Long Term Investments

Keith McFarren

November 17, 2019

Matthew 25:14-30


 


 


     It’s kind of a strange story, isn’t it?  In a world in which we are so focused on equality and social injustice for all people Jesus tells a story of a wealthy landowner who was preparing for a long journey. Before he left he called his three servants together and divided his money, or what they called “talents” back then between them.  But notice that he wasn’t fair in giving away his money; one guy got a lot of money, one guy got an average amount and one guy barely got any at all.


    


     Over the years the meaning of the word “talent” has taken on a new meaning.  In first century Israel “talent” referred to money but over the years, the definition of the word “talent” has changed considerably.  In today’s world the modern day definition of “talent,” means “a gift or a skill or some type of ability” all of which are actually a derivative of the original word “talent.”  So when we’re talking about a 1st century talent, we’re talking about a large amount of money but when we’re talking modern times, we’re talking about a talent being a God given ability or skill.


     So let’s talk in terms of today.  Did you ever wonder why some of us have a whole lot talents or abilities or skills and some of don’t have very many at all?  My son-in-law can do anything.  He can fix a car; he can build a house, he can do electrical work, plumbing, he has artistic abilities, and he can cook like a trained chef.  He’s one of those guys that can look at a problem and in a matter of seconds have it solved.  Me?  I just call on my son-in-law when I have a problem.


     God created us as equals which means we’re all equal in the eyes of God.  You’re no better than me and I’m no better than you.  We are all guaranteed equal rights under the Constitution. In an election our votes are all equal. But when it comes to our God given abilities, or our talents, we are all as different as night and day. When it comes to talents or abilities, God simply did not make us all the same, but by the same token we’re told in 1 Corinthians 12:7 that God has given abilities or talents to each of us and not just some.    


  • Some of us have great intellectual capabilities.  We can read and retain and process everything we read.  Some of us have trouble reading and processing what we read.  Some of us are good with figures and numbers…and some of us aren’t.

  • Some of us have creative minds.  Some of us are artistic and creative.  Some of us can project and articulate our thoughts.  Some of us are born leaders who can stand up in front of a group of people and feel very comfortable. Some of us can’t draw a straight line nor do we want to be a leader nor can we stand up and talk in front of others.

  • And then there are those of us who struggle at trying to find one talent or one ability that God has given us.

     

         But the important thing to remember in our parable is that each servant in our story was given something. No one was left out…no one was overlooked. You may not be a five-talent person, but we all have some talent or ability.  We all do.  And you know something?  There are a whole lot more people in this world who have just one or two talents than there are people who have five talents.

         When the landowner finally came back he called together his three servants and asked them to give an account of what they did with what had been given.  It seems that the five talent man and the two talent man each used what the landowner gave them and invested wisely and got a sizeable return on their investment which made the landowner very happy.
         But what about the one talent man? The one talent man did absolutely nothing with what he was given and had nothing to show for it…and the result was that the landowner became very upset with him.

         In the 25th chapter of Matthew there are three parables in a row: The Parable of the Bridesmaid, the Parable of the Talents, and The Parable of the Sheep and Goats.  And what is interesting in these three parables is that the same phrase is essentially used or referred to in each of them.  And the phrase is this: “after a long time.”  After waiting and waiting, the bridegroom finally returned after a long time. The landowner finally returned after a long time.  And in the parable of the sheep and goats the judgment came after a long time.   


     This is Matthews’s way of saying to us that we’re not really sure when Jesus is going to come back; but in the meantime, he’s asking you what are you doing with the talents or the abilities he has trusted you with?


     That’s what this is all about.  This is the issue.  God has given you a gift…a talent…an ability.  He’s given you something very valuable, something very near and dear to him and expects a return on his investment.  If you have the ability to prophesy, then prophesy.  If you have been given the ability to serve others, then by all means serve others.  If your gift is to teach, then teach; if it is to encourage others, then encourage others; if God has blessed you with the ability to give, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; and if it is to show mercy, then do it cheerfully (Romans 12:6-8).


     Whatever it is he has given you, even if it’s as small as a mustard seed, if you use it wisely, like the mustard seed, it will grow and grow and grow.    


     Regardless of what you think or believe, you have been given the ability to change the world.  You have been given the ability to show that God’s kingdom is starting to bud and to blossom.  Whatever talent or ability he has given you, you can’t set that talent or ability aside and think that you can just graciously give it back to him when he returns. 


 


     In his book, Maximizing Your Potential, Myles Munroe points out that as children of God we are not placed here by accident; we were placed here by God’s design, and it is our responsibility to be all that God intends for us to be.


     “The greatest threat to being all you can be is satisfaction with who you are.  What you could do is always endangered by what you [have already] done.  There are millions of individuals who have buried their talents, gifts, and abilities in the cemetery of their last accomplishment.  They have settled for less than their best.  …the enemy of best is good, and the enemy of good is the norm…and the power of the norm is the curse of society.  It seems like the world is designed to make ‘the norm’ comfortable and ‘the average respectable’ (Myles Munroe, Maximizing Your Potential, Destiny Image Publishers, 1996, 13).


     He goes on to say that those who have fallen into this trap of mediocrity “…have chosen to accept the fate of the millions who have resigned themselves to a normal life, with normal activities, in the company of normal people, striving for normal goals, at a normal pace, with normal motivation, with a normal education, taught by normal teachers, who give normal grades, and live in normal homes, with normal families, leaving a normal heritage, for their normal children, who buy them in a normal grave” (Munroe, Ibid, 16).


 


     What Munroe stresses is that we are to refuse to be normal.  Refuse the status quo.  Refuse to be like the rest of the world.  Strive to go beyond being average.  God has given each and every one of us certain gifts, certain talents, certain abilities and yet so many of us refuse to use them to the fullest extent.  I’ve been here now for over 7 years and I’ll bet that some of you have gifts and talent and abilities and potentials that I don’t even know about.  Gifts and talents and abilities that for some reason or another you’ve kept hidden from me and the rest of this congregation.  Gifts and talents and abilities that might help you and me and this church to reach out to our neighbors so that they might come to have a relationship not only with us…but with Jesus Christ.  Why are you willing to settle for less than the ultimate potential God has given you?    


     Maybe it’s because you’re scared.  Fear can be a debilitating emotion.  It affects people of every age, and every stage and every walk in life.  If you don’t believe me get on the Internet and Google “List of Phobia’s” and you’ll come up with hundreds of things that people are afraid of.  Fear of washing or bathing.  The fear of itching or of the fear of insects that cause itching.  The fear of sourness.  The fear of darkness.  The fear of noise.  The fear of heights.  A lot of little kids are afraid of going down the drain in the bathtub or shower.  That’s called the fear of engulfment – the fear of being swallowed up whole by some unseen force. 


 


     So what are you afraid of?  I don’t mean your phobias.  I mean, what keeps you from taking a chance?  What is it that keeps you from doing something that will really make a difference in the life of this church?  What is it that keeps you from doing something that will make a difference outside the doors of this church?  What keeps you from striving to make the most of what God has given you? 


     Way back in Deuteronomy Moses told the children of Israel: “It is the Lord who goes before you.  He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you.  Do not fear or be dismayed.” (Deut. 31:8)


     Jesus told the parents of a deathly ill child: “Do not fear, only believe.” (Mark 5:36)


     Jesus also told his disciples out on the stormy sea: “It is I.  Do not be afraid.” (John 6:20)


     So you see, with God on our side, we have nothing to fear.  We have the freedom to step out into the unknown…we have the freedom to step out of our comfort zone without worrying about failure or falling or fumbling the ball because we have the assurance of God’s continual love and God’s continual presence and God’s continual grace.  With all of this, what excuse do we have not to do our best with the gifts, and talents and abilities that God has given us?


Give of your best to the Master;
Give Him first place in your heart;
Give Him first place in your service;
Consecrate every part.
Give, and to you will be given;
God His beloved Son gave;
Gratefully seeking to serve Him,
Give Him the best that you have.


(John Groce, Give Your Best to the Master, 1902)  HFG #516


 


     That’s the story.  That’s the message of the Parable of the Talents – use what God has given you, no matter how much or how little.  Use it to the best of your ability and always do it for the glory of God. 


     Someday Jesus will return…and when he does you are going to be called upon to give an account of how you used the time, the talent and the treasures God has so graciously given to you.  He won’t ask how much you have done for him, but he will ask how faithful you have been with what you were given.  You see, the issue is not how much you have…but how well you used what God has given to you.


 


 


 


 


 


 


    


 


 


     


 


 


 


 



Long Term Investments

Keith McFarren

November 17, 2019

Matthew 25:14-30


 


 


     It’s kind of a strange story, isn’t it?  In a world in which we are so focused on equality and social injustice for all people Jesus tells a story of a wealthy landowner who was preparing for a long journey. Before he left he called his three servants together and divided his money, or what they called “talents” back then between them.  But notice that he wasn’t fair in giving away his money; one guy got a lot of money, one guy got an average amount and one guy barely got any at all.


    


     Over the years the meaning of the word “talent” has taken on a new meaning.  In first century Israel “talent” referred to money but over the years, the definition of the word “talent” has changed considerably.  In today’s world the modern day definition of “talent,” means “a gift or a skill or some type of ability” all of which are actually a derivative of the original word “talent.”  So when we’re talking about a 1st century talent, we’re talking about a large amount of money but when we’re talking modern times, we’re talking about a talent being a God given ability or skill.


     So let’s talk in terms of today.  Did you ever wonder why some of us have a whole lot talents or abilities or skills and some of don’t have very many at all?  My son-in-law can do anything.  He can fix a car; he can build a house, he can do electrical work, plumbing, he has artistic abilities, and he can cook like a trained chef.  He’s one of those guys that can look at a problem and in a matter of seconds have it solved.  Me?  I just call on my son-in-law when I have a problem.


     God created us as equals which means we’re all equal in the eyes of God.  You’re no better than me and I’m no better than you.  We are all guaranteed equal rights under the Constitution. In an election our votes are all equal. But when it comes to our God given abilities, or our talents, we are all as different as night and day. When it comes to talents or abilities, God simply did not make us all the same, but by the same token we’re told in 1 Corinthians 12:7 that God has given abilities or talents to each of us and not just some.    


  • Some of us have great intellectual capabilities.  We can read and retain and process everything we read.  Some of us have trouble reading and processing what we read.  Some of us are good with figures and numbers…and some of us aren’t.

  • Some of us have creative minds.  Some of us are artistic and creative.  Some of us can project and articulate our thoughts.  Some of us are born leaders who can stand up in front of a group of people and feel very comfortable. Some of us can’t draw a straight line nor do we want to be a leader nor can we stand up and talk in front of others.

  • And then there are those of us who struggle at trying to find one talent or one ability that God has given us.

     

         But the important thing to remember in our parable is that each servant in our story was given something. No one was left out…no one was overlooked. You may not be a five-talent person, but we all have some talent or ability.  We all do.  And you know something?  There are a whole lot more people in this world who have just one or two talents than there are people who have five talents.

         When the landowner finally came back he called together his three servants and asked them to give an account of what they did with what had been given.  It seems that the five talent man and the two talent man each used what the landowner gave them and invested wisely and got a sizeable return on their investment which made the landowner very happy.
         But what about the one talent man? The one talent man did absolutely nothing with what he was given and had nothing to show for it…and the result was that the landowner became very upset with him.

         In the 25th chapter of Matthew there are three parables in a row: The Parable of the Bridesmaid, the Parable of the Talents, and The Parable of the Sheep and Goats.  And what is interesting in these three parables is that the same phrase is essentially used or referred to in each of them.  And the phrase is this: “after a long time.”  After waiting and waiting, the bridegroom finally returned after a long time. The landowner finally returned after a long time.  And in the parable of the sheep and goats the judgment came after a long time.   


     This is Matthews’s way of saying to us that we’re not really sure when Jesus is going to come back; but in the meantime, he’s asking you what are you doing with the talents or the abilities he has trusted you with?


     That’s what this is all about.  This is the issue.  God has given you a gift…a talent…an ability.  He’s given you something very valuable, something very near and dear to him and expects a return on his investment.  If you have the ability to prophesy, then prophesy.  If you have been given the ability to serve others, then by all means serve others.  If your gift is to teach, then teach; if it is to encourage others, then encourage others; if God has blessed you with the ability to give, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; and if it is to show mercy, then do it cheerfully (Romans 12:6-8).


     Whatever it is he has given you, even if it’s as small as a mustard seed, if you use it wisely, like the mustard seed, it will grow and grow and grow.    


     Regardless of what you think or believe, you have been given the ability to change the world.  You have been given the ability to show that God’s kingdom is starting to bud and to blossom.  Whatever talent or ability he has given you, you can’t set that talent or ability aside and think that you can just graciously give it back to him when he returns. 


