Summary: How are we using what God has given us to build His kingdom. We are either life givers or grave diggers.
Digging Your own Grave
Again, the Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going into another country, who called together his servants and loaned them money to invest for him while he was gone. He gave $5,000 to one, $2,000 to another, and $1,000 to the last-- dividing it in proportion to their abilities-- and then left on his trip. The man who received the $5,000 began immediately to buy and sell with it and soon earned another $5,000. The man with $2,000 went right to work, too, and earned another $2,000. But the man who received the $1,000 dug a hole in the ground and hid the money for safekeeping.
After a long time their master returned from his trip and called them to him to account for his money. The man to whom he had entrusted the $5,000 brought him $10,000. His master praised him for good work. “You have been faithful in handling this small amount,” he told him, “so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Begin the joyous tasks I have assigned to you.”
Next came the man who had received the $2,000, with the report, “Sir, you gave me $2,000 to use, and I have doubled it.” “Good work,” his master said. “You are a good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over this small amount, so now I will give you much more.”
Then the man with the $1,000 came and said, “Sir, I knew you were a hard man, and I was afraid you would rob me of what I earned, so I hid your money in the earth and here it is!” But his master replied, “Wicked man! Lazy slave! Since you knew I would demand your profit, you should at least have put my money into the bank so I could have some interest. Take the money from this man and give it to the man with the $10,000. For the man who uses well what he is given shall be given more, and he shall have abundance. But from the man who is unfaithful, even what little responsibility he has shall be taken from him. And throw the useless servant out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (TLB)
Here we have another story that Christ is using to illustrate life principles to those who love God and desire to build His Kingdom. The character of “a man going on a trip” is representative of Christ preparing a place for us in heaven. “His servants” represents us, those who have accepted his act of grace on the cross, and through faith believe and are saved. The money, or “talents”, represent the gifts, abilities, and blessings that he has provided for us to continue His work until He returns.
1. How much has God given you?
List the various gifts, abilities, and blessings that God has placed in your life.
Example: organization, compassionate, musical, funny, athletic, gorgeous
(You may need to ask a close friend or parent to help)
How much do you deserve?
2. Proportion does not determine potential!
What you have now is not an indication of what you’ll have in the future. God gives to us according to our current ability. The proportion to current ability does not mean it’s in proportion to our ultimate potential. What you do with your current proportion determines your ultimate potential.
David’s gifts: shepherd and musician – ultimate potential: song writer and King
Paul’s gifts: smart and outgoing – ultimate potential: evangelist, missionary, author
Ester’s gifts: smart, pretty, - ultimate potential: queen, heroine
Peter’s gifts: tent maker, passionate – ultimate potential: evangelist, martyr
Samson’s gifts: strong, anointed – ultimate potential: judge, failed, killed
Saphira’s gifts: wealth – ultimate potential: lied and died
3. Our response should be immediate
The talents, gifts, and blessings that God has freely given us require responsibility.
A. Our responsibility begins the moment we receive the blessing.
Illustration: Receiving gifts at Christmas, birthdays etc. When did you begin using and enjoying the gift? If you’re anything like me, you started using it right away. My son is the same way. We just celebrated his 5th birthday and his eyes lit up as he opened each gift. In fact, as he opened them, he immediately wanted to play with or put it on, even to the point of forgetting about the other gifts he hadn’t opened yet.
We need respond a bit like my son opening up his presents. Get excited about what God has given you and begin to use it, enjoy it, and share it with others.
B. The quicker our response the greater our potential.
Illustration: Starting a retirement account. Investing in your future is very important, and starting a retirement account is a great way to do just that. You’re not only investing in your future, but the future of your family. Common sense would tell us that the sooner we start putting money away the more we will have when the time actually comes for us to retire.