purpose with Joseph’s life in and through these 12 years?

Personal reflection and Application questions

In two dreams God revealed Joseph’s future leadership; he told his family was sold into slavery by his brothers. For 12 years thereafter Joseph suffered slavery and imprisonment, false accusation and betrayal. However, Joseph’s consistency and faithfulness made him reign in every situation, and paved the way for his ultimate life purpose.  He was faithful over little, and God appointed him over much. (cf Matthew 25:23)

  1. Joseph was a slave and prisoner; he had no control over his career or destiny.
  • How consistent and faithful have you been with the responsibilities given to you?
  1. Joseph was a man of integrity; in spite of the abuse and betrayal of his brothers, Potiphar’s wife and Pharaoh’s cup bearer, he remained consistent and faithful with what was entrusted to him.
  • How have you been treated unfairly in spite of integrity and faithfulness you have shown?
  • How consistent and faithful have you been in spite of unfair treatment?
  • Joseph cleared his heart from bitterness towards his brothers and the rest (see Gen 45:5ff); whom should you still forgive for their abuse and unfair treatment of you?
  1. God is looking for consistence and faithful where you are now – in preparation for your promotion and his greater entrustment. Of what is the Spirit convicting you with regards to consistency and faithfulness? Pray about it and share that with a prayer friend.


Thank God for your growth in faithfulness and constancy, ask him for grace to grow in greater consistency and faithfulness so you may serve and represent him better.

The Character of a leader: Consistency, Faithfulness

Joyce Meyer simply defines faithfulness or consistency as “doing something right not only once,  but doing something right over and over and over and over.”  It sounds simple, but how do you do it?  What is the key to being consistent, to being faithful? 

Before we embark on our devotional study regarding faithfulness today, let us get a broader contemporary view of it from this brief introduction by Danelle Esterhuizen today (


1 Corinthians 4:1-5

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. 3  But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. 4  For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. 5  Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.

Observations and reflection questions

Context: In 1 Corinthians 4:1-5 Paul is defending his apostleship (leadership) over the Corinthian church.

  1. What are the two key word by which Paul explains his leadership to the Corinthians in verse 1?
  2. How do you understand the link between apostleship, servitude and stewardship? [verses 1-2] And
    • In general, how is this applicable to every sphere of leadership?
  3. According to Paul, what is the key requirement of leadership (and entrustment of authority for responsibility) then? [verse 2]
  4. Paul refers to “being judged” in verses 3-5.
    • Judgment about what? [hint: verse 3 starts after the last word in verse 2…]
    • What is Paul’s attitude towards human opinion or judgment of him [in verse 3]? And considering the context mentioned above, why does Paul need to say this?
    • In your own words, what is Paul’s attitude towards judging himself? [verse 3-4]
    • Whose opinion or judgment regarding his leadership is Paul focused on? And why? [verses 4-5]
  1. From this text, who ultimately determines whether one has been faithful with what was entrusted to him/her?
  2. What (a) attitude and (b) character quality made Paul’s leadership over the Corinthian churches so consistent IN SPITE OF THEIR RESISTANCE AND UNFAITHFULNESS.

Personal reflection and Application questions

In spite of the Corinthian church’s resistance to Paul’s leadership over them, he graciously affirmed and asserted apostleship over them in great humility.  He remained confident and consistent in this, because leadership to him was an entrustment and empowerment from God to Whom he will one day answer.  And that caused him to be faithful and consistent.

  1. Consider your present and past experiences of leadership. How did each of the following instances influence your leadership confidence and actions?
  • instances of criticism or resistance from people.
  • instances of praise from people.
  • instances of (perceived) failure under your leadership
  • instances of (perceived) great success under your leadership
  1. How susceptible are you to self-criticism? What can you learn from Paul’s example above?
  2. In your present and past leadership responsibility and actions, how aware are you of God’s (a) entrustment, (b) empowerment, and (c) estimation / judgment?


Prayerfully consider and thank God for what he has entrusted to you, and pray for grace that your eyes may always be towards Jesus your Master as you serve him, regardless of the comments of the people or the relative success of your actions.  Pray that you may hear the words Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” (Matthew 25:23)

Marriage 5 – faithfulness

The aim of this devotional study is to reflect on the nature and consequence of the wedding vows – a promise of devotion.


Malachi 2:14-16

14  But you say, “Why does [the Lord not answer our prayers]?” Because the LORD was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. 15  Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. 16  “For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the LORD, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the LORD of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.”

1 Peter 3:7

7  Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.


Context: Malachi prophesied in about 4000BC in the newly restored Jerusalem to Jews religiously observing the ceremonial rituals; however they missed the intent of the Law. Peter wrote to scattered and persecuted Jewish Christians throughout the Roman empire in AD45.

  1. Consider Malachi 2:14-16
    1. Summarize the prophet’s appeal in one sentence.
    2. The word “faithless” is used three times. What does the word mean in this context?
    3. The prophet accuses his hearers of being “faithless” (v14) – what does that suggest of the culture of the day? And considering the audience why should that surprise you?
    4. Suggest a few synonyms for “faithlessness” in this context.
    5. What are the consequences of this “faithlessness”? [hint: verses 14a and 16a]
    6. What do you understand under “covering his garment with violence”? (verse 16)
  2. There is much similarity between the two Texts above: both written by Jews to Jewish audiences about marriage and unanswered prayers (450 years apart).
    1. Why according to Malachi are the prayers of his hearers unanswered?
    2. Why according to Peter are the prayers of his readers unanswered?
    3. How does “faithfulness” and “honour” in marriage relate to each other? [hint: how do you get married…? What do we do during the wedding ceremony…?]
    4. What does that suggest about God’s intent for marriage?

Personal reflection and Prayer

Marriage is covenant of companionship.  It’s a pledge of devotion, a promise of loyalty to each other in mind, heart and body.  Marriage requires faithfulness.

  1. What is commonly regarded as the most destructive act of betrayal within a marriage?
    1. Typically, how does that start? And how does it escalate?
    2. What are the typical emotional consequences for the guilty party within the marriage?
    3. What are the typical emotional consequences for the innocent party within the marriage?
    4. Describe the long-lasting effects of such betrayal in the married couple, should it survive the betrayal?
    5. Describe the long-lasting effects of such betrayal in the married couple, should the marriage end in divorce.
    6. What then is the ultimate cost of such an act of betrayal/ unfaithfulness / dishonor?
  2. How could one maintain marital faithfulness in (a) mind, (b) heart and emotions, and (c) body in such a perverse society with a low regard for the marriage covenant?
  3. Malachi instructed his readers to “guard themselves in your spirit” (v15 and 16). How could you “guard yourself” against such unfaithfulness?
  4. One way of “guarding yourself” is to be “sober-minded and watchful in prayer.” (1 Pet 5:8) Pray that God will keep you from temptation, and preserve your moral holiness in mind, heart and body.

Marriage 2 – covenant

The aim of this devotional study is to consider the nature of the marriage relationship.


Malachi 2:14-16

14  But you say, “Why does [the Lord not answer our prayers]?” Because the LORD was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. 15  Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. 16  “For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the LORD, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the LORD of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.”

Proverbs 2:16-19

16  So you will be delivered from the forbidden woman, from the adulteress with her smooth words, 17  who forsakes the companion of her youth and forgets the covenant of her God; 18  for her house sinks down to death, and her paths to the departed; 19  none who go to her come back, nor do they regain the paths of life.


Definition: A covenant is a formal, binding agreement by which one party binds itself to another for life.

  1. Consider Malachi 2:14-16.
    1. What is God’s main accusation against the religiously devout Jews in this Text? Can you discern what practice he was countering?
    2. With what words does the prophet define marriage? What do you learn about marriage from this text?
    3. What are the results of defiling the marriage covenant from this text?
  2. Consider Proverbs 2:16-19.
    1. In one short sentence summarize this Proverb.
    2. What are the results of defiling the marriage covenant from this text?
  3. Both the Texts quotes above place the words “companion” and “covenant” next to each other.
    1. How does those two terms relate to marriage?
    2. What does that suggest about the nature of marriage?
    3. Notice that in the one Text “companion” and “covenant” is refers to the husband, and in the other Text these two terms are used in reference to the wife. What does this teach you about the nature of marriage.

Personal reflection and prayer

In essence, marriage is a covenant of companionship by which two people bind themselves before witnesses and God “until death do us part”.