 


     In his book, Maximizing Your Potential, Myles Munroe points out that as children of God we are not placed here by accident; we were placed here by God’s design, and it is our responsibility to be all that God intends for us to be.


     “The greatest threat to being all you can be is satisfaction with who you are.  What you could do is always endangered by what you [have already] done.  There are millions of individuals who have buried their talents, gifts, and abilities in the cemetery of their last accomplishment.  They have settled for less than their best.  …the enemy of best is good, and the enemy of good is the norm…and the power of the norm is the curse of society.  It seems like the world is designed to make ‘the norm’ comfortable and ‘the average respectable’ (Myles Munroe, Maximizing Your Potential, Destiny Image Publishers, 1996, 13).


     He goes on to say that those who have fallen into this trap of mediocrity “…have chosen to accept the fate of the millions who have resigned themselves to a normal life, with normal activities, in the company of normal people, striving for normal goals, at a normal pace, with normal motivation, with a normal education, taught by normal teachers, who give normal grades, and live in normal homes, with normal families, leaving a normal heritage, for their normal children, who buy them in a normal grave” (Munroe, Ibid, 16).


 


     What Munroe stresses is that we are to refuse to be normal.  Refuse the status quo.  Refuse to be like the rest of the world.  Strive to go beyond being average.  God has given each and every one of us certain gifts, certain talents, certain abilities and yet so many of us refuse to use them to the fullest extent.  I’ve been here now for over 7 years and I’ll bet that some of you have gifts and talent and abilities and potentials that I don’t even know about.  Gifts and talents and abilities that for some reason or another you’ve kept hidden from me and the rest of this congregation.  Gifts and talents and abilities that might help you and me and this church to reach out to our neighbors so that they might come to have a relationship not only with us…but with Jesus Christ.  Why are you willing to settle for less than the ultimate potential God has given you?    


     Maybe it’s because you’re scared.  Fear can be a debilitating emotion.  It affects people of every age, and every stage and every walk in life.  If you don’t believe me get on the Internet and Google “List of Phobia’s” and you’ll come up with hundreds of things that people are afraid of.  Fear of washing or bathing.  The fear of itching or of the fear of insects that cause itching.  The fear of sourness.  The fear of darkness.  The fear of noise.  The fear of heights.  A lot of little kids are afraid of going down the drain in the bathtub or shower.  That’s called the fear of engulfment – the fear of being swallowed up whole by some unseen force. 


 


     So what are you afraid of?  I don’t mean your phobias.  I mean, what keeps you from taking a chance?  What is it that keeps you from doing something that will really make a difference in the life of this church?  What is it that keeps you from doing something that will make a difference outside the doors of this church?  What keeps you from striving to make the most of what God has given you? 


     Way back in Deuteronomy Moses told the children of Israel: “It is the Lord who goes before you.  He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you.  Do not fear or be dismayed.” (Deut. 31:8)


     Jesus told the parents of a deathly ill child: “Do not fear, only believe.” (Mark 5:36)


     Jesus also told his disciples out on the stormy sea: “It is I.  Do not be afraid.” (John 6:20)


     So you see, with God on our side, we have nothing to fear.  We have the freedom to step out into the unknown…we have the freedom to step out of our comfort zone without worrying about failure or falling or fumbling the ball because we have the assurance of God’s continual love and God’s continual presence and God’s continual grace.  With all of this, what excuse do we have not to do our best with the gifts, and talents and abilities that God has given us?


Give of your best to the Master;
Give Him first place in your heart;
Give Him first place in your service;
Consecrate every part.
Give, and to you will be given;
God His beloved Son gave;
Gratefully seeking to serve Him,
Give Him the best that you have.


(John Groce, Give Your Best to the Master, 1902)  HFG #516


 


     That’s the story.  That’s the message of the Parable of the Talents – use what God has given you, no matter how much or how little.  Use it to the best of your ability and always do it for the glory of God. 


     Someday Jesus will return…and when he does you are going to be called upon to give an account of how you used the time, the talent and the treasures God has so graciously given to you.  He won’t ask how much you have done for him, but he will ask how faithful you have been with what you were given.  You see, the issue is not how much you have…but how well you used what God has given to you.


 


 


 


 


 


 


    


 


 


     


 


 


 


 



Long Term Investments

Keith McFarren

November 17, 2019

Matthew 25:14-30


 


 


     It’s kind of a strange story, isn’t it?  In a world in which we are so focused on equality and social injustice for all people Jesus tells a story of a wealthy landowner who was preparing for a long journey. Before he left he called his three servants together and divided his money, or what they called “talents” back then between them.  But notice that he wasn’t fair in giving away his money; one guy got a lot of money, one guy got an average amount and one guy barely got any at all.


    


     Over the years the meaning of the word “talent” has taken on a new meaning.  In first century Israel “talent” referred to money but over the years, the definition of the word “talent” has changed considerably.  In today’s world the modern day definition of “talent,” means “a gift or a skill or some type of ability” all of which are actually a derivative of the original word “talent.”  So when we’re talking about a 1st century talent, we’re talking about a large amount of money but when we’re talking modern times, we’re talking about a talent being a God given ability or skill.


     So let’s talk in terms of today.  Did you ever wonder why some of us have a whole lot talents or abilities or skills and some of don’t have very many at all?  My son-in-law can do anything.  He can fix a car; he can build a house, he can do electrical work, plumbing, he has artistic abilities, and he can cook like a trained chef.  He’s one of those guys that can look at a problem and in a matter of seconds have it solved.  Me?  I just call on my son-in-law when I have a problem.


     God created us as equals which means we’re all equal in the eyes of God.  You’re no better than me and I’m no better than you.  We are all guaranteed equal rights under the Constitution. In an election our votes are all equal. But when it comes to our God given abilities, or our talents, we are all as different as night and day. When it comes to talents or abilities, God simply did not make us all the same, but by the same token we’re told in 1 Corinthians 12:7 that God has given abilities or talents to each of us and not just some.    


  • Some of us have great intellectual capabilities.  We can read and retain and process everything we read.  Some of us have trouble reading and processing what we read.  Some of us are good with figures and numbers…and some of us aren’t.

  • Some of us have creative minds.  Some of us are artistic and creative.  Some of us can project and articulate our thoughts.  Some of us are born leaders who can stand up in front of a group of people and feel very comfortable. Some of us can’t draw a straight line nor do we want to be a leader nor can we stand up and talk in front of others.

  • And then there are those of us who struggle at trying to find one talent or one ability that God has given us.

     

         But the important thing to remember in our parable is that each servant in our story was given something. No one was left out…no one was overlooked. You may not be a five-talent person, but we all have some talent or ability.  We all do.  And you know something?  There are a whole lot more people in this world who have just one or two talents than there are people who have five talents.

         When the landowner finally came back he called together his three servants and asked them to give an account of what they did with what had been given.  It seems that the five talent man and the two talent man each used what the landowner gave them and invested wisely and got a sizeable return on their investment which made the landowner very happy.
         But what about the one talent man? The one talent man did absolutely nothing with what he was given and had nothing to show for it…and the result was that the landowner became very upset with him.

         In the 25th chapter of Matthew there are three parables in a row: The Parable of the Bridesmaid, the Parable of the Talents, and The Parable of the Sheep and Goats.  And what is interesting in these three parables is that the same phrase is essentially used or referred to in each of them.  And the phrase is this: “after a long time.”  After waiting and waiting, the bridegroom finally returned after a long time. The landowner finally returned after a long time.  And in the parable of the sheep and goats the judgment came after a long time.   


     This is Matthews’s way of saying to us that we’re not really sure when Jesus is going to come back; but in the meantime, he’s asking you what are you doing with the talents or the abilities he has trusted you with?


     That’s what this is all about.  This is the issue.  God has given you a gift…a talent…an ability.  He’s given you something very valuable, something very near and dear to him and expects a return on his investment.  If you have the ability to prophesy, then prophesy.  If you have been given the ability to serve others, then by all means serve others.  If your gift is to teach, then teach; if it is to encourage others, then encourage others; if God has blessed you with the ability to give, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; and if it is to show mercy, then do it cheerfully (Romans 12:6-8).


     Whatever it is he has given you, even if it’s as small as a mustard seed, if you use it wisely, like the mustard seed, it will grow and grow and grow.    


     Regardless of what you think or believe, you have been given the ability to change the world.  You have been given the ability to show that God’s kingdom is starting to bud and to blossom.  Whatever talent or ability he has given you, you can’t set that talent or ability aside and think that you can just graciously give it back to him when he returns. 


 


     In his book, Maximizing Your Potential, Myles Munroe points out that as children of God we are not placed here by accident; we were placed here by God’s design, and it is our responsibility to be all that God intends for us to be.


     “The greatest threat to being all you can be is satisfaction with who you are.  What you could do is always endangered by what you [have already] done.  There are millions of individuals who have buried their talents, gifts, and abilities in the cemetery of their last accomplishment.  They have settled for less than their best.  …the enemy of best is good, and the enemy of good is the norm…and the power of the norm is the curse of society.  It seems like the world is designed to make ‘the norm’ comfortable and ‘the average respectable’ (Myles Munroe, Maximizing Your Potential, Destiny Image Publishers, 1996, 13).


     He goes on to say that those who have fallen into this trap of mediocrity “…have chosen to accept the fate of the millions who have resigned themselves to a normal life, with normal activities, in the company of normal people, striving for normal goals, at a normal pace, with normal motivation, with a normal education, taught by normal teachers, who give normal grades, and live in normal homes, with normal families, leaving a normal heritage, for their normal children, who buy them in a normal grave” (Munroe, Ibid, 16).


 


     What Munroe stresses is that we are to refuse to be normal.  Refuse the status quo.  Refuse to be like the rest of the world.  Strive to go beyond being average.  God has given each and every one of us certain gifts, certain talents, certain abilities and yet so many of us refuse to use them to the fullest extent.  I’ve been here now for over 7 years and I’ll bet that some of you have gifts and talent and abilities and potentials that I don’t even know about.  Gifts and talents and abilities that for some reason or another you’ve kept hidden from me and the rest of this congregation.  Gifts and talents and abilities that might help you and me and this church to reach out to our neighbors so that they might come to have a relationship not only with us…but with Jesus Christ.  Why are you willing to settle for less than the ultimate potential God has given you?    


     Maybe it’s because you’re scared.  Fear can be a debilitating emotion.  It affects people of every age, and every stage and every walk in life.  If you don’t believe me get on the Internet and Google “List of Phobia’s” and you’ll come up with hundreds of things that people are afraid of.  Fear of washing or bathing.  The fear of itching or of the fear of insects that cause itching.  The fear of sourness.  The fear of darkness.  The fear of noise.  The fear of heights.  A lot of little kids are afraid of going down the drain in the bathtub or shower.  That’s called the fear of engulfment – the fear of being swallowed up whole by some unseen force. 


 


     So what are you afraid of?  I don’t mean your phobias.  I mean, what keeps you from taking a chance?  What is it that keeps you from doing something that will really make a difference in the life of this church?  What is it that keeps you from doing something that will make a difference outside the doors of this church?  What keeps you from striving to make the most of what God has given you? 


     Way back in Deuteronomy Moses told the children of Israel: “It is the Lord who goes before you.  He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you.  Do not fear or be dismayed.” (Deut. 31:8)


     Jesus told the parents of a deathly ill child: “Do not fear, only believe.” (Mark 5:36)


     Jesus also told his disciples out on the stormy sea: “It is I.  Do not be afraid.” (John 6:20)


     So you see, with God on our side, we have nothing to fear.  We have the freedom to step out into the unknown…we have the freedom to step out of our comfort zone without worrying about failure or falling or fumbling the ball because we have the assurance of God’s continual love and God’s continual presence and God’s continual grace.  With all of this, what excuse do we have not to do our best with the gifts, and talents and abilities that God has given us?


Give of your best to the Master;
Give Him first place in your heart;
Give Him first place in your service;
Consecrate every part.
Give, and to you will be given;
God His beloved Son gave;
Gratefully seeking to serve Him,
Give Him the best that you have.


(John Groce, Give Your Best to the Master, 1902)  HFG #516


 


     That’s the story.  That’s the message of the Parable of the Talents – use what God has given you, no matter how much or how little.  Use it to the best of your ability and always do it for the glory of God. 


     Someday Jesus will return…and when he does you are going to be called upon to give an account of how you used the time, the talent and the treasures God has so graciously given to you.  He won’t ask how much you have done for him, but he will ask how faithful you have been with what you were given.  You see, the issue is not how much you have…but how well you used what God has given to you.


