Summary: serving, gifts, obedience, and surrender
USING THE GIFTS GOD GAVE YOU
Matt 25: 14-30 (702) May 23, 2010
Being a disciple of Jesus involves taking a risk…"to deny yourself and take up your cross and start following Jesus is risky business. Discipleship involves surrender… giving up my time, my talent, my treasure for the Kingdom of God.
And none of us surrender our stuff too easily. Every single one of us stands before Jesus like the rich young ruler as people who "own much"
And when we're asked to "go sell everything we have and follow him" we want to argue with Jesus… I'll give you some time Lord, I'll surrender some of my stuff, I'll use some of my talents for you but you can't expect me to sell out completely… And he says "O yes I can" "Because I surrender everything for you".
But Lord that’s not what I had in mind when I became a Christian. I thought I'd go to church regularly, be nice to people and help out every once in a while. I had that kind of discipleship in mind. Most of us are like Wilbur Rees who wrote
I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please.
Not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep,
but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk or a snooze in the sunshine.
I don't want enough of God to make me love a black man or pick beets
with a migrant.
I want ecstasy, not transformation.
I want warmth of the womb, not a new birth.
I want a pound of the Eternal in a paper sack.
I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please.
Three dollars worth of God doesn’t involve much risk. It lets me believe I've purchased enough of Him to keep me out of hell, but allows me to keep most of my life for my own usage.
So what do we do with these words from Jesus?
"For whoever wants to serve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it." (Matt 16:25)
It kind of blows that 3 dollars worth of God philosophy about discipleship out of the water, doesn't it.
I'm going to say it again… Real discipleship is risky, and the parable of the talents isn't as much about what someone does with their talents but rather what someone is willing to risk for the master's sake.
God has given every single one of us a life and the resources that make up that life… we all have the same 24 hrs per day…God has entrusted us with abilities and talents, God has given all of us a quantity of the "stuff of life".
And this parable is about our willingness to risk that stuff of life for his sake.
There are 7 words that hang as a banner over every dead church
"We Never Did it That Way Before"
If we appoint the same people, continue the usual programs, rely on the comfortable structure of the past… its safe, its known…we minimize the risk…but we also fail to grow new leaders, mentors and outreaches that grow the Kingdom and make disciples who are empowered to use their talents for the master's glory.
The Lord Jesus Christ calls us to take risks for the sake of his kingdom.
I THE RISK OF PARTICIPATING INSTEAD OF OBSERVING
Please understand you don't really join the church. You may choose a local body of believers to align yourself with, to fellowship with… but God adds you to his church when you are saved.
And God adds you to his church for growth…you are to grow spiritually through his word and the fellowship that comes of sharing life with other disciples but you are also called "To go and make disciples".
God has called you to be a participant in His Kingdom's work, God's church was never designed for observers.
Our story this morning features a Lord or Master who has gone away on a journey, but before he left he gave his servants resources to manage. One received 5 talents, one 2 talents, and another 1 talent. The Greek word "talenta" represented the largest denomination commonly minted ---it was a lot.
And to be honest the 5 talent servant and 2 talent servant are window dressing… they set off the central character…the 1 talent servant.
Although he has less to lose than the others, he did nothing. He had 1 talent of the stuff of life and did nothing with it. He was the typical observer. He was a benchwarmer.
he would not risk…even the 3$ for God.
[ I was watching this show called American loggers the other day… and they were testing a rookie out by having him climb a tree and top it. He got about half way up and froze. He chose an option that wasn't really an option. He feared the abuse he would receive from the loggers beneath him,..and he feared the heights above him… So he froze between the options and took neither.