The standard contemporary wedding vow reads as follows:

Do you [John] take [Jane] to be your wedded wife, to live together in marriage?  Do you promise to love her, comfort her, honor and keep her for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and health, and forsaking all others, be faithful only to her, for as long as you both shall live?

  1. Considering the Texts above, how does this typical wedding vow correspond to the “covenant of companionship” in the Texts above?
  2. For the married person:
    1. Was your wedding vow similar to this? Did you understand the impact of what you were doing when you made those vows before God and witnesses?
    2. In which ways have you been tempted to make an end to this marriage since your wedding? Why did you not do it?
    3. Malachi refers to God’s intervention once the wedding vows have been made. In which ways have you experienced God’s intervention into your marriage in your marriage?
    4. Partnerships are formed because “two is better than one” (see Ecclesiastes 4:9-12). What benefits have you and do you receive from this “covenant of companionship”? (You will enjoy this article on the Benefits of Marriage )
    5. Pray for grace to be faithful to “your spouse by covenant”.
  3. For the unmarried person:
    1. Why would you / would you not want to be married?
    2. Considering today’s devotional reflection, how does it impact your perception and expectation of marriage?
    3. Pray for your marriage partner and grace for faithfulness to one another.
  4. So you know someone close to you whose marriage is falling apart? Pray for them!


The Love of God 2 – everlasting

The aim of this devotional study is to reflect on God’s eternal love for you and your neigbour.


Jeremiah 31:1-7

1  “At that time, declares the LORD, I will be the God of all the clans of Israel, and they shall be my people.”

2  Thus says the LORD: “The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness; when Israel sought for rest, 3  the LORD appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you. 4  Again I will build you, and you shall be built, O virgin Israel! Again you shall adorn yourself with tambourines and shall go forth in the dance of the merrymakers. 5  Again you shall plant vineyards on the mountains of Samaria; the planters shall plant and shall enjoy the fruit. 6  For there shall be a day when watchmen will call in the hill country of Ephraim: ‘Arise, and let us go up to Zion, to the LORD our God.'”

7  For thus says the LORD: “Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob, and raise shouts for the chief of the nations; proclaim, give praise, and say, ‘O LORD, save your people, the remnant of Israel.’


Context: The prophet Jeremiah promises the restoration of Israel (the northern tribes) after their destruction by the Assyrians and exile from their land.  

  1. Verse two is a rich verse with much information. Find other synonyms that describe what these phrases mean in this context:
    1. “survived the sword”
    2. “found grace in the wilderness”
    3. “when Israel sought for rest”
  2. Verses four to six speaks of the restoration of Israel. In contemporary language describe the promised restoration.
  3. Concerning verse 3
  4. Why does the prophet say the Lord will respond to unfaithful Israel’s pleas? (verse 3)
  5. In the immediate context, what does the beautiful phrase “I have loved your with an everlasting love” refer to?

Personal reflection and prayer

Even in their destruction and exile the Lord has been gracious to Israel, faithfully preserving a remnant and eagerly waiting their pleas for help.  Truly, His love is everlasting!

  1. Do you sometimes feel that the Lord will grow impatient with you? Why?  Tell the Lord that.
  2. Have you ever felt that the Lord has given up on you? Why?  Tell the Lord how you feel.
  3. Take a few moments and mediate on verse three by mulling it phrase by phrase, memorizing it, praying it.
    1. In which ways have the Lord shown his love for you during hardships?
    2. In which ways have the Lord shown his love for you in spite of your unfaithfulness?
  4. Do you know a friend or family member that is far from the Lord at present?
    1. The Lord is gracious, patient, faithful – pray for that friend or family member now.
    2. Is there a message of encouragement you can give to him or her?

What is man 5 – Guarding your Spirit

The aim of this devotional Bible Study is to reflect on the spiritual nature of man, and the effect of sin on it.


Malachi 2:13-16

13  And this second thing you do. You cover the LORD’s altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. 14  But you say, “Why does he not?” Because the LORD was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant.

15  Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. 16  For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the LORD, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the LORD of hosts.” So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.

Observations and reflections

Context: the prophet Malachi calls for moral reform in Israel about 400BC, specifically focusing on the priests.