 


 


 


 


 


 


    


 


 


     


 


 


 


 


Long Term Investments

Keith McFarren

November 17, 2019

Matthew 25:14-30


 


 


     It’s kind of a strange story, isn’t it?  In a world in which we are so focused on equality and social injustice for all people Jesus tells a story of a wealthy landowner who was preparing for a long journey. Before he left he called his three servants together and divided his money, or what they called “talents” back then between them.  But notice that he wasn’t fair in giving away his money; one guy got a lot of money, one guy got an average amount and one guy barely got any at all.


    


     Over the years the meaning of the word “talent” has taken on a new meaning.  In first century Israel “talent” referred to money but over the years, the definition of the word “talent” has changed considerably.  In today’s world the modern day definition of “talent,” means “a gift or a skill or some type of ability” all of which are actually a derivative of the original word “talent.”  So when we’re talking about a 1st century talent, we’re talking about a large amount of money but when we’re talking modern times, we’re talking about a talent being a God given ability or skill.


     So let’s talk in terms of today.  Did you ever wonder why some of us have a whole lot talents or abilities or skills and some of don’t have very many at all?  My son-in-law can do anything.  He can fix a car; he can build a house, he can do electrical work, plumbing, he has artistic abilities, and he can cook like a trained chef.  He’s one of those guys that can look at a problem and in a matter of seconds have it solved.  Me?  I just call on my son-in-law when I have a problem.


     God created us as equals which means we’re all equal in the eyes of God.  You’re no better than me and I’m no better than you.  We are all guaranteed equal rights under the Constitution. In an election our votes are all equal. But when it comes to our God given abilities, or our talents, we are all as different as night and day. When it comes to talents or abilities, God simply did not make us all the same, but by the same token we’re told in 1 Corinthians 12:7 that God has given abilities or talents to each of us and not just some.    


  • Some of us have great intellectual capabilities.  We can read and retain and process everything we read.  Some of us have trouble reading and processing what we read.  Some of us are good with figures and numbers…and some of us aren’t.

  • Some of us have creative minds.  Some of us are artistic and creative.  Some of us can project and articulate our thoughts.  Some of us are born leaders who can stand up in front of a group of people and feel very comfortable. Some of us can’t draw a straight line nor do we want to be a leader nor can we stand up and talk in front of others.

  • And then there are those of us who struggle at trying to find one talent or one ability that God has given us.

     

         But the important thing to remember in our parable is that each servant in our story was given something. No one was left out…no one was overlooked. You may not be a five-talent person, but we all have some talent or ability.  We all do.  And you know something?  There are a whole lot more people in this world who have just one or two talents than there are people who have five talents.

         When the landowner finally came back he called together his three servants and asked them to give an account of what they did with what had been given.  It seems that the five talent man and the two talent man each used what the landowner gave them and invested wisely and got a sizeable return on their investment which made the landowner very happy.
         But what about the one talent man? The one talent man did absolutely nothing with what he was given and had nothing to show for it…and the result was that the landowner became very upset with him.

         In the 25th chapter of Matthew there are three parables in a row: The Parable of the Bridesmaid, the Parable of the Talents, and The Parable of the Sheep and Goats.  And what is interesting in these three parables is that the same phrase is essentially used or referred to in each of them.  And the phrase is this: “after a long time.”  After waiting and waiting, the bridegroom finally returned after a long time. The landowner finally returned after a long time.  And in the parable of the sheep and goats the judgment came after a long time.   


     This is Matthews’s way of saying to us that we’re not really sure when Jesus is going to come back; but in the meantime, he’s asking you what are you doing with the talents or the abilities he has trusted you with?


     That’s what this is all about.  This is the issue.  God has given you a gift…a talent…an ability.  He’s given you something very valuable, something very near and dear to him and expects a return on his investment.  If you have the ability to prophesy, then prophesy.  If you have been given the ability to serve others, then by all means serve others.  If your gift is to teach, then teach; if it is to encourage others, then encourage others; if God has blessed you with the ability to give, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; and if it is to show mercy, then do it cheerfully (Romans 12:6-8).


     Whatever it is he has given you, even if it’s as small as a mustard seed, if you use it wisely, like the mustard seed, it will grow and grow and grow.    


     Regardless of what you think or believe, you have been given the ability to change the world.  You have been given the ability to show that God’s kingdom is starting to bud and to blossom.  Whatever talent or ability he has given you, you can’t set that talent or ability aside and think that you can just graciously give it back to him when he returns. 


 


     In his book, Maximizing Your Potential, Myles Munroe points out that as children of God we are not placed here by accident; we were placed here by God’s design, and it is our responsibility to be all that God intends for us to be.


     “The greatest threat to being all you can be is satisfaction with who you are.  What you could do is always endangered by what you [have already] done.  There are millions of individuals who have buried their talents, gifts, and abilities in the cemetery of their last accomplishment.  They have settled for less than their best.  …the enemy of best is good, and the enemy of good is the norm…and the power of the norm is the curse of society.  It seems like the world is designed to make ‘the norm’ comfortable and ‘the average respectable’ (Myles Munroe, Maximizing Your Potential, Destiny Image Publishers, 1996, 13).


     He goes on to say that those who have fallen into this trap of mediocrity “…have chosen to accept the fate of the millions who have resigned themselves to a normal life, with normal activities, in the company of normal people, striving for normal goals, at a normal pace, with normal motivation, with a normal education, taught by normal teachers, who give normal grades, and live in normal homes, with normal families, leaving a normal heritage, for their normal children, who buy them in a normal grave” (Munroe, Ibid, 16).


 


     What Munroe stresses is that we are to refuse to be normal.  Refuse the status quo.  Refuse to be like the rest of the world.  Strive to go beyond being average.  God has given each and every one of us certain gifts, certain talents, certain abilities and yet so many of us refuse to use them to the fullest extent.  I’ve been here now for over 7 years and I’ll bet that some of you have gifts and talent and abilities and potentials that I don’t even know about.  Gifts and talents and abilities that for some reason or another you’ve kept hidden from me and the rest of this congregation.  Gifts and talents and abilities that might help you and me and this church to reach out to our neighbors so that they might come to have a relationship not only with us…but with Jesus Christ.  Why are you willing to settle for less than the ultimate potential God has given you?    


     Maybe it’s because you’re scared.  Fear can be a debilitating emotion.  It affects people of every age, and every stage and every walk in life.  If you don’t believe me get on the Internet and Google “List of Phobia’s” and you’ll come up with hundreds of things that people are afraid of.  Fear of washing or bathing.  The fear of itching or of the fear of insects that cause itching.  The fear of sourness.  The fear of darkness.  The fear of noise.  The fear of heights.  A lot of little kids are afraid of going down the drain in the bathtub or shower.  That’s called the fear of engulfment – the fear of being swallowed up whole by some unseen force. 


 


     So what are you afraid of?  I don’t mean your phobias.  I mean, what keeps you from taking a chance?  What is it that keeps you from doing something that will really make a difference in the life of this church?  What is it that keeps you from doing something that will make a difference outside the doors of this church?  What keeps you from striving to make the most of what God has given you? 


     Way back in Deuteronomy Moses told the children of Israel: “It is the Lord who goes before you.  He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you.  Do not fear or be dismayed.” (Deut. 31:8)


     Jesus told the parents of a deathly ill child: “Do not fear, only believe.” (Mark 5:36)


     Jesus also told his disciples out on the stormy sea: “It is I.  Do not be afraid.” (John 6:20)


     So you see, with God on our side, we have nothing to fear.  We have the freedom to step out into the unknown…we have the freedom to step out of our comfort zone without worrying about failure or falling or fumbling the ball because we have the assurance of God’s continual love and God’s continual presence and God’s continual grace.  With all of this, what excuse do we have not to do our best with the gifts, and talents and abilities that God has given us?


Give of your best to the Master;
Give Him first place in your heart;
Give Him first place in your service;
Consecrate every part.
Give, and to you will be given;
God His beloved Son gave;
Gratefully seeking to serve Him,
Give Him the best that you have.


(John Groce, Give Your Best to the Master, 1902)  HFG #516


 


     That’s the story.  That’s the message of the Parable of the Talents – use what God has given you, no matter how much or how little.  Use it to the best of your ability and always do it for the glory of God. 


     Someday Jesus will return…and when he does you are going to be called upon to give an account of how you used the time, the talent and the treasures God has so graciously given to you.  He won’t ask how much you have done for him, but he will ask how faithful you have been with what you were given.  You see, the issue is not how much you have…but how well you used what God has given to you.


 


 


 


 


 


 


    


 


 


     


 


 


 


 


Long Term Investments

Keith McFarren

November 17, 2019

Matthew 25:14-30


 


 


     It’s kind of a strange story, isn’t it?  In a world in which we are so focused on equality and social injustice for all people Jesus tells a story of a wealthy landowner who was preparing for a long journey. Before he left he called his three servants together and divided his money, or what they called “talents” back then between them.  But notice that he wasn’t fair in giving away his money; one guy got a lot of money, one guy got an average amount and one guy barely got any at all.


    


     Over the years the meaning of the word “talent” has taken on a new meaning.  In first century Israel “talent” referred to money but over the years, the definition of the word “talent” has changed considerably.  In today’s world the modern day definition of “talent,” means “a gift or a skill or some type of ability” all of which are actually a derivative of the original word “talent.”  So when we’re talking about a 1st century talent, we’re talking about a large amount of money but when we’re talking modern times, we’re talking about a talent being a God given ability or skill.


     So let’s talk in terms of today.  Did you ever wonder why some of us have a whole lot talents or abilities or skills and some of don’t have very many at all?  My son-in-law can do anything.  He can fix a car; he can build a house, he can do electrical work, plumbing, he has artistic abilities, and he can cook like a trained chef.  He’s one of those guys that can look at a problem and in a matter of seconds have it solved.  Me?  I just call on my son-in-law when I have a problem.


     God created us as equals which means we’re all equal in the eyes of God.  You’re no better than me and I’m no better than you.  We are all guaranteed equal rights under the Constitution. In an election our votes are all equal. But when it comes to our God given abilities, or our talents, we are all as different as night and day. When it comes to talents or abilities, God simply did not make us all the same, but by the same token we’re told in 1 Corinthians 12:7 that God has given abilities or talents to each of us and not just some.    


  • Some of us have great intellectual capabilities.  We can read and retain and process everything we read.  Some of us have trouble reading and processing what we read.  Some of us are good with figures and numbers…and some of us aren’t.

  • Some of us have creative minds.  Some of us are artistic and creative.  Some of us can project and articulate our thoughts.  Some of us are born leaders who can stand up in front of a group of people and feel very comfortable. Some of us can’t draw a straight line nor do we want to be a leader nor can we stand up and talk in front of others.

  • And then there are those of us who struggle at trying to find one talent or one ability that God has given us.

     

         But the important thing to remember in our parable is that each servant in our story was given something. No one was left out…no one was overlooked. You may not be a five-talent person, but we all have some talent or ability.  We all do.  And you know something?  There are a whole lot more people in this world who have just one or two talents than there are people who have five talents.

         When the landowner finally came back he called together his three servants and asked them to give an account of what they did with what had been given.  It seems that the five talent man and the two talent man each used what the landowner gave them and invested wisely and got a sizeable return on their investment which made the landowner very happy.
         But what about the one talent man? The one talent man did absolutely nothing with what he was given and had nothing to show for it…and the result was that the landowner became very upset with him.

         In the 25th chapter of Matthew there are three parables in a row: The Parable of the Bridesmaid, the Parable of the Talents, and The Parable of the Sheep and Goats.  And what is interesting in these three parables is that the same phrase is essentially used or referred to in each of them.  And the phrase is this: “after a long time.”  After waiting and waiting, the bridegroom finally returned after a long time. The landowner finally returned after a long time.  And in the parable of the sheep and goats the judgment came after a long time.   


     This is Matthews’s way of saying to us that we’re not really sure when Jesus is going to come back; but in the meantime, he’s asking you what are you doing with the talents or the abilities he has trusted you with?


     That’s what this is all about.  This is the issue.  God has given you a gift…a talent…an ability.  He’s given you something very valuable, something very near and dear to him and expects a return on his investment.  If you have the ability to prophesy, then prophesy.  If you have been given the ability to serve others, then by all means serve others.  If your gift is to teach, then teach; if it is to encourage others, then encourage others; if God has blessed you with the ability to give, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; and if it is to show mercy, then do it cheerfully (Romans 12:6-8).


     Whatever it is he has given you, even if it’s as small as a mustard seed, if you use it wisely, like the mustard seed, it will grow and grow and grow.    


     Regardless of what you think or believe, you have been given the ability to change the world.  You have been given the ability to show that God’s kingdom is starting to bud and to blossom.  Whatever talent or ability he has given you, you can’t set that talent or ability aside and think that you can just graciously give it back to him when he returns. 


 


     In his book, Maximizing Your Potential, Myles Munroe points out that as children of God we are not placed here by accident; we were placed here by God’s design, and it is our responsibility to be all that God intends for us to be.


     “The greatest threat to being all you can be is satisfaction with who you are.  What you could do is always endangered by what you [have already] done.  There are millions of individuals who have buried their talents, gifts, and abilities in the cemetery of their last accomplishment.  They have settled for less than their best.  …the enemy of best is good, and the enemy of good is the norm…and the power of the norm is the curse of society.  It seems like the world is designed to make ‘the norm’ comfortable and ‘the average respectable’ (Myles Munroe, Maximizing Your Potential, Destiny Image Publishers, 1996, 13).


     He goes on to say that those who have fallen into this trap of mediocrity “…have chosen to accept the fate of the millions who have resigned themselves to a normal life, with normal activities, in the company of normal people, striving for normal goals, at a normal pace, with normal motivation, with a normal education, taught by normal teachers, who give normal grades, and live in normal homes, with normal families, leaving a normal heritage, for their normal children, who buy them in a normal grave” (Munroe, Ibid, 16).


 


     What Munroe stresses is that we are to refuse to be normal.  Refuse the status quo.  Refuse to be like the rest of the world.  Strive to go beyond being average.  God has given each and every one of us certain gifts, certain talents, certain abilities and yet so many of us refuse to use them to the fullest extent.  I’ve been here now for over 7 years and I’ll bet that some of you have gifts and talent and abilities and potentials that I don’t even know about.  Gifts and talents and abilities that for some reason or another you’ve kept hidden from me and the rest of this congregation.  Gifts and talents and abilities that might help you and me and this church to reach out to our neighbors so that they might come to have a relationship not only with us…but with Jesus Christ.  Why are you willing to settle for less than the ultimate potential God has given you?    


     Maybe it’s because you’re scared.  Fear can be a debilitating emotion.  It affects people of every age, and every stage and every walk in life.  If you don’t believe me get on the Internet and Google “List of Phobia’s” and you’ll come up with hundreds of things that people are afraid of.  Fear of washing or bathing.  The fear of itching or of the fear of insects that cause itching.  The fear of sourness.  The fear of darkness.  The fear of noise.  The fear of heights.  A lot of little kids are afraid of going down the drain in the bathtub or shower.  That’s called the fear of engulfment – the fear of being swallowed up whole by some unseen force. 


 


     So what are you afraid of?  I don’t mean your phobias.  I mean, what keeps you from taking a chance?  What is it that keeps you from doing something that will really make a difference in the life of this church?  What is it that keeps you from doing something that will make a difference outside the doors of this church?  What keeps you from striving to make the most of what God has given you? 


     Way back in Deuteronomy Moses told the children of Israel: “It is the Lord who goes before you.  He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you.  Do not fear or be dismayed.” (Deut. 31:8)


     Jesus told the parents of a deathly ill child: “Do not fear, only believe.” (Mark 5:36)


     Jesus also told his disciples out on the stormy sea: “It is I.  Do not be afraid.” (John 6:20)


     So you see, with God on our side, we have nothing to fear.  We have the freedom to step out into the unknown…we have the freedom to step out of our comfort zone without worrying about failure or falling or fumbling the ball because we have the assurance of God’s continual love and God’s continual presence and God’s continual grace.  With all of this, what excuse do we have not to do our best with the gifts, and talents and abilities that God has given us?


Give of your best to the Master;
Give Him first place in your heart;
Give Him first place in your service;
Consecrate every part.
Give, and to you will be given;
God His beloved Son gave;
Gratefully seeking to serve Him,
Give Him the best that you have.


(John Groce, Give Your Best to the Master, 1902)  HFG #516


 


     That’s the story.  That’s the message of the Parable of the Talents – use what God has given you, no matter how much or how little.  Use it to the best of your ability and always do it for the glory of God. 


     Someday Jesus will return…and when he does you are going to be called upon to give an account of how you used the time, the talent and the treasures God has so graciously given to you.  He won’t ask how much you have done for him, but he will ask how faithful you have been with what you were given.  You see, the issue is not how much you have…but how well you used what God has given to you.


 


 


 


 


 


 


    


 


 


     


 


 


 


 


Long Term Investments

Keith McFarren

November 17, 2019

Matthew 25:14-30


 


 


     It’s kind of a strange story, isn’t it?  In a world in which we are so focused on equality and social injustice for all people Jesus tells a story of a wealthy landowner who was preparing for a long journey. Before he left he called his three servants together and divided his money, or what they called “talents” back then between them.  But notice that he wasn’t fair in giving away his money; one guy got a lot of money, one guy got an average amount and one guy barely got any at all.


    


     Over the years the meaning of the word “talent” has taken on a new meaning.  In first century Israel “talent” referred to money but over the years, the definition of the word “talent” has changed considerably.  In today’s world the modern day definition of “talent,” means “a gift or a skill or some type of ability” all of which are actually a derivative of the original word “talent.”  So when we’re talking about a 1st century talent, we’re talking about a large amount of money but when we’re talking modern times, we’re talking about a talent being a God given ability or skill.


     So let’s talk in terms of today.  Did you ever wonder why some of us have a whole lot talents or abilities or skills and some of don’t have very many at all?  My son-in-law can do anything.  He can fix a car; he can build a house, he can do electrical work, plumbing, he has artistic abilities, and he can cook like a trained chef.  He’s one of those guys that can look at a problem and in a matter of seconds have it solved.  Me?  I just call on my son-in-law when I have a problem.


     God created us as equals which means we’re all equal in the eyes of God.  You’re no better than me and I’m no better than you.  We are all guaranteed equal rights under the Constitution. In an election our votes are all equal. But when it comes to our God given abilities, or our talents, we are all as different as night and day. When it comes to talents or abilities, God simply did not make us all the same, but by the same token we’re told in 1 Corinthians 12:7 that God has given abilities or talents to each of us and not just some.    


  • Some of us have great intellectual capabilities.  We can read and retain and process everything we read.  Some of us have trouble reading and processing what we read.  Some of us are good with figures and numbers…and some of us aren’t.

  • Some of us have creative minds.  Some of us are artistic and creative.  Some of us can project and articulate our thoughts.  Some of us are born leaders who can stand up in front of a group of people and feel very comfortable. Some of us can’t draw a straight line nor do we want to be a leader nor can we stand up and talk in front of others.

  • And then there are those of us who struggle at trying to find one talent or one ability that God has given us.

     

         But the important thing to remember in our parable is that each servant in our story was given something. No one was left out…no one was overlooked. You may not be a five-talent person, but we all have some talent or ability.  We all do.  And you know something?  There are a whole lot more people in this world who have just one or two talents than there are people who have five talents.

         When the landowner finally came back he called together his three servants and asked them to give an account of what they did with what had been given.  It seems that the five talent man and the two talent man each used what the landowner gave them and invested wisely and got a sizeable return on their investment which made the landowner very happy.
         But what about the one talent man? The one talent man did absolutely nothing with what he was given and had nothing to show for it…and the result was that the landowner became very upset with him.

         In the 25th chapter of Matthew there are three parables in a row: The Parable of the Bridesmaid, the Parable of the Talents, and The Parable of the Sheep and Goats.  And what is interesting in these three parables is that the same phrase is essentially used or referred to in each of them.  And the phrase is this: “after a long time.”  After waiting and waiting, the bridegroom finally returned after a long time. The landowner finally returned after a long time.  And in the parable of the sheep and goats the judgment came after a long time.   


     This is Matthews’s way of saying to us that we’re not really sure when Jesus is going to come back; but in the meantime, he’s asking you what are you doing with the talents or the abilities he has trusted you with?


     That’s what this is all about.  This is the issue.  God has given you a gift…a talent…an ability.  He’s given you something very valuable, something very near and dear to him and expects a return on his investment.  If you have the ability to prophesy, then prophesy.  If you have been given the ability to serve others, then by all means serve others.  If your gift is to teach, then teach; if it is to encourage others, then encourage others; if God has blessed you with the ability to give, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; and if it is to show mercy, then do it cheerfully (Romans 12:6-8).


     Whatever it is he has given you, even if it’s as small as a mustard seed, if you use it wisely, like the mustard seed, it will grow and grow and grow.    


     Regardless of what you think or believe, you have been given the ability to change the world.  You have been given the ability to show that God’s kingdom is starting to bud and to blossom.  Whatever talent or ability he has given you, you can’t set that talent or ability aside and think that you can just graciously give it back to him when he returns. 


 


     In his book, Maximizing Your Potential, Myles Munroe points out that as children of God we are not placed here by accident; we were placed here by God’s design, and it is our responsibility to be all that God intends for us to be.


     “The greatest threat to being all you can be is satisfaction with who you are.  What you could do is always endangered by what you [have already] done.  There are millions of individuals who have buried their talents, gifts, and abilities in the cemetery of their last accomplishment.  They have settled for less than their best.  …the enemy of best is good, and the enemy of good is the norm…and the power of the norm is the curse of society.  It seems like the world is designed to make ‘the norm’ comfortable and ‘the average respectable’ (Myles Munroe, Maximizing Your Potential, Destiny Image Publishers, 1996, 13).


     He goes on to say that those who have fallen into this trap of mediocrity “…have chosen to accept the fate of the millions who have resigned themselves to a normal life, with normal activities, in the company of normal people, striving for normal goals, at a normal pace, with normal motivation, with a normal education, taught by normal teachers, who give normal grades, and live in normal homes, with normal families, leaving a normal heritage, for their normal children, who buy them in a normal grave” (Munroe, Ibid, 16).


 


     What Munroe stresses is that we are to refuse to be normal.  Refuse the status quo.  Refuse to be like the rest of the world.  Strive to go beyond being average.  God has given each and every one of us certain gifts, certain talents, certain abilities and yet so many of us refuse to use them to the fullest extent.  I’ve been here now for over 7 years and I’ll bet that some of you have gifts and talent and abilities and potentials that I don’t even know about.  Gifts and talents and abilities that for some reason or another you’ve kept hidden from me and the rest of this congregation.  Gifts and talents and abilities that might help you and me and this church to reach out to our neighbors so that they might come to have a relationship not only with us…but with Jesus Christ.  Why are you willing to settle for less than the ultimate potential God has given you?    


     Maybe it’s because you’re scared.  Fear can be a debilitating emotion.  It affects people of every age, and every stage and every walk in life.  If you don’t believe me get on the Internet and Google “List of Phobia’s” and you’ll come up with hundreds of things that people are afraid of.  Fear of washing or bathing.  The fear of itching or of the fear of insects that cause itching.  The fear of sourness.  The fear of darkness.  The fear of noise.  The fear of heights.  A lot of little kids are afraid of going down the drain in the bathtub or shower.  That’s called the fear of engulfment – the fear of being swallowed up whole by some unseen force. 


 


     So what are you afraid of?  I don’t mean your phobias.  I mean, what keeps you from taking a chance?  What is it that keeps you from doing something that will really make a difference in the life of this church?  What is it that keeps you from doing something that will make a difference outside the doors of this church?  What keeps you from striving to make the most of what God has given you? 


     Way back in Deuteronomy Moses told the children of Israel: “It is the Lord who goes before you.  He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you.  Do not fear or be dismayed.” (Deut. 31:8)


     Jesus told the parents of a deathly ill child: “Do not fear, only believe.” (Mark 5:36)


     Jesus also told his disciples out on the stormy sea: “It is I.  Do not be afraid.” (John 6:20)


     So you see, with God on our side, we have nothing to fear.  We have the freedom to step out into the unknown…we have the freedom to step out of our comfort zone without worrying about failure or falling or fumbling the ball because we have the assurance of God’s continual love and God’s continual presence and God’s continual grace.  With all of this, what excuse do we have not to do our best with the gifts, and talents and abilities that God has given us?


Give of your best to the Master;
Give Him first place in your heart;
Give Him first place in your service;
Consecrate every part.
Give, and to you will be given;
God His beloved Son gave;
Gratefully seeking to serve Him,
Give Him the best that you have.


(John Groce, Give Your Best to the Master, 1902)  HFG #516


 


     That’s the story.  That’s the message of the Parable of the Talents – use what God has given you, no matter how much or how little.  Use it to the best of your ability and always do it for the glory of God. 


     Someday Jesus will return…and when he does you are going to be called upon to give an account of how you used the time, the talent and the treasures God has so graciously given to you.  He won’t ask how much you have done for him, but he will ask how faithful you have been with what you were given.  You see, the issue is not how much you have…but how well you used what God has given to you.


 


 


 


 


 


 


    


 


 


     


 


 


 


 


Long Term Investments

Keith McFarren

November 17, 2019

Matthew 25:14-30


 


 


     It’s kind of a strange story, isn’t it?  In a world in which we are so focused on equality and social injustice for all people Jesus tells a story of a wealthy landowner who was preparing for a long journey. Before he left he called his three servants together and divided his money, or what they called “talents” back then between them.  But notice that he wasn’t fair in giving away his money; one guy got a lot of money, one guy got an average amount and one guy barely got any at all.


    


     Over the years the meaning of the word “talent” has taken on a new meaning.  In first century Israel “talent” referred to money but over the years, the definition of the word “talent” has changed considerably.  In today’s world the modern day definition of “talent,” means “a gift or a skill or some type of ability” all of which are actually a derivative of the original word “talent.”  So when we’re talking about a 1st century talent, we’re talking about a large amount of money but when we’re talking modern times, we’re talking about a talent being a God given ability or skill.


     So let’s talk in terms of today.  Did you ever wonder why some of us have a whole lot talents or abilities or skills and some of don’t have very many at all?  My son-in-law can do anything.  He can fix a car; he can build a house, he can do electrical work, plumbing, he has artistic abilities, and he can cook like a trained chef.  He’s one of those guys that can look at a problem and in a matter of seconds have it solved.  Me?  I just call on my son-in-law when I have a problem.


     God created us as equals which means we’re all equal in the eyes of God.  You’re no better than me and I’m no better than you.  We are all guaranteed equal rights under the Constitution. In an election our votes are all equal. But when it comes to our God given abilities, or our talents, we are all as different as night and day. When it comes to talents or abilities, God simply did not make us all the same, but by the same token we’re told in 1 Corinthians 12:7 that God has given abilities or talents to each of us and not just some.    


  • Some of us have great intellectual capabilities.  We can read and retain and process everything we read.  Some of us have trouble reading and processing what we read.  Some of us are good with figures and numbers…and some of us aren’t.

  • Some of us have creative minds.  Some of us are artistic and creative.  Some of us can project and articulate our thoughts.  Some of us are born leaders who can stand up in front of a group of people and feel very comfortable. Some of us can’t draw a straight line nor do we want to be a leader nor can we stand up and talk in front of others.

  • And then there are those of us who struggle at trying to find one talent or one ability that God has given us.

     

         But the important thing to remember in our parable is that each servant in our story was given something. No one was left out…no one was overlooked. You may not be a five-talent person, but we all have some talent or ability.  We all do.  And you know something?  There are a whole lot more people in this world who have just one or two talents than there are people who have five talents.

         When the landowner finally came back he called together his three servants and asked them to give an account of what they did with what had been given.  It seems that the five talent man and the two talent man each used what the landowner gave them and invested wisely and got a sizeable return on their investment which made the landowner very happy.
         But what about the one talent man? The one talent man did absolutely nothing with what he was given and had nothing to show for it…and the result was that the landowner became very upset with him.

         In the 25th chapter of Matthew there are three parables in a row: The Parable of the Bridesmaid, the Parable of the Talents, and The Parable of the Sheep and Goats.  And what is interesting in these three parables is that the same phrase is essentially used or referred to in each of them.  And the phrase is this: “after a long time.”  After waiting and waiting, the bridegroom finally returned after a long time. The landowner finally returned after a long time.  And in the parable of the sheep and goats the judgment came after a long time.   


     This is Matthews’s way of saying to us that we’re not really sure when Jesus is going to come back; but in the meantime, he’s asking you what are you doing with the talents or the abilities he has trusted you with?


     That’s what this is all about.  This is the issue.  God has given you a gift…a talent…an ability.  He’s given you something very valuable, something very near and dear to him and expects a return on his investment.  If you have the ability to prophesy, then prophesy.  If you have been given the ability to serve others, then by all means serve others.  If your gift is to teach, then teach; if it is to encourage others, then encourage others; if God has blessed you with the ability to give, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; and if it is to show mercy, then do it cheerfully (Romans 12:6-8).


     Whatever it is he has given you, even if it’s as small as a mustard seed, if you use it wisely, like the mustard seed, it will grow and grow and grow.    


     Regardless of what you think or believe, you have been given the ability to change the world.  You have been given the ability to show that God’s kingdom is starting to bud and to blossom.  Whatever talent or ability he has given you, you can’t set that talent or ability aside and think that you can just graciously give it back to him when he returns. 


 


     In his book, Maximizing Your Potential, Myles Munroe points out that as children of God we are not placed here by accident; we were placed here by God’s design, and it is our responsibility to be all that God intends for us to be.


     “The greatest threat to being all you can be is satisfaction with who you are.  What you could do is always endangered by what you [have already] done.  There are millions of individuals who have buried their talents, gifts, and abilities in the cemetery of their last accomplishment.  They have settled for less than their best.  …the enemy of best is good, and the enemy of good is the norm…and the power of the norm is the curse of society.  It seems like the world is designed to make ‘the norm’ comfortable and ‘the average respectable’ (Myles Munroe, Maximizing Your Potential, Destiny Image Publishers, 1996, 13).


     He goes on to say that those who have fallen into this trap of mediocrity “…have chosen to accept the fate of the millions who have resigned themselves to a normal life, with normal activities, in the company of normal people, striving for normal goals, at a normal pace, with normal motivation, with a normal education, taught by normal teachers, who give normal grades, and live in normal homes, with normal families, leaving a normal heritage, for their normal children, who buy them in a normal grave” (Munroe, Ibid, 16).


 


     What Munroe stresses is that we are to refuse to be normal.  Refuse the status quo.  Refuse to be like the rest of the world.  Strive to go beyond being average.  God has given each and every one of us certain gifts, certain talents, certain abilities and yet so many of us refuse to use them to the fullest extent.  I’ve been here now for over 7 years and I’ll bet that some of you have gifts and talent and abilities and potentials that I don’t even know about.  Gifts and talents and abilities that for some reason or another you’ve kept hidden from me and the rest of this congregation.  Gifts and talents and abilities that might help you and me and this church to reach out to our neighbors so that they might come to have a relationship not only with us…but with Jesus Christ.  Why are you willing to settle for less than the ultimate potential God has given you?    


     Maybe it’s because you’re scared.  Fear can be a debilitating emotion.  It affects people of every age, and every stage and every walk in life.  If you don’t believe me get on the Internet and Google “List of Phobia’s” and you’ll come up with hundreds of things that people are afraid of.  Fear of washing or bathing.  The fear of itching or of the fear of insects that cause itching.  The fear of sourness.  The fear of darkness.  The fear of noise.  The fear of heights.  A lot of little kids are afraid of going down the drain in the bathtub or shower.  That’s called the fear of engulfment – the fear of being swallowed up whole by some unseen force. 


 


     So what are you afraid of?  I don’t mean your phobias.  I mean, what keeps you from taking a chance?  What is it that keeps you from doing something that will really make a difference in the life of this church?  What is it that keeps you from doing something that will make a difference outside the doors of this church?  What keeps you from striving to make the most of what God has given you? 


     Way back in Deuteronomy Moses told the children of Israel: “It is the Lord who goes before you.  He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you.  Do not fear or be dismayed.” (Deut. 31:8)


     Jesus told the parents of a deathly ill child: “Do not fear, only believe.” (Mark 5:36)


     Jesus also told his disciples out on the stormy sea: “It is I.  Do not be afraid.” (John 6:20)


     So you see, with God on our side, we have nothing to fear.  We have the freedom to step out into the unknown…we have the freedom to step out of our comfort zone without worrying about failure or falling or fumbling the ball because we have the assurance of God’s continual love and God’s continual presence and God’s continual grace.  With all of this, what excuse do we have not to do our best with the gifts, and talents and abilities that God has given us?


Give of your best to the Master;
Give Him first place in your heart;
Give Him first place in your service;
Consecrate every part.
Give, and to you will be given;
God His beloved Son gave;
Gratefully seeking to serve Him,
Give Him the best that you have.


(John Groce, Give Your Best to the Master, 1902)  HFG #516


 


     That’s the story.  That’s the message of the Parable of the Talents – use what God has given you, no matter how much or how little.  Use it to the best of your ability and always do it for the glory of God. 


     Someday Jesus will return…and when he does you are going to be called upon to give an account of how you used the time, the talent and the treasures God has so graciously given to you.  He won’t ask how much you have done for him, but he will ask how faithful you have been with what you were given.  You see, the issue is not how much you have…but how well you used what God has given to you.


 


 


 


 


 


 


    


 


 


     


 


 


 


 


Long Term Investments

Keith McFarren

November 17, 2019

Matthew 25:14-30


 


 


     It’s kind of a strange story, isn’t it?  In a world in which we are so focused on equality and social injustice for all people Jesus tells a story of a wealthy landowner who was preparing for a long journey. Before he left he called his three servants together and divided his money, or what they called “talents” back then between them.  But notice that he wasn’t fair in giving away his money; one guy got a lot of money, one guy got an average amount and one guy barely got any at all.


    


     Over the years the meaning of the word “talent” has taken on a new meaning.  In first century Israel “talent” referred to money but over the years, the definition of the word “talent” has changed considerably.  In today’s world the modern day definition of “talent,” means “a gift or a skill or some type of ability” all of which are actually a derivative of the original word “talent.”  So when we’re talking about a 1st century talent, we’re talking about a large amount of money but when we’re talking modern times, we’re talking about a talent being a God given ability or skill.


     So let’s talk in terms of today.  Did you ever wonder why some of us have a whole lot talents or abilities or skills and some of don’t have very many at all?  My son-in-law can do anything.  He can fix a car; he can build a house, he can do electrical work, plumbing, he has artistic abilities, and he can cook like a trained chef.  He’s one of those guys that can look at a problem and in a matter of seconds have it solved.  Me?  I just call on my son-in-law when I have a problem.


     God created us as equals which means we’re all equal in the eyes of God.  You’re no better than me and I’m no better than you.  We are all guaranteed equal rights under the Constitution. In an election our votes are all equal. But when it comes to our God given abilities, or our talents, we are all as different as night and day. When it comes to talents or abilities, God simply did not make us all the same, but by the same token we’re told in 1 Corinthians 12:7 that God has given abilities or talents to each of us and not just some.    


  • Some of us have great intellectual capabilities.  We can read and retain and process everything we read.  Some of us have trouble reading and processing what we read.  Some of us are good with figures and numbers…and some of us aren’t.

  • Some of us have creative minds.  Some of us are artistic and creative.  Some of us can project and articulate our thoughts.  Some of us are born leaders who can stand up in front of a group of people and feel very comfortable. Some of us can’t draw a straight line nor do we want to be a leader nor can we stand up and talk in front of others.

  • And then there are those of us who struggle at trying to find one talent or one ability that God has given us.

     

         But the important thing to remember in our parable is that each servant in our story was given something. No one was left out…no one was overlooked. You may not be a five-talent person, but we all have some talent or ability.  We all do.  And you know something?  There are a whole lot more people in this world who have just one or two talents than there are people who have five talents.

         When the landowner finally came back he called together his three servants and asked them to give an account of what they did with what had been given.  It seems that the five talent man and the two talent man each used what the landowner gave them and invested wisely and got a sizeable return on their investment which made the landowner very happy.
         But what about the one talent man? The one talent man did absolutely nothing with what he was given and had nothing to show for it…and the result was that the landowner became very upset with him.

         In the 25th chapter of Matthew there are three parables in a row: The Parable of the Bridesmaid, the Parable of the Talents, and The Parable of the Sheep and Goats.  And what is interesting in these three parables is that the same phrase is essentially used or referred to in each of them.  And the phrase is this: “after a long time.”  After waiting and waiting, the bridegroom finally returned after a long time. The landowner finally returned after a long time.  And in the parable of the sheep and goats the judgment came after a long time.   


     This is Matthews’s way of saying to us that we’re not really sure when Jesus is going to come back; but in the meantime, he’s asking you what are you doing with the talents or the abilities he has trusted you with?


     That’s what this is all about.  This is the issue.  God has given you a gift…a talent…an ability.  He’s given you something very valuable, something very near and dear to him and expects a return on his investment.  If you have the ability to prophesy, then prophesy.  If you have been given the ability to serve others, then by all means serve others.  If your gift is to teach, then teach; if it is to encourage others, then encourage others; if God has blessed you with the ability to give, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; and if it is to show mercy, then do it cheerfully (Romans 12:6-8).


     Whatever it is he has given you, even if it’s as small as a mustard seed, if you use it wisely, like the mustard seed, it will grow and grow and grow.    


     Regardless of what you think or believe, you have been given the ability to change the world.  You have been given the ability to show that God’s kingdom is starting to bud and to blossom.  Whatever talent or ability he has given you, you can’t set that talent or ability aside and think that you can just graciously give it back to him when he returns. 


 


     In his book, Maximizing Your Potential, Myles Munroe points out that as children of God we are not placed here by accident; we were placed here by God’s design, and it is our responsibility to be all that God intends for us to be.


     “The greatest threat to being all you can be is satisfaction with who you are.  What you could do is always endangered by what you [have already] done.  There are millions of individuals who have buried their talents, gifts, and abilities in the cemetery of their last accomplishment.  They have settled for less than their best.  …the enemy of best is good, and the enemy of good is the norm…and the power of the norm is the curse of society.  It seems like the world is designed to make ‘the norm’ comfortable and ‘the average respectable’ (Myles Munroe, Maximizing Your Potential, Destiny Image Publishers, 1996, 13).


     He goes on to say that those who have fallen into this trap of mediocrity “…have chosen to accept the fate of the millions who have resigned themselves to a normal life, with normal activities, in the company of normal people, striving for normal goals, at a normal pace, with normal motivation, with a normal education, taught by normal teachers, who give normal grades, and live in normal homes, with normal families, leaving a normal heritage, for their normal children, who buy them in a normal grave” (Munroe, Ibid, 16).


 


     What Munroe stresses is that we are to refuse to be normal.  Refuse the status quo.  Refuse to be like the rest of the world.  Strive to go beyond being average.  God has given each and every one of us certain gifts, certain talents, certain abilities and yet so many of us refuse to use them to the fullest extent.  I’ve been here now for over 7 years and I’ll bet that some of you have gifts and talent and abilities and potentials that I don’t even know about.  Gifts and talents and abilities that for some reason or another you’ve kept hidden from me and the rest of this congregation.  Gifts and talents and abilities that might help you and me and this church to reach out to our neighbors so that they might come to have a relationship not only with us…but with Jesus Christ.  Why are you willing to settle for less than the ultimate potential God has given you?    


     Maybe it’s because you’re scared.  Fear can be a debilitating emotion.  It affects people of every age, and every stage and every walk in life.  If you don’t believe me get on the Internet and Google “List of Phobia’s” and you’ll come up with hundreds of things that people are afraid of.  Fear of washing or bathing.  The fear of itching or of the fear of insects that cause itching.  The fear of sourness.  The fear of darkness.  The fear of noise.  The fear of heights.  A lot of little kids are afraid of going down the drain in the bathtub or shower.  That’s called the fear of engulfment – the fear of being swallowed up whole by some unseen force. 


 


     So what are you afraid of?  I don’t mean your phobias.  I mean, what keeps you from taking a chance?  What is it that keeps you from doing something that will really make a difference in the life of this church?  What is it that keeps you from doing something that will make a difference outside the doors of this church?  What keeps you from striving to make the most of what God has given you? 


     Way back in Deuteronomy Moses told the children of Israel: “It is the Lord who goes before you.  He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you.  Do not fear or be dismayed.” (Deut. 31:8)


     Jesus told the parents of a deathly ill child: “Do not fear, only believe.” (Mark 5:36)


     Jesus also told his disciples out on the stormy sea: “It is I.  Do not be afraid.” (John 6:20)


     So you see, with God on our side, we have nothing to fear.  We have the freedom to step out into the unknown…we have the freedom to step out of our comfort zone without worrying about failure or falling or fumbling the ball because we have the assurance of God’s continual love and God’s continual presence and God’s continual grace.  With all of this, what excuse do we have not to do our best with the gifts, and talents and abilities that God has given us?


Give of your best to the Master;
Give Him first place in your heart;
Give Him first place in your service;
Consecrate every part.
Give, and to you will be given;
God His beloved Son gave;
Gratefully seeking to serve Him,
Give Him the best that you have.


(John Groce, Give Your Best to the Master, 1902)  HFG #516


 


     That’s the story.  That’s the message of the Parable of the Talents – use what God has given you, no matter how much or how little.  Use it to the best of your ability and always do it for the glory of God. 


     Someday Jesus will return…and when he does you are going to be called upon to give an account of how you used the time, the talent and the treasures God has so graciously given to you.  He won’t ask how much you have done for him, but he will ask how faithful you have been with what you were given.  You see, the issue is not how much you have…but how well you used what God has given to you.


 


 


 


 


 


 


    


 


 


     


 


 


 


 


Long Term Investments

Keith McFarren

November 17, 2019

Matthew 25:14-30


 


 


     It’s kind of a strange story, isn’t it?  In a world in which we are so focused on equality and social injustice for all people Jesus tells a story of a wealthy landowner who was preparing for a long journey. Before he left he called his three servants together and divided his money, or what they called “talents” back then between them.  But notice that he wasn’t fair in giving away his money; one guy got a lot of money, one guy got an average amount and one guy barely got any at all.


    


     Over the years the meaning of the word “talent” has taken on a new meaning.  In first century Israel “talent” referred to money but over the years, the definition of the word “talent” has changed considerably.  In today’s world the modern day definition of “talent,” means “a gift or a skill or some type of ability” all of which are actually a derivative of the original word “talent.”  So when we’re talking about a 1st century talent, we’re talking about a large amount of money but when we’re talking modern times, we’re talking about a talent being a God given ability or skill.


     So let’s talk in terms of today.  Did you ever wonder why some of us have a whole lot talents or abilities or skills and some of don’t have very many at all?  My son-in-law can do anything.  He can fix a car; he can build a house, he can do electrical work, plumbing, he has artistic abilities, and he can cook like a trained chef.  He’s one of those guys that can look at a problem and in a matter of seconds have it solved.  Me?  I just call on my son-in-law when I have a problem.


     God created us as equals which means we’re all equal in the eyes of God.  You’re no better than me and I’m no better than you.  We are all guaranteed equal rights under the Constitution. In an election our votes are all equal. But when it comes to our God given abilities, or our talents, we are all as different as night and day. When it comes to talents or abilities, God simply did not make us all the same, but by the same token we’re told in 1 Corinthians 12:7 that God has given abilities or talents to each of us and not just some.    


  • Some of us have great intellectual capabilities.  We can read and retain and process everything we read.  Some of us have trouble reading and processing what we read.  Some of us are good with figures and numbers…and some of us aren’t.

  • Some of us have creative minds.  Some of us are artistic and creative.  Some of us can project and articulate our thoughts.  Some of us are born leaders who can stand up in front of a group of people and feel very comfortable. Some of us can’t draw a straight line nor do we want to be a leader nor can we stand up and talk in front of others.

  • And then there are those of us who struggle at trying to find one talent or one ability that God has given us.

     

         But the important thing to remember in our parable is that each servant in our story was given something. No one was left out…no one was overlooked. You may not be a five-talent person, but we all have some talent or ability.  We all do.  And you know something?  There are a whole lot more people in this world who have just one or two talents than there are people who have five talents.

         When the landowner finally came back he called together his three servants and asked them to give an account of what they did with what had been given.  It seems that the five talent man and the two talent man each used what the landowner gave them and invested wisely and got a sizeable return on their investment which made the landowner very happy.
         But what about the one talent man? The one talent man did absolutely nothing with what he was given and had nothing to show for it…and the result was that the landowner became very upset with him.

         In the 25th chapter of Matthew there are three parables in a row: The Parable of the Bridesmaid, the Parable of the Talents, and The Parable of the Sheep and Goats.  And what is interesting in these three parables is that the same phrase is essentially used or referred to in each of them.  And the phrase is this: “after a long time.”  After waiting and waiting, the bridegroom finally returned after a long time. The landowner finally returned after a long time.  And in the parable of the sheep and goats the judgment came after a long time.   


     This is Matthews’s way of saying to us that we’re not really sure when Jesus is going to come back; but in the meantime, he’s asking you what are you doing with the talents or the abilities he has trusted you with?


     That’s what this is all about.  This is the issue.  God has given you a gift…a talent…an ability.  He’s given you something very valuable, something very near and dear to him and expects a return on his investment.  If you have the ability to prophesy, then prophesy.  If you have been given the ability to serve others, then by all means serve others.  If your gift is to teach, then teach; if it is to encourage others, then encourage others; if God has blessed you with the ability to give, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; and if it is to show mercy, then do it cheerfully (Romans 12:6-8).


     Whatever it is he has given you, even if it’s as small as a mustard seed, if you use it wisely, like the mustard seed, it will grow and grow and grow.    


     Regardless of what you think or believe, you have been given the ability to change the world.  You have been given the ability to show that God’s kingdom is starting to bud and to blossom.  Whatever talent or ability he has given you, you can’t set that talent or ability aside and think that you can just graciously give it back to him when he returns. 


 


     In his book, Maximizing Your Potential, Myles Munroe points out that as children of God we are not placed here by accident; we were placed here by God’s design, and it is our responsibility to be all that God intends for us to be.


     “The greatest threat to being all you can be is satisfaction with who you are.  What you could do is always endangered by what you [have already] done.  There are millions of individuals who have buried their talents, gifts, and abilities in the cemetery of their last accomplishment.  They have settled for less than their best.  …the enemy of best is good, and the enemy of good is the norm…and the power of the norm is the curse of society.  It seems like the world is designed to make ‘the norm’ comfortable and ‘the average respectable’ (Myles Munroe, Maximizing Your Potential, Destiny Image Publishers, 1996, 13).


     He goes on to say that those who have fallen into this trap of mediocrity “…have chosen to accept the fate of the millions who have resigned themselves to a normal life, with normal activities, in the company of normal people, striving for normal goals, at a normal pace, with normal motivation, with a normal education, taught by normal teachers, who give normal grades, and live in normal homes, with normal families, leaving a normal heritage, for their normal children, who buy them in a normal grave” (Munroe, Ibid, 16).


 


     What Munroe stresses is that we are to refuse to be normal.  Refuse the status quo.  Refuse to be like the rest of the world.  Strive to go beyond being average.  God has given each and every one of us certain gifts, certain talents, certain abilities and yet so many of us refuse to use them to the fullest extent.  I’ve been here now for over 7 years and I’ll bet that some of you have gifts and talent and abilities and potentials that I don’t even know about.  Gifts and talents and abilities that for some reason or another you’ve kept hidden from me and the rest of this congregation.  Gifts and talents and abilities that might help you and me and this church to reach out to our neighbors so that they might come to have a relationship not only with us…but with Jesus Christ.  Why are you willing to settle for less than the ultimate potential God has given you?    


     Maybe it’s because you’re scared.  Fear can be a debilitating emotion.  It affects people of every age, and every stage and every walk in life.  If you don’t believe me get on the Internet and Google “List of Phobia’s” and you’ll come up with hundreds of things that people are afraid of.  Fear of washing or bathing.  The fear of itching or of the fear of insects that cause itching.  The fear of sourness.  The fear of darkness.  The fear of noise.  The fear of heights.  A lot of little kids are afraid of going down the drain in the bathtub or shower.  That’s called the fear of engulfment – the fear of being swallowed up whole by some unseen force. 


 


     So what are you afraid of?  I don’t mean your phobias.  I mean, what keeps you from taking a chance?  What is it that keeps you from doing something that will really make a difference in the life of this church?  What is it that keeps you from doing something that will make a difference outside the doors of this church?  What keeps you from striving to make the most of what God has given you? 


     Way back in Deuteronomy Moses told the children of Israel: “It is the Lord who goes before you.  He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you.  Do not fear or be dismayed.” (Deut. 31:8)


     Jesus told the parents of a deathly ill child: “Do not fear, only believe.” (Mark 5:36)


     Jesus also told his disciples out on the stormy sea: “It is I.  Do not be afraid.” (John 6:20)


     So you see, with God on our side, we have nothing to fear.  We have the freedom to step out into the unknown…we have the freedom to step out of our comfort zone without worrying about failure or falling or fumbling the ball because we have the assurance of God’s continual love and God’s continual presence and God’s continual grace.  With all of this, what excuse do we have not to do our best with the gifts, and talents and abilities that God has given us?


Give of your best to the Master;
Give Him first place in your heart;
Give Him first place in your service;
Consecrate every part.
Give, and to you will be given;
God His beloved Son gave;
Gratefully seeking to serve Him,
Give Him the best that you have.


(John Groce, Give Your Best to the Master, 1902)  HFG #516


 


     That’s the story.  That’s the message of the Parable of the Talents – use what God has given you, no matter how much or how little.  Use it to the best of your ability and always do it for the glory of God. 


     Someday Jesus will return…and when he does you are going to be called upon to give an account of how you used the time, the talent and the treasures God has so graciously given to you.  He won’t ask how much you have done for him, but he will ask how faithful you have been with what you were given.  You see, the issue is not how much you have…but how well you used what God has given to you.


