May 3, 2015 | Sermon text: Matthew 25:14-30
At our first prayer meeting during the season of prayer and fasting I read a single verse of scripture. Hebrews 11:6 says “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” The very fact that one says a prayer to God is an admission that he can and we can’t. The one who prays in faith believes God exists and, according to Heb. 11:6, rewards those who seek him.
In Matthew 25, Jesus is describing the end times and final judgement to his followers. Verses 14-30 is the story we know as the Parable of the Talents. A talent was a piece of money but it makes it real easy for us to interpret using our talents, things we are good at, for the glory of God. The first thing we need to realize is this: The talents come from the master. The coins in the parable are given to each servant based on the ability of each just as the spiritual gifts are given to each child of God by the Holy Spirit. Whether it’s teaching Sunday School or playing the tuba, the gifts come from God in the first place. The word inspiration literally means God breathed. If you have a vision for your church or community, if you feel an idea just fell on you like a ton of bricks, that didn’t just happen. It was given to you by God! The spiritual gifts described in the New Testament include preaching, teaching the Word and interpreting tongues. But in our day and age being able to design websites or build a front porch are talents that could be used for the glory and honor of God.
God calls us to use our gifts. The master of the house in the parable didn’t issue specific instructions but it was understood what he expected. The servants knew that he would have used his property to earn more had he not been going away, and two of the three did just that while he was gone. The third servant did not act out of ignorance but out of fear. Fear is one of the greatest weapons the devil has to use against us. We are called by God into Kingdom service, to use the gifts he has given us to bless others. Whether it’s preaching from the pulpit or teaching arts and crafts at Vacation Bible School, God will lead us into places where our gifts can be used. Not everyone who is called responds. Just like we don’t always answer the phone when it rings or go to the door when someone knocks, we can ignore God’s call. Moses argued with God at the burning bush that he lacked the ability to do what God was asking him to do. Remember, it’s God that gives the talent in the first place. We are called to tasks bigger than us but not bigger than God. He will do the work through us if we are willing to be used in his service.
He rewards those who use their talents. In the parable there was reward for those who put their talents to good use. The only servant not rewarded was the one that hid his talent. The application gives itself: Don’t hide your talent! I know it’s not as easy as it sounds. But look at the benefits versus the consequences. And we’re not talking about gold coins in an ancient economy, our reward in God’s Kingdom is at stake. Keep the big picture in mind. Growing your Sunday School attendance might get you a certificate to hang on the wall in the short run but in the long run could mean the difference for someone between going to heaven or going to hell. The greatest gift we as believers have entrusted with is the Gospel and we have an obligation to share that with others; as many others as possible. Their may be an apparent reward in this lifetime but the real rewards are yet to come.
God gives the spiritual gifts.
He calls us to use them.
He rewards those that do.
Peace and God bless.