Summary: What does God expect from us in this life? What does He expect from us based on what we are able to do? This message tries to answer those questions by looking at a couple of teachings from Jesus.
What we want to know this morning is how God has uniquely made us so we don’t waste our lives. One of the main ideas from the series we went through is that if you do something meaningful with your life, you will be a minority. Most people just go through life trying to survive. They go through a daily routine of getting up, getting dressed, going to school or work, going home, eating, watching some TV, spending some time with friends and family, then going to bed only to start the cycle back up the next morning. But sometimes that turns into us just surviving, not really living.
This morning, we’re looking at our abilities. But this message probably isn’t going to be what you’re expecting.
Before we dive into this, let me start off by saying when we talk about abilities this morning, we’re not going to be talking about the things you are good at. Hopefully you know your abilities and skills, and if not, they’re not too hard to figure out. It certainly isn’t going to help you much for me to stand up here and talk about what you may or may not be good at.
So instead, we’re going to talk about the Biblical idea of abilities. Now certainly in the Bible there were people who were better at certain things than others. They had certain gifts and natural abilities to do specific tasks. But more often, there were people in the Bible that did not have natural abilities to do great things that did them anyway because they allowed God to help them do it. God made a bunch of men who had the ability to fish into the greatest teachers and evangelists ever. But if you would have asked these guys to do some public teaching before they met Christ, I doubt they would have told you that they could.
Don’t get me wrong, I think that God has given us things that we are naturally good at, but if we limit ourselves to just those things, we are missing the point. And too often, we focus on abilities that don’t really make a difference in the long run. Like the ability to shoot a ball through a ten foot basketball hoop. Or the things that Napoleon mentioned: Nunchuck skills, bow hunting skills, or computer hacking skills- I’m not sure those are exactly what God had in mind.
Meaning of Ability
So let’s take a minute to look at a couple of passages from the Bible that talk about ability. Both of them have to do with money, which may seem irrelevant at first, but there’s a point here.
The disciples, each according to his ability, decided to provide help for the brothers living in Judea. This they did, sending their gifts to the elders by Barnabas and Saul.
When they arrived at the house of the Lord in Jerusalem, some of the heads of the families gave freewill offerings toward the rebuilding of the house of God on its site. According to their ability they gave to the treasury for this work…
Now hold on for a second because this is very deep. I studied for hours and this is what I realized. When these verses talk about “ability”, they’re talking about what they were able to do. In this case, they were giving what they were able to give. I mean, let’s not make this harder than it is, abilities are simply things we are able to do. Sometimes we think about abilities and try to figure out what we’re good at that few other people are good at or things we are good at that makes us stand out from everyone else, but that’s not what abilities are—the word abilities comes from the word able- obviously—what we are able to do.
These people were giving what they were able. They weren’t giving because their spiritual gift was giving money, they were giving because they could. The only difference was the amount they were able to give.
The reason we started with those examples is to lay some foundation on what we mean by abilities this morning. We are not talking about your special skills, we are talking about what you are able to do. And what you are able to do is extremely important in how you live for God and make a difference in this world, and what God expects of you.
So the more important question now is: “What does God expect we are able to do? How does He expect us to live based on our abilities?”
Jesus addressed this very issue by telling two similar stories. We’re going to look at both stories and see what Jesus is trying to teach us, but before we do that, let’s pray.