 


 


 


 


 


 


    


 


 


     


 


 


 


 


Long Term Investments

Keith McFarren

November 17, 2019

Matthew 25:14-30


 


 


     It’s kind of a strange story, isn’t it?  In a world in which we are so focused on equality and social injustice for all people Jesus tells a story of a wealthy landowner who was preparing for a long journey. Before he left he called his three servants together and divided his money, or what they called “talents” back then between them.  But notice that he wasn’t fair in giving away his money; one guy got a lot of money, one guy got an average amount and one guy barely got any at all.


    


     Over the years the meaning of the word “talent” has taken on a new meaning.  In first century Israel “talent” referred to money but over the years, the definition of the word “talent” has changed considerably.  In today’s world the modern day definition of “talent,” means “a gift or a skill or some type of ability” all of which are actually a derivative of the original word “talent.”  So when we’re talking about a 1st century talent, we’re talking about a large amount of money but when we’re talking modern times, we’re talking about a talent being a God given ability or skill.


     So let’s talk in terms of today.  Did you ever wonder why some of us have a whole lot talents or abilities or skills and some of don’t have very many at all?  My son-in-law can do anything.  He can fix a car; he can build a house, he can do electrical work, plumbing, he has artistic abilities, and he can cook like a trained chef.  He’s one of those guys that can look at a problem and in a matter of seconds have it solved.  Me?  I just call on my son-in-law when I have a problem.


     God created us as equals which means we’re all equal in the eyes of God.  You’re no better than me and I’m no better than you.  We are all guaranteed equal rights under the Constitution. In an election our votes are all equal. But when it comes to our God given abilities, or our talents, we are all as different as night and day. When it comes to talents or abilities, God simply did not make us all the same, but by the same token we’re told in 1 Corinthians 12:7 that God has given abilities or talents to each of us and not just some.    


  • Some of us have great intellectual capabilities.  We can read and retain and process everything we read.  Some of us have trouble reading and processing what we read.  Some of us are good with figures and numbers…and some of us aren’t.

  • Some of us have creative minds.  Some of us are artistic and creative.  Some of us can project and articulate our thoughts.  Some of us are born leaders who can stand up in front of a group of people and feel very comfortable. Some of us can’t draw a straight line nor do we want to be a leader nor can we stand up and talk in front of others.

  • And then there are those of us who struggle at trying to find one talent or one ability that God has given us.

     

         But the important thing to remember in our parable is that each servant in our story was given something. No one was left out…no one was overlooked. You may not be a five-talent person, but we all have some talent or ability.  We all do.  And you know something?  There are a whole lot more people in this world who have just one or two talents than there are people who have five talents.

         When the landowner finally came back he called together his three servants and asked them to give an account of what they did with what had been given.  It seems that the five talent man and the two talent man each used what the landowner gave them and invested wisely and got a sizeable return on their investment which made the landowner very happy.
         But what about the one talent man? The one talent man did absolutely nothing with what he was given and had nothing to show for it…and the result was that the landowner became very upset with him.

         In the 25th chapter of Matthew there are three parables in a row: The Parable of the Bridesmaid, the Parable of the Talents, and The Parable of the Sheep and Goats.  And what is interesting in these three parables is that the same phrase is essentially used or referred to in each of them.  And the phrase is this: “after a long time.”  After waiting and waiting, the bridegroom finally returned after a long time. The landowner finally returned after a long time.  And in the parable of the sheep and goats the judgment came after a long time.   


     This is Matthews’s way of saying to us that we’re not really sure when Jesus is going to come back; but in the meantime, he’s asking you what are you doing with the talents or the abilities he has trusted you with?


     That’s what this is all about.  This is the issue.  God has given you a gift…a talent…an ability.  He’s given you something very valuable, something very near and dear to him and expects a return on his investment.  If you have the ability to prophesy, then prophesy.  If you have been given the ability to serve others, then by all means serve others.  If your gift is to teach, then teach; if it is to encourage others, then encourage others; if God has blessed you with the ability to give, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; and if it is to show mercy, then do it cheerfully (Romans 12:6-8).


     Whatever it is he has given you, even if it’s as small as a mustard seed, if you use it wisely, like the mustard seed, it will grow and grow and grow.    


     Regardless of what you think or believe, you have been given the ability to change the world.  You have been given the ability to show that God’s kingdom is starting to bud and to blossom.  Whatever talent or ability he has given you, you can’t set that talent or ability aside and think that you can just graciously give it back to him when he returns. 


 


     In his book, Maximizing Your Potential, Myles Munroe points out that as children of God we are not placed here by accident; we were placed here by God’s design, and it is our responsibility to be all that God intends for us to be.


     “The greatest threat to being all you can be is satisfaction with who you are.  What you could do is always endangered by what you [have already] done.  There are millions of individuals who have buried their talents, gifts, and abilities in the cemetery of their last accomplishment.  They have settled for less than their best.  …the enemy of best is good, and the enemy of good is the norm…and the power of the norm is the curse of society.  It seems like the world is designed to make ‘the norm’ comfortable and ‘the average respectable’ (Myles Munroe, Maximizing Your Potential, Destiny Image Publishers, 1996, 13).


     He goes on to say that those who have fallen into this trap of mediocrity “…have chosen to accept the fate of the millions who have resigned themselves to a normal life, with normal activities, in the company of normal people, striving for normal goals, at a normal pace, with normal motivation, with a normal education, taught by normal teachers, who give normal grades, and live in normal homes, with normal families, leaving a normal heritage, for their normal children, who buy them in a normal grave” (Munroe, Ibid, 16).


 


     What Munroe stresses is that we are to refuse to be normal.  Refuse the status quo.  Refuse to be like the rest of the world.  Strive to go beyond being average.  God has given each and every one of us certain gifts, certain talents, certain abilities and yet so many of us refuse to use them to the fullest extent.  I’ve been here now for over 7 years and I’ll bet that some of you have gifts and talent and abilities and potentials that I don’t even know about.  Gifts and talents and abilities that for some reason or another you’ve kept hidden from me and the rest of this congregation.  Gifts and talents and abilities that might help you and me and this church to reach out to our neighbors so that they might come to have a relationship not only with us…but with Jesus Christ.  Why are you willing to settle for less than the ultimate potential God has given you?    


     Maybe it’s because you’re scared.  Fear can be a debilitating emotion.  It affects people of every age, and every stage and every walk in life.  If you don’t believe me get on the Internet and Google “List of Phobia’s” and you’ll come up with hundreds of things that people are afraid of.  Fear of washing or bathing.  The fear of itching or of the fear of insects that cause itching.  The fear of sourness.  The fear of darkness.  The fear of noise.  The fear of heights.  A lot of little kids are afraid of going down the drain in the bathtub or shower.  That’s called the fear of engulfment – the fear of being swallowed up whole by some unseen force. 


 


     So what are you afraid of?  I don’t mean your phobias.  I mean, what keeps you from taking a chance?  What is it that keeps you from doing something that will really make a difference in the life of this church?  What is it that keeps you from doing something that will make a difference outside the doors of this church?  What keeps you from striving to make the most of what God has given you? 


     Way back in Deuteronomy Moses told the children of Israel: “It is the Lord who goes before you.  He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you.  Do not fear or be dismayed.” (Deut. 31:8)


     Jesus told the parents of a deathly ill child: “Do not fear, only believe.” (Mark 5:36)


     Jesus also told his disciples out on the stormy sea: “It is I.  Do not be afraid.” (John 6:20)


     So you see, with God on our side, we have nothing to fear.  We have the freedom to step out into the unknown…we have the freedom to step out of our comfort zone without worrying about failure or falling or fumbling the ball because we have the assurance of God’s continual love and God’s continual presence and God’s continual grace.  With all of this, what excuse do we have not to do our best with the gifts, and talents and abilities that God has given us?


Give of your best to the Master;
Give Him first place in your heart;
Give Him first place in your service;
Consecrate every part.
Give, and to you will be given;
God His beloved Son gave;
Gratefully seeking to serve Him,
Give Him the best that you have.


(John Groce, Give Your Best to the Master, 1902)  HFG #516


 


     That’s the story.  That’s the message of the Parable of the Talents – use what God has given you, no matter how much or how little.  Use it to the best of your ability and always do it for the glory of God. 


     Someday Jesus will return…and when he does you are going to be called upon to give an account of how you used the time, the talent and the treasures God has so graciously given to you.  He won’t ask how much you have done for him, but he will ask how faithful you have been with what you were given.  You see, the issue is not how much you have…but how well you used what God has given to you.


 


 


 


 


 


 


    


 


 


     


 


 


 


 


Long Term Investments

Keith McFarren

November 17, 2019

Matthew 25:14-30


 


 


     It’s kind of a strange story, isn’t it?  In a world in which we are so focused on equality and social injustice for all people Jesus tells a story of a wealthy landowner who was preparing for a long journey. Before he left he called his three servants together and divided his money, or what they called “talents” back then between them.  But notice that he wasn’t fair in giving away his money; one guy got a lot of money, one guy got an average amount and one guy barely got any at all.


    


     Over the years the meaning of the word “talent” has taken on a new meaning.  In first century Israel “talent” referred to money but over the years, the definition of the word “talent” has changed considerably.  In today’s world the modern day definition of “talent,” means “a gift or a skill or some type of ability” all of which are actually a derivative of the original word “talent.”  So when we’re talking about a 1st century talent, we’re talking about a large amount of money but when we’re talking modern times, we’re talking about a talent being a God given ability or skill.


     So let’s talk in terms of today.  Did you ever wonder why some of us have a whole lot talents or abilities or skills and some of don’t have very many at all?  My son-in-law can do anything.  He can fix a car; he can build a house, he can do electrical work, plumbing, he has artistic abilities, and he can cook like a trained chef.  He’s one of those guys that can look at a problem and in a matter of seconds have it solved.  Me?  I just call on my son-in-law when I have a problem.


     God created us as equals which means we’re all equal in the eyes of God.  You’re no better than me and I’m no better than you.  We are all guaranteed equal rights under the Constitution. In an election our votes are all equal. But when it comes to our God given abilities, or our talents, we are all as different as night and day. When it comes to talents or abilities, God simply did not make us all the same, but by the same token we’re told in 1 Corinthians 12:7 that God has given abilities or talents to each of us and not just some.    


  • Some of us have great intellectual capabilities.  We can read and retain and process everything we read.  Some of us have trouble reading and processing what we read.  Some of us are good with figures and numbers…and some of us aren’t.

  • Some of us have creative minds.  Some of us are artistic and creative.  Some of us can project and articulate our thoughts.  Some of us are born leaders who can stand up in front of a group of people and feel very comfortable. Some of us can’t draw a straight line nor do we want to be a leader nor can we stand up and talk in front of others.

  • And then there are those of us who struggle at trying to find one talent or one ability that God has given us.

     

         But the important thing to remember in our parable is that each servant in our story was given something. No one was left out…no one was overlooked. You may not be a five-talent person, but we all have some talent or ability.  We all do.  And you know something?  There are a whole lot more people in this world who have just one or two talents than there are people who have five talents.

         When the landowner finally came back he called together his three servants and asked them to give an account of what they did with what had been given.  It seems that the five talent man and the two talent man each used what the landowner gave them and invested wisely and got a sizeable return on their investment which made the landowner very happy.
         But what about the one talent man? The one talent man did absolutely nothing with what he was given and had nothing to show for it…and the result was that the landowner became very upset with him.

         In the 25th chapter of Matthew there are three parables in a row: The Parable of the Bridesmaid, the Parable of the Talents, and The Parable of the Sheep and Goats.  And what is interesting in these three parables is that the same phrase is essentially used or referred to in each of them.  And the phrase is this: “after a long time.”  After waiting and waiting, the bridegroom finally returned after a long time. The landowner finally returned after a long time.  And in the parable of the sheep and goats the judgment came after a long time.   


     This is Matthews’s way of saying to us that we’re not really sure when Jesus is going to come back; but in the meantime, he’s asking you what are you doing with the talents or the abilities he has trusted you with?


     That’s what this is all about.  This is the issue.  God has given you a gift…a talent…an ability.  He’s given you something very valuable, something very near and dear to him and expects a return on his investment.  If you have the ability to prophesy, then prophesy.  If you have been given the ability to serve others, then by all means serve others.  If your gift is to teach, then teach; if it is to encourage others, then encourage others; if God has blessed you with the ability to give, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; and if it is to show mercy, then do it cheerfully (Romans 12:6-8).


     Whatever it is he has given you, even if it’s as small as a mustard seed, if you use it wisely, like the mustard seed, it will grow and grow and grow.    


