Let us begin this with a thought. During one of the pastor's conferences, we were amazed tosee how God uses people. One of the Pastor from Singapore requested everyone to avoid anything that can cause distractions. Things such as having coffee or cookies etc. I was inspired by this Pastor and upon visiting his Church, I was amazed to see the givings from their Church, and I thought this a good example of stewardship.
"For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master's money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, 'Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.' His master said to him, '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.' And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, 'Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.' His master said to him, '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.' He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, 'Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.' But his master answered him, 'You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For 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. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'- Matthew 25:14-30
Christ keeps no servants to be idle: they have received their all from him, and have nothing they can call their own but sin. Our receiving from Christ is in order to our working for him. The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. The day of account comes at last. We must all be reckoned with as to what good we have got to our own souls, and have done to others, by the advantages we have enjoyed. It is not meant that the improving of natural powers can entitle a man to Divine grace. It is the real Christian's liberty and privilege to be employed as his Redeemer's servant, in promoting his glory, and the good of his people: the love of Christ constrains him to live no longer to himself, but to Him that died for him, and rose again. Those who think it impossible to please God, and in vain to serve him, will do nothing to purpose in religion. They complain that He requires of them more than they are capable of, and punishes them for what they cannot help. Whatever they may pretend, the fact is, they dislike the character and work of the Lord. The slothful servant is sentenced to be deprived of his talent. This may be applied to the blessings of this life; but rather to the means of grace. Those who know not the day of their visitation, shall have the things that belong to their peace hid from their eyes. His doom is, to be cast into outer darkness. It is a usual way of expressing the miseries of the damned in hell. Here, as in what was said to the faithful servants, our Saviour goes out of the parable into the thing intended by it, and this serves as a key to the whole. Let us not envy sinners, or covet any of their perishing possessions.
From this parable, we understand three very important things... 1- Gift 2- Response 3- Judgement
Gift- Everyone has a gift. Even talent, salvation itself, skills, health, time, relationships etc. It encompasses everything.
Illustration: A succesful CEO decided to retire after 1 year. Instead of choosing a successor from people who knew or his family member, he calls all his executives. He hands them over a seed to each of them and told to do whatever they want for 1 year. One of the young executives among others planted the seed and took care of it. After 6 months, he started getting worried but kept on watering the seed. One year completes and all executives with their plants goes to office. This young gentleman goes with an emply pot. During the meeting, the CEO names his successor and points towards this young man without the seed. Everybody was shocked, however the CEO told that the seed I gave everybody was actually a boiled seed and to my surprise everyone in this room has something or the other. I am choosing this young man as my sucessor because of his Integrity.
People, do not be dismayed that your efforts look fruitless, be faithful to God and understand that you have a gift.
Response - No it is established that everyone has a gift. In matthew 25, verse 16 onwards, it talks about the response. When you are certain that you have a gift for the kingdom of God, you have excitement in your action. The verse says, "And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, 'Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.'" This was an immediate response.
American journalist as well as Pulitzer prize winner, Ellen Goodman once said, "Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work, driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for, in order to get to a job that you need so you can pay for the clothes, car and the house that you leave empty all day in order to afford to live in it."
If you have certain talents will you be keeping that for your self or share it with someone who may be in need? Unlike the abovementioned story, God is not just a CEO, but He is the architect of our lives. He doesn't want us to limit ourselves on the response, but to enhance our skills and multiply our gifts.
Judgement - What is the secret knowledge of the kingdom of God? One Hymn writer writes, "Must I go empty handed...". The secret is the 'Salvation'.
And he said to them, "Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you." - Mark 4:24
The work of grace in the soul is, at first, but the day of small things; yet it has mighty products even now, while it is in its growth; but what will there be when it is perfected in heaven!
Illustration: Once a violinists received violin which he realized that this is 200 years old. He knew that this is a very expensive musical piece. He took great care and used it to his full potential. He took great care not because he will sell it to someone someday but because he will pass it to someone else someday.
We will close with for important concluding points...
- God owns everything, we own nothing. - God entrusted everything that we have. - God wants us to increase or improve what we already have. - God can call ask anytime and ask for the account.
We hope you are blessed with todays sermon and seek out Lord to help you recognize your gifts and not only use it but also improve it and be responsive. We look forward seeing you again next week. God bless!