He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. Matthew 25:22–23
A few years ago I was meditating on the passage of Scripture above, trying to understand it enough to use as a theme for our plans for growth at Ironwood over the next few years. I used it a few times, and the phrase is in our master plan for growth, but it never really seemed to click as a theme; however, in studying the passage I came to a point of understanding a truth I had not noticed before. I share that with you now, because it has been in the very center of my thinking as this opportunity of increasing ministry has kept unfolding in front of us. I just could not get the thought out of my mind, while in my head I was screaming, “Why?”
This truth I continued to ponder: One of the things that brings joy to the Lord is to see His servants using what He has entrusted to them, using it well, and then multiplying their service to the point that the harvest for Him is increased. As a result of that good stewardship, the Lord invites His stewards to participate in His joy by both commending them and by giving them more opportunity (read “responsibility”) to produce fruit for His harvest.
Hearing the Lord say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant,” by producing eternal fruit for Him through good stewardship does not result in a vacation or a rest from work, but rather it results in being given more responsibility over “many things” to produce eternal fruit for Him. We should also understand that the Lord did not reward the faithful servant by giving him ownership, but by entrusting more of the master’s goods to use responsibly for the master.
We are pleased, yet sobered, by the realization of the
increased responsibility the Lord has invited us to share by entrusting us
with more of His resources to manage for His cause and glory. This
stewardship responsibility comes to us in the form of a camping ministry and
facility in northern California named “Wolf Mountain.” Our goal is to help
this struggling ministry as a parent would a newborn child—to “bring it up”
in the Lord to one day stand on its own with strength and conviction as His
obedient steward, fulfilling His cause through a camping ministry aimed at
reaching young people for the Lord Jesus Christ, strengthening families, and
serving churches. For that reason you will often see the phrase the "Ironwood Family of Camps” as a descriptive term illustrating our goal of helping this ministry grow up using our philosophy of ministry, principles of operation, and the method of camping as a tool for both families and churches in fulfilling their respective Great Commission responsibilities.
The real sobering fact in this passage is that the master always comes for an accounting of one’s stewardship, but in the end when someone asks us “Why?,” the answer is easy, “FOR THE JOY OF THE LORD!”
In the Lord’s work,
Ironwood Executive Director
And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
1 John 2:17