  1. In simple words try to define the problem (or sin) which the prophet addresses. [verse 14]
  2. How does God make a married couple one? [verse 15]
  3. What do you learn about the effect of sexual unfaithfulness on the human spirit?
    1. What does that suggest on the nature of sin in general?
    2. What does that suggest of the nature of sexual relationships?
  4. Malachi says the man who divorces his wife “covers his garment with violence” (verse 16) – what does he mean to say with this strong imagery? [hint: read the rest of the verse…]
    1. What effect does divorce have on the human spirit? [verse 16]
    2. Why do you think this happens?
  5. Malachi repeats the phrase “So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.”
    1. From this context, what does “guard yourself in your spirit” mean?
    2. In a more general context, what does “guard yourself in your spirit” mean?

Personal reflection and prayer

“We are spirits having a human experience.”  Relationships are at their core spiritual, and sexual relationships so much more intense.  For more on the spiritual nature of our sexuality read “It’s not just sex

  1. When were you the most acutely aware of your spirit? Reflect on those moments. What made you so aware of your spirit?
  2. In response to Malachi’s this word, how will you “guard yourself in your spirit”? [don’t rush over this]
  3. Reflect on your innocence and joyfulness and hopefulness in your youth; how has your spirit been damaged over the years? Pray Paul’s prayer for restoration and preservation of your spirit: “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Repentance 5 – a New Day

The aim of this devotional study is to consider God’s way for a fresh start, a clean slate – each new day.

This short song will greatly add to your devotional time study today. []


Lamentations 3:20-23, 40-42a

20  My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me. 21  But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: 22  The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; 23  they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness!

40  Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the LORD! 41  Let us lift up our hearts and hands to God in heaven: 42  “We have transgressed and rebelled [against You].”

Observations and identification

  1. Notice two related movements of the prophet Jeremiah in these two portions quoted:.
    1. Describe the first change (v20-23).
    2. What caused this shift?
    3. Describe the second change (v40-42a).
    4. What caused this shift?
  2. The prophet calls the nation to “examine [their] ways and return to the Lord!”
    1. What do you understand from “lifting” both “hearts” and “hands” to the Lord?
  3. Identify the following elements of repentance in this Text by identifying the verse and phrase that reveals that aspect of the truth:
    1. “Godly sorrow produces to repentance” (2 Corinthians 5:7)
    2. “It is the goodness of the Lord that leads us to repentance” (Roman 2:4)
    3. Repentance requires taking responsibility for your own sins.
    4. Repentance requires turning away from your sinful ways.
    5. Repentance requires turning towards the Lord.
    6. Repentance requires confession of sins.

Prayer and Personal Reflection

Pray slowly and repetitively through this portion of Psalm 24, allowing the Lord to search your heart and hands. As the Holy Spirit reveals confess and repent of your transgressions and sins.

“3  Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who may stand in His holy place? 4  He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, Nor sworn deceitfully. 5  He shall receive blessing from the LORD, And righteousness from the God of his salvation. 6  This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him, Who seek Your face.”

Stewardship 16 – rewards

The aim of this devotional study is to reflect on the stewardship and God’s eternal rewards for faithfulness.


1 Corinthians 3:5-15

5  Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? 6  I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. 7  So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. 8  Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.

9  For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. 10  According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. 11  For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

12  Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw,

13  each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is.  14  If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward.  15  If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.


  1. Summarize Pauls’ arguments in your own words in each of the following sections:
    1. Verses 5-8
    2. Verses 9-11
    3. Verses 12-15
  2. Paul speaks of Spiritual ministry in wo metaphors in this section:
    1. Describe the metaphor he uses in verses 5-9a (the believer’s spiritual life and the spiritual worker’s “vocation” – what is good in this metaphor, why is it lacking?)
    2. Describe the metaphor he uses in verses 9b-15 (the believer’s spiritual life and the spiritual worker’s “vocation” – what is good in this metaphor, why is it lacking?)
  3. In both these metaphors Paul refers to “the reward” for good work (verse 8 and verses 13-15).
    1. What does “the Day” refer to? (verse 13)
    2. What “test of fire” do you understand Paul speaks about in context here [hint: he is talking about “builders”…]?
    3. What do you make of verse 15, also referring to “builders”: If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”

Application and Prayer

In this section Paul refers to apostles specifically, and spiritual minsters in general who use their gifts to build into believers (churches and individuals); he promises that their ministry will be revealed for truthfulness when Jesus returns and they will receive a reward; they will not be saved by the truthfulness of their ministry, but rewarded for its sincerity.  This is certainly true for every calling: you will receive a reward, as Paul writes elsewhere:

Colossians 3:22-25

22  Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. 23  And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, 24  knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. 25  But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality.

  1. Stewardship promises rewards – good or bad, according to your faithfulness.
    1. Stop and reflect for a while on your work. Are you a good worker (or mother, or student, or… – depending on your main daily activity)?  Are you faithful with what the Lord has entrusted to you?  Write your thoughts down.
    2. Ask the Lord how you are doing with what he has entrusted to you. Ask Him about the rewards he has for you.  Write it down.
    3. What can you do to remind yourself daily that your faithfulness at work [your main daily activity] will have eternal consequences – that it will be rewarded eternally?

[This concludes the series on Stewardship]

Stewardship 11 – more than money

The aim of this devotional study is to reflect on stewardship – particularly related to time and your salvation.


Note: This conversation happened in the house of Zacchaeus, while Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem.

Luke 19:11-28

11  As they heard these things, he proceeded to tell a parable, because he was near to Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately.

12  He said therefore, “A nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and then return. 13  Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Engage in business until I come.’ 14  But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’ 15  When he returned, having received the kingdom, he ordered these servants to whom he had given the money to be called to him, that he might know what they had gained by doing business.

16  The first came before him, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made ten minas more.’ 17  And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.’ 18  And the second came, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made five minas.’ 19  And he said to him, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’

20  Then another came, saying, ‘Lord, here is your mina, which I kept laid away in a handkerchief; 21  for I was afraid of you, because you are a severe man. You take what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’ 22  He said to him, ‘I will condemn you with your own words, you wicked servant! You knew that I was a severe man, taking what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow? 23  Why then did you not put my money in the bank, and at my coming I might have collected it with interest?’ 24  And he said to those who stood by, ‘Take the mina from him, and give it to the one who has the ten minas.’

25  And they said to him, ‘Lord, he has ten minas!’ 26  ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 27  But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me.'”

28  And when he had said these things, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.

Observations and reflections

Note 1: A mina was about one fourth of the annual income of an agricultural worker in Jesus’ day.

  1. There are deliberate similarity between this parable of the ten minas and the parable of the ten talents (Matthew 25:14-30), but also a few big differences. What are the most obvious difference between these parables. [hint: how many did each person receive…?]
  2. Why did Jesus tell this parable in Zacchaeus house? [verses 11 and 28]
    1. Knowing that he was going to Jerusalem [read: suffering and death], what do you think he could mean in the parable with “A nobleman went to a far country to receive for himself a kingdom”? [v12]
    2. And who do you think did Jesus refer to as the “citizens” who “hated him” and did “not want him to rule” over them? [v14]
    3. Then, who would be the “servants” of the nobleman? [v13]
  3. In this parable each of the servants / stewards received one mina. What is the ONE THING each person on earth gets equal for which they must give account to God [hint: tick-tock…]
  4. But there is probably a something else which Jesus meant in the parable with the giving of the ten minas, since the servants of the nobleman-king received the one mina each, and not the citizens.
    1. What is entrusted to “the servants of the nobleman-king” while he is away, that they must “do business with until [he] returns?” [v13]
    2. What is implied with “do business until I return” [v13]/ [hint: what does the “Nobleman-King want multiplied when he returns to reign in His Kingdom”]?

Application and Prayer

  1. Each person on earth receives equal amount of time every day – and we must give account of that to God. Are you a good steward of your time?  Or do you tend to procrastinate or to waste time?
    1. Keep a time sheet of every waking hour today to see what you do with it, and when you go to bed tonight give an account to God of what you did with the time he entrusted to you.
    2. Pray for grace to “make the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:16)
  2. Believers are gifted differently, but what does each believer get entrusted equal from Jesus (the “Nobleman-King” in the parable)? Write your thoughts down.
    1. When the Nobleman-King returns he called each for account in “what they had gained by doing business.” Are you a faithful steward of your salvation testimony? Are you a faithful steward of the saving Gospel of Jesus?  Have your “mina” gained one or two more “minas” for the Lord?
    2. Pray to the Lord for grace to testify of Jesus’ saving grace with boldness. (Acts 4:29)
  3. Make good use of your time and testimony today – who will you invite to church in Sunday?