Dedicated to the Master

May 23, 2024

In Return of the King, the third and final book of J.R.R. Tolkien's famous trilogy, The Lord of the Rings, we meet a character by the name of Denethor. This new character was the primary leader of his city. However, he was not the king. Unlike the other human cities of Middle-earth, the king and his entire line had been missing from the White City for several generations. In the absence of the king, a separate lineage had been established: the line of stewards. The stewards were to oversee the city, keeping it safe and prepared for the return of the king (thus, the name of the book).

In Peter Jackson's film version of the novels, Denethor the Steward is a bit of an unlikeable character. He is sour, sullen, and selfish, making him a bad leader. Because of his selfish attitude, he doesn't want to merely be the steward of Minas Tirith: he wants to be the king! He wants the power, wealth, and respect that everyone should give to the reigning monarch. Yet he can't just install himself on the throne because everyone knows a steward is to be loyal to the king no matter what.

Are you a Denethor?

Dedicated To The Master • Riverwood Church

While you are probably a far more likable person than Peter Jackson's version of the steward of Minas Tirith, sometimes we can act a bit like Denethor when it comes to our position and possessions. We see our finances, influence, skills, and time as being our own, rather than things belonging to the King of the Universe.

However, to truly be a steward, you have to remember that all that you have actually belongs to God. That means keeping it and using it as He has desired for you to do, staying dedicated to the Master. And what exactly does that sort of dedication look like?

[W]hoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. As it is written,

He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever.

He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.

2 Corinthians 9:6-11 (ESV)

Or another way to put it, a good steward:

May you enjoy being a steward of all that God has given you, so that you might be a blessing to those around you as you honor your King!

Erin Bird Lead Pastor - Riverwood Church

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Riverwood Church, Waverly Iowa

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