Summary: Everyone is given gifts and talents to use for the upbuilding of the Kingdom, and we need to do our best to use those gifts and not waste them

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“Tragedy of the Unopened Gift”


The Antiques Road Show is an interesting television show to watch. Every now and then on the show a person will come in with something they have had for many years, maybe a family heirloom that they thought was worthless, and a antique expert will price the value for them. Sometimes the people will be shocked when they learn they unknowingly had a hidden fortune.

That is the tragedy of the unopened gift. When we receive gifts from someone, we are expected to use it. People do not give gifts for us to put on a shelf and never to touch. I remember as a child I would feel bad if I didn’t play with all my gifts because I knew that the gifts I received, no matter how large or small were intended for me to use.

Many years ago as missionaries would travel to other countries and work with the tribal people they would bring and give them sundials. The natives were so fascinated by these sundials that they put a roof over them.

Is there something today blocking what God has given you? He has given us gifts and they have a specific purpose, but if we do not use them they are as useless as a sundial covered by a roof. That is the tragedy of the unopened gift.

Today in the church many people are content without being involved in anything. Many people think that just attending services in a building is accomplishing what they needed to do and punching their time clock with God. Many are content doing just enough to make it by. God has entrusted us each with gifts and talents that he intends for us to use for the strengthening of the church, and for so many they repeat the tragedy of the unopened gift.

As a child I used to collect baseball cards. I still have thousands upon thousands of cards. Most of the presents I received had to do with my collection of baseball cards. I especially loved the older cards of the real great players that played before I was even a twinkle in my mother’s eye; you know the ones that many little boys ruined in the spokes of their bicycles. I loved them because they were worth more, they were a better investment. One time in particular I remember my next door neighbor going through some baseball cards he had from when he was a child. Luckily for me he knew nothing about baseball. He let me look through them and gave away many great cards because he had no idea of what he had. On one occasion as I dug through those old cards I found a Nolan Ryan rookie card. That may not sound like anything that special to most people, but that card was a obvious treasure to me. First of all Nolan Ryan may have been the greatest pitcher of all time and secondly it was his rookie card, which greatly increased the value. I took that card home and grabbed my book, which gave the value of the card; it was worth several thousand dollars. My neighbor had no idea what he had, sadly my parents made me take it back to him and let him know what unopened gift he had there.

That is the tragedy of the unopened gift. Many people have a gift that God has given them and they refuse to use it for whatever reason. Perhaps today you are living the tragedy of the unopened gift. I want you to know this morning that God has given each of us a different and special gift to use for the kingdom and not using that gift hinders us from experiencing the full joy that God intended for us to have in Christ.

Text: Matthew 25:14-30

I. Reasons For Unopened Gifts

In this parable that Jesus told there are many different variables. There are three different servants with three different gifts that they were entrusted with. The thing that Jesus is trying to point out though has nothing to do with the varying amounts that they were given, but rather with what the three different servants did with what they were given.

Any time that a gift is given the person who receives that gift must choose to respond in one of two different ways. One, is the gift is too valuable to ever be used and the second is that the gift is too great not to be used. When I was collecting baseball cards I knew that unopened packs and boxes of cards were worth more than opened ones, but I hated leaving them unopened because I would never know what was inside.

I believe that there are several reasons why people refuse to unwrap and not use the gift that they have been given by God.

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