     Regardless of what you think or believe, you have been given the ability to change the world.  You have been given the ability to show that God’s kingdom is starting to bud and to blossom.  Whatever talent or ability he has given you, you can’t set that talent or ability aside and think that you can just graciously give it back to him when he returns. 


 


     In his book, Maximizing Your Potential, Myles Munroe points out that as children of God we are not placed here by accident; we were placed here by God’s design, and it is our responsibility to be all that God intends for us to be.


     “The greatest threat to being all you can be is satisfaction with who you are.  What you could do is always endangered by what you [have already] done.  There are millions of individuals who have buried their talents, gifts, and abilities in the cemetery of their last accomplishment.  They have settled for less than their best.  …the enemy of best is good, and the enemy of good is the norm…and the power of the norm is the curse of society.  It seems like the world is designed to make ‘the norm’ comfortable and ‘the average respectable’ (Myles Munroe, Maximizing Your Potential, Destiny Image Publishers, 1996, 13).


     He goes on to say that those who have fallen into this trap of mediocrity “…have chosen to accept the fate of the millions who have resigned themselves to a normal life, with normal activities, in the company of normal people, striving for normal goals, at a normal pace, with normal motivation, with a normal education, taught by normal teachers, who give normal grades, and live in normal homes, with normal families, leaving a normal heritage, for their normal children, who buy them in a normal grave” (Munroe, Ibid, 16).


 


     What Munroe stresses is that we are to refuse to be normal.  Refuse the status quo.  Refuse to be like the rest of the world.  Strive to go beyond being average.  God has given each and every one of us certain gifts, certain talents, certain abilities and yet so many of us refuse to use them to the fullest extent.  I’ve been here now for over 7 years and I’ll bet that some of you have gifts and talent and abilities and potentials that I don’t even know about.  Gifts and talents and abilities that for some reason or another you’ve kept hidden from me and the rest of this congregation.  Gifts and talents and abilities that might help you and me and this church to reach out to our neighbors so that they might come to have a relationship not only with us…but with Jesus Christ.  Why are you willing to settle for less than the ultimate potential God has given you?    


     Maybe it’s because you’re scared.  Fear can be a debilitating emotion.  It affects people of every age, and every stage and every walk in life.  If you don’t believe me get on the Internet and Google “List of Phobia’s” and you’ll come up with hundreds of things that people are afraid of.  Fear of washing or bathing.  The fear of itching or of the fear of insects that cause itching.  The fear of sourness.  The fear of darkness.  The fear of noise.  The fear of heights.  A lot of little kids are afraid of going down the drain in the bathtub or shower.  That’s called the fear of engulfment – the fear of being swallowed up whole by some unseen force. 


 


     So what are you afraid of?  I don’t mean your phobias.  I mean, what keeps you from taking a chance?  What is it that keeps you from doing something that will really make a difference in the life of this church?  What is it that keeps you from doing something that will make a difference outside the doors of this church?  What keeps you from striving to make the most of what God has given you? 


     Way back in Deuteronomy Moses told the children of Israel: “It is the Lord who goes before you.  He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you.  Do not fear or be dismayed.” (Deut. 31:8)


     Jesus told the parents of a deathly ill child: “Do not fear, only believe.” (Mark 5:36)


     Jesus also told his disciples out on the stormy sea: “It is I.  Do not be afraid.” (John 6:20)


     So you see, with God on our side, we have nothing to fear.  We have the freedom to step out into the unknown…we have the freedom to step out of our comfort zone without worrying about failure or falling or fumbling the ball because we have the assurance of God’s continual love and God’s continual presence and God’s continual grace.  With all of this, what excuse do we have not to do our best with the gifts, and talents and abilities that God has given us?


Give of your best to the Master;
Give Him first place in your heart;
Give Him first place in your service;
Consecrate every part.
Give, and to you will be given;
God His beloved Son gave;
Gratefully seeking to serve Him,
Give Him the best that you have.


(John Groce, Give Your Best to the Master, 1902)  HFG #516


 


     That’s the story.  That’s the message of the Parable of the Talents – use what God has given you, no matter how much or how little.  Use it to the best of your ability and always do it for the glory of God. 


     Someday Jesus will return…and when he does you are going to be called upon to give an account of how you used the time, the talent and the treasures God has so graciously given to you.  He won’t ask how much you have done for him, but he will ask how faithful you have been with what you were given.  You see, the issue is not how much you have…but how well you used what God has given to you.


 


 


 


 


 


 


    


 


 


     


 


 


 


 


Long Term Investments

Keith McFarren

November 17, 2019

Matthew 25:14-30


 


 


     It’s kind of a strange story, isn’t it?  In a world in which we are so focused on equality and social injustice for all people Jesus tells a story of a wealthy landowner who was preparing for a long journey. Before he left he called his three servants together and divided his money, or what they called “talents” back then between them.  But notice that he wasn’t fair in giving away his money; one guy got a lot of money, one guy got an average amount and one guy barely got any at all.


    


     Over the years the meaning of the word “talent” has taken on a new meaning.  In first century Israel “talent” referred to money but over the years, the definition of the word “talent” has changed considerably.  In today’s world the modern day definition of “talent,” means “a gift or a skill or some type of ability” all of which are actually a derivative of the original word “talent.”  So when we’re talking about a 1st century talent, we’re talking about a large amount of money but when we’re talking modern times, we’re talking about a talent being a God given ability or skill.


     So let’s talk in terms of today.  Did you ever wonder why some of us have a whole lot talents or abilities or skills and some of don’t have very many at all?  My son-in-law can do anything.  He can fix a car; he can build a house, he can do electrical work, plumbing, he has artistic abilities, and he can cook like a trained chef.  He’s one of those guys that can look at a problem and in a matter of seconds have it solved.  Me?  I just call on my son-in-law when I have a problem.


     God created us as equals which means we’re all equal in the eyes of God.  You’re no better than me and I’m no better than you.  We are all guaranteed equal rights under the Constitution. In an election our votes are all equal. But when it comes to our God given abilities, or our talents, we are all as different as night and day. When it comes to talents or abilities, God simply did not make us all the same, but by the same token we’re told in 1 Corinthians 12:7 that God has given abilities or talents to each of us and not just some.    


  • Some of us have great intellectual capabilities.  We can read and retain and process everything we read.  Some of us have trouble reading and processing what we read.  Some of us are good with figures and numbers…and some of us aren’t.

  • Some of us have creative minds.  Some of us are artistic and creative.  Some of us can project and articulate our thoughts.  Some of us are born leaders who can stand up in front of a group of people and feel very comfortable. Some of us can’t draw a straight line nor do we want to be a leader nor can we stand up and talk in front of others.

  • And then there are those of us who struggle at trying to find one talent or one ability that God has given us.

     

         But the important thing to remember in our parable is that each servant in our story was given something. No one was left out…no one was overlooked. You may not be a five-talent person, but we all have some talent or ability.  We all do.  And you know something?  There are a whole lot more people in this world who have just one or two talents than there are people who have five talents.

         When the landowner finally came back he called together his three servants and asked them to give an account of what they did with what had been given.  It seems that the five talent man and the two talent man each used what the landowner gave them and invested wisely and got a sizeable return on their investment which made the landowner very happy.
         But what about the one talent man? The one talent man did absolutely nothing with what he was given and had nothing to show for it…and the result was that the landowner became very upset with him.

         In the 25th chapter of Matthew there are three parables in a row: The Parable of the Bridesmaid, the Parable of the Talents, and The Parable of the Sheep and Goats.  And what is interesting in these three parables is that the same phrase is essentially used or referred to in each of them.  And the phrase is this: “after a long time.”  After waiting and waiting, the bridegroom finally returned after a long time. The landowner finally returned after a long time.  And in the parable of the sheep and goats the judgment came after a long time.   


     This is Matthews’s way of saying to us that we’re not really sure when Jesus is going to come back; but in the meantime, he’s asking you what are you doing with the talents or the abilities he has trusted you with?


     That’s what this is all about.  This is the issue.  God has given you a gift…a talent…an ability.  He’s given you something very valuable, something very near and dear to him and expects a return on his investment.  If you have the ability to prophesy, then prophesy.  If you have been given the ability to serve others, then by all means serve others.  If your gift is to teach, then teach; if it is to encourage others, then encourage others; if God has blessed you with the ability to give, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; and if it is to show mercy, then do it cheerfully (Romans 12:6-8).


     Whatever it is he has given you, even if it’s as small as a mustard seed, if you use it wisely, like the mustard seed, it will grow and grow and grow.    


     Regardless of what you think or believe, you have been given the ability to change the world.  You have been given the ability to show that God’s kingdom is starting to bud and to blossom.  Whatever talent or ability he has given you, you can’t set that talent or ability aside and think that you can just graciously give it back to him when he returns. 


 


     In his book, Maximizing Your Potential, Myles Munroe points out that as children of God we are not placed here by accident; we were placed here by God’s design, and it is our responsibility to be all that God intends for us to be.


     “The greatest threat to being all you can be is satisfaction with who you are.  What you could do is always endangered by what you [have already] done.  There are millions of individuals who have buried their talents, gifts, and abilities in the cemetery of their last accomplishment.  They have settled for less than their best.  …the enemy of best is good, and the enemy of good is the norm…and the power of the norm is the curse of society.  It seems like the world is designed to make ‘the norm’ comfortable and ‘the average respectable’ (Myles Munroe, Maximizing Your Potential, Destiny Image Publishers, 1996, 13).


     He goes on to say that those who have fallen into this trap of mediocrity “…have chosen to accept the fate of the millions who have resigned themselves to a normal life, with normal activities, in the company of normal people, striving for normal goals, at a normal pace, with normal motivation, with a normal education, taught by normal teachers, who give normal grades, and live in normal homes, with normal families, leaving a normal heritage, for their normal children, who buy them in a normal grave” (Munroe, Ibid, 16).


 


     What Munroe stresses is that we are to refuse to be normal.  Refuse the status quo.  Refuse to be like the rest of the world.  Strive to go beyond being average.  God has given each and every one of us certain gifts, certain talents, certain abilities and yet so many of us refuse to use them to the fullest extent.  I’ve been here now for over 7 years and I’ll bet that some of you have gifts and talent and abilities and potentials that I don’t even know about.  Gifts and talents and abilities that for some reason or another you’ve kept hidden from me and the rest of this congregation.  Gifts and talents and abilities that might help you and me and this church to reach out to our neighbors so that they might come to have a relationship not only with us…but with Jesus Christ.  Why are you willing to settle for less than the ultimate potential God has given you?    


     Maybe it’s because you’re scared.  Fear can be a debilitating emotion.  It affects people of every age, and every stage and every walk in life.  If you don’t believe me get on the Internet and Google “List of Phobia’s” and you’ll come up with hundreds of things that people are afraid of.  Fear of washing or bathing.  The fear of itching or of the fear of insects that cause itching.  The fear of sourness.  The fear of darkness.  The fear of noise.  The fear of heights.  A lot of little kids are afraid of going down the drain in the bathtub or shower.  That’s called the fear of engulfment – the fear of being swallowed up whole by some unseen force. 


 


     So what are you afraid of?  I don’t mean your phobias.  I mean, what keeps you from taking a chance?  What is it that keeps you from doing something that will really make a difference in the life of this church?  What is it that keeps you from doing something that will make a difference outside the doors of this church?  What keeps you from striving to make the most of what God has given you? 


     Way back in Deuteronomy Moses told the children of Israel: “It is the Lord who goes before you.  He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you.  Do not fear or be dismayed.” (Deut. 31:8)


     Jesus told the parents of a deathly ill child: “Do not fear, only believe.” (Mark 5:36)


     Jesus also told his disciples out on the stormy sea: “It is I.  Do not be afraid.” (John 6:20)


     So you see, with God on our side, we have nothing to fear.  We have the freedom to step out into the unknown…we have the freedom to step out of our comfort zone without worrying about failure or falling or fumbling the ball because we have the assurance of God’s continual love and God’s continual presence and God’s continual grace.  With all of this, what excuse do we have not to do our best with the gifts, and talents and abilities that God has given us?


Give of your best to the Master;
Give Him first place in your heart;
Give Him first place in your service;
Consecrate every part.
Give, and to you will be given;
God His beloved Son gave;
Gratefully seeking to serve Him,
Give Him the best that you have.


(John Groce, Give Your Best to the Master, 1902)  HFG #516


 


     That’s the story.  That’s the message of the Parable of the Talents – use what God has given you, no matter how much or how little.  Use it to the best of your ability and always do it for the glory of God. 


     Someday Jesus will return…and when he does you are going to be called upon to give an account of how you used the time, the talent and the treasures God has so graciously given to you.  He won’t ask how much you have done for him, but he will ask how faithful you have been with what you were given.  You see, the issue is not how much you have…but how well you used what God has given to you.