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Summary: A weak, shame-filled alcoholic did real good because the coach decided he was worth taking a risk on. In the same way, God sees our value and loves us enough to take a risk on us.

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READ: Matt 25:14-30

1. God has Blessed us to be a blessing

ILLUSTRATION:

Stewardship and the Swiss Watchmaker Slogan

Known for their luxury watches, Swiss watchmaker Patek Philippe has also become well-known for its clever advertising slogan: "You never actually own a Patek Philippe; you merely take care of it for the next generation."

So it is with what we "own": money, gifts, ministries, time, and our very lives.

2. Our Life is not Our Own

ILLUSTRATION:

Our Lives Belong to God

Writing on the topic of worship, author Greg Laurie shares the following: I heard the story of a woman who had finished shopping and returned to her car. She found four men inside the car. She dropped her shopping bags, drew a handgun, and screamed, "I have a gun, and I know how to use it! Get out of the car." Those men did not wait for a second invitation; they got out and ran like crazy. The woman, somewhat shaken, loaded her shopping bags and then got into the car.

But no matter how she tried, she could not get her key into the ignition. Then it dawned on her: her car was parked four or five spaces away! She loaded her grocery bags into her own car and then drove to the police station to turn herself in. The desk sergeant to whom she told the story nearly fell off his chair laughing. He pointed to the other end of the counter, where four men were reporting a carjacking by an old woman with thick glasses and curly white hair, less than five feet tall, and carrying a large handgun. No charges were filed. You see, she thought it was her car, but it really belonged to someone else. We think our lives are our own, but they really belong to God.

3. We are the Revolution:

"Hoosiers": Taking Risks on Others

The movie Hoosiers tells the Cinderella story of a small-town Indiana high school basketball team that wins the state championship. One important character, an alcoholic named Shooter, played by Dennis Hopper, has failed at most things in his life—but he has an extraordinary knowledge of and passion for the game of basketball.

The coach (played by Gene Hackman) works with Shooter to give him a second chance in life. He asks Shooter to be his assistant coach, and soon Shooter is on the bench. The little-known Hickory High School basketball team is starting to experience winning ways when, during a pivotal game, the coach decides to get himself thrown out. He pulls the referee aside and says, "Take me out of the game." The ref doesn’t know what the coach is up to, but he tosses him from the game.

Shooter is terrified. A few scenes earlier, after another drinking binge, Shooter promised the coach he’d stay sober and remain as the assistant on one condition: "You’ve got to give me your word," said Shooter, "that you will not be kicked out of no games!" The end of the game is near, and the score is tied. The Hickory players call a time out. In the team huddle, all eyes are on Shooter, including his son’s, who never thought his dad should be in this position in the first place. Shooter is paralyzed by fear. He can’t speak. Finally, his son says, "You reckon number four will put up their last shot, Dad?" That seems to jump-start Shooter, and he haltingly calls a play. The team goes back on the floor and begins to execute it when Shooter calls another time out.


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