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Sermons

Stewardship of Your Gift

27 Jun , 2016  

May 24, 2015

Matthew 25:14-30

For it is as when a man, going into another country, called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.

And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one; to each according to his several ability; and he went on his journey. Straightway he that received the five talents went and traded with them, and made other five talents. In like manner he also that received the two gained other two. But he that received the one went away and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.

Now after a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and maketh a reckoning with them. And he that received the five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, ‘Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: lo, I have gained other five talents.’ His lord said unto him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will set thee over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy lord.’

Parable_of_talents

The parable of the talents, depicted in a 1712 woodcut. The lazy servant searches for his buried talent, while the two other servants present their earnings to their master.

And he also that received the two talents came and said, ‘Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: lo, I have gained other two talents.’ His lord said unto him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will set thee over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy lord.’

And he also that had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew thee that thou art a hard man, reaping where thou didst not sow, and gathering where thou didst not scatter; and I was afraid, and went away and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, thou hast thine own.’ But his lord answered and said unto him, ‘Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I did not scatter; thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the bankers, and at my coming I should have received back mine own with interest.

Take ye away therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him that hath the ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not, even that which he hath shall be taken away. And cast ye out the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness: there shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth.’

God’s Unique Creation

Each person is God’s unique creation. Even identical twins have differences. God is the Master Creator and Designer. He created each one of us with specific abilities and characteristics and gifts.

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Saint Paul by Bartolomeo Montagna

Because He is a purposeful God with each unique person He had a plan in mind. One day the Almighty said, “I AM going to create a Jew. I will arrange to have him born into a family of Jews that are Roman citizens. I will arrange for Him to have both an extensive classical education in Latin and Greek. He will also be tutored intensively in the Jewish Scriptures. He will have great management ability, be an excellent writer, courageous, zealous, an inspirer of men. His name will be Saul of Tarsus.”

What did Saul do with all these gifts? He used them in his efforts to crush the Jews who became involved in the heresy of believing that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah. He worked aggressively to seize these believers in the Nazarene, confiscate their property, jail them and kill many.

Was he a good steward of God’s gifts? Of course not. He misused God’s gifts, causing pain and suffering to God by persecuting God’s elect.

The Father, the Son and The Holy Spirit allowed Saul to misuse God’s gifts only so far, and then Jesus halted Saul and turned him completely around. From a hater of Jesus and His believers, Saul was transformed into Paul, a lover of Jesus and His people. He became the foremost evangelist of the New Testament. Properly using God’s gifts, Paul reached thousands individually and by writing; and brought them to faith in Jesus, Son of God, Savior. Did Paul become a good steward of the gifts given to him by Almighty God? The answer is a resounding yes!”

Each is Endowed with Gifts

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Rahab Helping the Two Israelite Spies. Illustration from the 1897 Bible Pictures and What They Teach Us: brief descriptions by Charles Foster

Each one of us here has been endowed with gifts from our Father. He placed them in your innocent baby hands at the beginning of your life. He charged you to use all He gave you, everything in you, even your life itself, all to accomplish His purposes. As the Master in the parable gave talents to his servants, just so God, according to each one’s ability, charges you with the responsibility to turn His gifts unto great results.
To get an idea of the gifts God gives, you can look at the lives of the people God chooses to lead, prophesy, teach and minister. In Scripture there are great examples; King Hezekiah, Rahab and the Prophet Hosea, to name just a few.

Grow Up in Christ

Our Lord has not just saved us and left us on our own to live our lives. He has given us the responsibility to grow up in Christ and to be His ministers to believers and to those who do not have Jesus as Savior.

To show us how to grow He has given us the Holy Spirit. Jesus said He was sending the Spirit who would teach us all things and remind us of all Jesus taught. The Holy Spirit also assists us in our ministering to others. God has given us gifts. They are built into us from conception. They are encoded in our DNA. God has distributed them to individuals. Each person will have several complementary gifts. No one but Jesus has them all.

There are three lists of gifts, manifestations and offices in the New Testament.

Gifts from God (Romans 12:6-13)

  1. Prophesy – speaking forth the words of God
  2. Ministry – serving both God and man
  3. Teaching – instructing and sharing what you know and have learned
  4. Exhorting – preaching and encouraging
  5. Giving – generously sharing time, talents, energy, finances and your life
  6. Ruling – leadership, organizing and motivating others
  7. Showing mercy – sensitive to the needs of others
  8. Loving tenderly & affectionately – building up and consoling as needed
  9. Steadfast in Prayer – Prayer warrior, prevailing in prayer
  10. Diligent – persistent in doing what God wants without sloth
  11. Providing – for God’s people and for others
  12. Hospitable – inviting people into fellowship
  13. Patient –seeing beyond the difficulties of the moment to God’s blessings

Manifestations of the Holy Spirit in our lives (1 Corinthians 12:7-11)

  1. Word of wisdom – supernatural understanding
  2. Word of knowledge – supernaturally knowing what you have not learned
  3. Faith – believing beyond hope
  4. Healing – supernatural healing
  5. Miracles – transformation of the natural world
  6. Prophesy – speaking forth the words of God
  7. Discerning of Spirits supernatural knowledge of good and evil
  8. Speaking in Tongues – praying or speaking a language not learned
  9. Interpretation of Tongues – giving the sense of a tongue.

Ministry Offices (Ephesians 4:11)

  1. Apostles – Church planters
  2. Prophets – Proclaiming the Word of the Lord
  3. Evangelists – Leads people to Christ
  4. Pastors – Disciples the saved, nurturing them in the faith
  5. Teachers – Instructing believers and unbelievers in Christian doctrine

Using Your Gifts

All your lives you have been using the gifts your Lord has given you. As you reflect on how you have ministered in the past, you will understand how God was ministering through you.

When I was seeking an executive job, they counseled me to just list my previous employments, and then for each one describe in detail an incident that displayed an ability of mine. In this way, I was able to build a picture of the characteristics that made me fit for the job. It was not until later that I connected the skills I had with the gifting of my God.

Do you like to be with people? That may be the gift of hospitality.

Do you like to encourage people to see the movie you enjoyed or go to your favorite restaurant? That may be the ministry of evangelism.

Do you like to help people understand things? That may be the ministry of teaching.

What you like to do and do well, is most likely the talent God gave you to invest for Him and return the dividends. You can ask one another what gifts they see in you.

Jesus Wants You

Jesus wants you to minister to the folks around you. As you pass someone in the hall, send a silent prayer to your Lord. “Jesus, how do you want me to serve her? How would you like me to pray for Him?” As you go by a room, stick your head in and ask how you can help. For those who want prayer, you can step in and pray for them. Lay your hands on them as you pray.

When you wake up each morning ask, “Jesus what ministries have You for me to do today?” During the day keep your eyes open for opportunities to exercise your gifts. Keep your ears open for the Holy Spirit’s direction.

Before you go to sleep each night pray for the people the Holy Spirit has brought to your notice during the day.

You cannot do everything. You can do something; but you must not do nothing.

And then when this life is over and the Lord God Almighty calls you in for an accounting of your use of His gifts, you can say. “Lord, here are the talents you gave me and here is how I multiplied them.” And He will say to you, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant! Enter into the joy of your Lord!”

Prayer

Benediction:

“Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,

To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.”


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