Iliff and Saltillo UM Churches
August 17, 2003
“Unwrapping Your Gifts”
“I’ll go where you want me to go, dear Lord,
real service is what I desire.
I’ll sing a solo anytime, dear Lord,
but don’t ask me to sing in the choir.
I’ll do what you want me to do, dear Lord,
I like to see things come to pass.
But don’t ask me to teach boys and girls, O Lord,
I’d rather just stay in my class.
I’ll do what you want me to do, dear Lord
I yearn for Thy kingdom to thrive
I’ll give you my nickels and dimes, dear Lord,
but please don’t ask me to tithe.
Have you ever given someone a gift and they used it recklessly, carelessly, or destructively? Can you remember when you gave a gift to someone who tossed it aside and didn’t bother to even open it? Can you think of a time when you gave a gift to someone and they didn’t thank you for it? How did that make you feel?
Then there are other times that you gave gifts to someone and they were excited about opening it. Their eyes lit up when they took it out of the box, they said, “Thank you” and used it as you hoped they would. How did it make you feel?
This is the way it is with God who has already given us a gift or gifts. Think of what might bring pleasure to His heart as He sees your use and appreciation for what he has given you. On the other hand, what would cause Him to feel hurt or disappointed? What if He saw that we just tossed our gifts aside unopened and unappreciated?
Today’s scripture in Matthew 25 parallels one in Luke 19:11. The two parables are similar. The master gives his servants various amounts of money according to their ability to handle it (verse 15) while he went on a journey.
Matthew 25 he gave one servant five talents which was equal to $5000. or more [a talent was worth a little more than $1000.].
To the second servant he gave 2 talents or around $2000.+
To the third he gave 1 talent.
He didn’t specifically tell them what to do, but the first two “went at once and put his money to work and gained five more and the other two more.” (v. 16). The third servant “went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money” (v. 18).
In the Luke account there were 10 servants who received 10 minas [a mina was equivalent to three months wages] In this account he specifically said, “Put this money to work until I come back” (v. 13).
servant one earned 10 more
servant two earned five more
servant three said, “Sir, here is your mina. I have kept it laid away [wrapped up] in a piece of cloth. I was AFRAID of you because you are a hard man. You reap what you did not sow.
What can we get out of these parables concerning unwrapping our own gifts that have been entrusted to us?
1. DESIRE: Wanting to be used of God is the first step in unwrapping our gifts. Matthew Henry said, “we bar our own doors.” We set our own limits because we don’t really desire to be used of God. I Corinthians 14:1 says, “Eagerly desire spiritual gifts.” Our priorities come ahead of God’s and we leave His gifts unwrapped and in the box. We don’t value or appreciate them very much. We don’t always think about what would please God and we never get past the wrapping paper.
Frances Havergal who wrote “Take my life and let it be consecrated Lord to Thee” pleased the Gift Giver as she used her singing talents. She prayed,
“Take my love, my God I pour,
At Thy feet its treasure store
Take myself and I will be
even only all for Thee, only all for Thee.”
If we have identified our gifts, then what are we willing to do with them? In the parables the servant also was also afraid to run the risk of investing his money because he knew the master was a hard and exacting person. Some reasons why we don’t unwrap our gift besides not really WANTING to, is FEAR. We fear what people will say, we fear looking stupid, we fear failure, or fear of getting hurt again. Rather than experiencing that we leave our gifts wrapped up.
The master didn’t say, “because you have been very SUCCESSFUL in a very small matter--but because you have been TRUSTWORTHY, FAITHFUL--I will put you in charge of many things.” (v. 21).
2. Use: Unwrapping, your gifts through use. We desire to be used of God but we must go beyond that to actually putting the gift to use. We have to become a risk taker. As you first begin to unwrap your gift, you probably won’t feel entirely comfortable. You may feel scared to teach that first Sunday school class, to play that first piano solo, to cultivate the gift of hospitality, to make that first hospital visit, or to do anything that you haven’t done before. You stretch yourself beyond your current limits. You extend your current borders. You remember in the Prayer of Jabez he said, “Bless me and ENLARGE MY TERRITORY.” (I Chron. 4:10). He was wanting to stretch beyond his current capabilities and current limits.
When you are asked to do something, do you automatically say, “Oh, I couldn’t do that! Oh, it’s not a good time. I am not worthy!” When we say, “I can’t,” it usually means, “I won’t.”
3. A Process: Unwrapping our spiritual gifts is usually process over a period of time. It doesn’t happen quickly or easily. As the Lord finds you TRUSTWORTHY and FAITHFUL, he will add more. If he gives you a word of knowledge or a word of wisdom and you apply it to the situation, then he will be able to use you the next time. You might be taking baby steps in the use of your gift after you unwrap it. This is where your faith comes in. In the Romans 12:6 scripture from last week, it ways, “we have different gifts according to the grace given us. If a [person’s] gift is prophesying, let him use it IN PROPORTION TO HIS FAITH.” It takes our faith to begin to operate in our gifts once they are unwrapped.
Just do it. Faith helps us to move out of fear of failure, fear of looking stupid, fear of being criticized. A little step of faith gets you started.
When praying for someone who is sick--just begin to speak the words--more will come. Fear says, “What if I fall flat on my nose?” Faith says, “More will come.”
As we walk in faith with our eyes and ears open to the leading of the Holy Spirit, IDEAS will begin to come. The idea comes and you step out in faith to do it--to speak or to serve. You just ATTEMPT to do it. You are more concerned about being FAITHFUL and TRUSTWORTHY and being PERFECT. If you are teaching--you prepare as best you can and then just go ahead and do it. If singing, practice as beset you can and then JUST DO IT> That is how you operate in your gift according to your faith. If you get one word, speak it out when it is needed. more will come. It might be difficult--it might be scary, but you are learning to walk by faith and not by sight.
CONCLUSION: In both parables the servants who were actively doing something with the talents were commended. The master said, “Well done--because you have been faithful and trustworthy, I will increase what you already have.”
Keep in mind these three principles this week:
1. We must DESIRE to be used of God in our giftedness. Otherwise we won’t even attempt to unwrap them.
2. We start to unwrap our gifts through USE.
3. It is an ONGOING PROCESS. As we step out in faith, more will be added.
Next week the message will be “Developing Your Gifts” Scripture II Timothy 1:3-8
Let us Pray: