Undertaker or Risk-taker?
Sermon shared by David Dykes
In one of Paul Powell’s books, he quoted Dr. Bob Cox as saying that institutions usually go through three stages. They begin as risk takers, then they grow to be caretakers, then they usually end up as undertakers! I’ve never forgotten those words and I want to borrow two of them to entitle this message on the Parable of the Talents. Although there were three different servants in the story, there were only two attitudes. Two of the servants were risk-takers and one of them was an undertaker. When it comes to serving the Lord, which category do you fall into? Let’s learn four important lessons from this powerful parable:
1. GOD SHARES HIS TREASURE WITH EACH OF HIS SERVANTS–ACCORDING TO OUR POTENTIAL
This parable has been confusing to many people because of the word “talents” in the King James Version. To us, the word “talent” means an ability, like a talent to sing. But in the original Greek language, the word talenton referred to a huge sum of money. Some commentators say a talent is 6,000 denaria; one denarius is what a mean would earn in one day, so 6,000 denaria would be 20 years’ income! But this parable is doubly confusing, because it can apply to your abilities, your talents! God has given treasure to every one of His servants. You must realize it is not yours; it is God’s. In the story, the master gave to the servants that which is called “his property.”
Again, let me remind you that every good thing you have in your life came as a gift from God: your money, your abilities, your family, your intelligence, your friends, your house, your car–it’s no really yours, it all belongs to God!
Even the money you give to God is His in the first place. When Solomon built the Temple in the Old Testament, the people came and gave financial gifts for the cost of the construction, exactly what we are doing. Notice what Solomon prayed as He offered this money to God: “Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things...but who am I, and who are my people that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.” (I Chronicles 29:12-13) I give thanks to God for the generosity you have shown over the past few years as we built this worship center, but we need to understand we were only giving back to God that which has come from His hand.
Now, you may be scratching your head wondering why God asks us to give to back to Him, why doesn’t He just keep it for Himself in the first place? The answer is twofold: First, He wants us to be blessed by the joy of giving to Him, and, second, He is blessed when we sacrifice to Him.
When my daughters were little, I took them Christmas shopping and I would give them a certain amount of money to spend on Christmas gifts. The money was not theirs, they hadn’t earned it, I gave it them. They would use the money I gave them to buy me a Christmas gift. Now, I could have said, “Instead of giving you $20 to buy me a