Summary: The best investment we can make with our life is to use what God has given us to bring honor and glory to the Father.
USING YOUR SPIRITUAL GIFTS
Dr. Bill Bright of Campus Crusade for Christ tells this story of a famous oil field called Yates Pool:
During the depression this field was a sheep ranch owned by a man named Yates. Mr. Yates wasn’t able to make enough on his ranching operation to pay the principal and interest on the mortgage, so he was in danger of losing his ranch.
With little money for clothes or food, his family (like many others) had to live on government subsidy.
Day after day, as he grazed his sheep over those rolling West Texas hills, he was no doubt greatly troubled about how he would pay his bills. Then a seismographic crew from an oil company came into the area and told him there might be oil on his land. They asked permission to drill a wildcat well, and he signed a lease contract.
At 1,115 feet they struck a huge oil reserve. The first well came in at 80,000 barrels a day. Many subsequent wells were more than twice as large. In fact, 30 years after the discovery, a government test of one of the wells showed it still had the potential flow of 125,000 barrels of oil a day.
And Mr. Yates owned it all. The day he purchased the land he had received the oil and mineral rights. Yet, he’d been living on relief. A multimillionaire living in poverty.
The problem? He didn’t know the oil was there even though he owned it.
Many Christians live in spiritual poverty.
They are entitled to the gifts of the Holy Spirit and his energizing power, but they are not aware of their birthright.
SOURCE: Untapped Spiritual Resources, by Greg Asimakoupoulos, Naperville, Illinois. Citation: Bill Bright, "How to Be Filled with the Spirit" (Campus Crusade publication)]
The parable we look at this morning is about wasted potential and neglected responsibility. In this parable the master leaves his servants with money to invest. When he returns some of the servants are proved to be faithful, others are proved to be lazy.
Let me point you to several lessons from this text,
I. GOD HAS GIVEN US GIFTS
But each man has his own gift from God;...1 Cor. 7:7
ABILITY: Old French-habilite "The quality of being able to do something, especially the physical, mental, financial, or legal power to accomplish something."
"Ability denotes qualities that enable a person to achieve or accomplish something." - American Heritage Dictionary
In that story, each servant was given differing amounts, “in accordance with their ability”.
A. Everyone has given us gift to use for His glory.
"Master, here’s your 5,000 coins!"
There are many gifts that God has given us. Our job is real simple.
A. We are to find what gifts and abilities we have been given
B. We must find a way to use them to bring Him glory and honor.
B. Every one has given PROPER gifts.
1 Cor. 7:7 "Every man hath his PROPER gift from God." KJV
"Proper" means "fitted." When you buy shoes, the salesman tells you, "We’ve got a shoe to perfectly fit your size that will perfectly suit your style of life."
There are so many Christians today who think God skipped over them when He was giving out gifts. They seem to think that the only gifts God gives are gifts of music, public speaking, or teaching. Those are just a small measure of what God gives to people. God gives many gifts: It may be our finances, a particular talent, insightful ideas, an ability to organize, a great vision (you see possibilities others never thought of), a caring heart (you are tuned in to those around you), the ability to give wise counsel to those who need guidance, the ability to mediate between warring parties, or the ability to build or fix things.
II. GOD HAS GIVEN US A RESPONSIBILITY
In this parable God has given us talents in order for us to become responsible children.
And more talents comes more responsibilities.
Of course we can do this in many ways,
· By our personal explanation of the gospel to our friends and relatives
· By giving Christian literature (tracts, books, sermons etc.) to others
· By investing in evangelistic efforts (radio, television, prison ministry)
· We can do it through newspaper ads, letters of the editor and articles
· We can do it through the Internet (web pages, discussion groups, e-mail)
· We can do this through our acts of kindness and mercy
God has entrusted us with the treasure of the gospel. We can bury that treasure or we can invest it at every opportunity.
Illustration. A man distributed tracts for many years on a street corner. Finally, seeing no visible results, he gave up. When he returned to the same spot two years later, he saw another individual handing out Gospel leaflets as he had done. Striking up a conversation, he discovered that the man had become a Christian through a salvation tract given him on that corner about two years before. The convert added, “Many times I’ve come back here to find that earnest worker and thank him, but he never returned. I decided he must have died, and so I’ve taken his place!” The first man suddenly realized that his work had not been in vain. Much encouraged he went back to giving out tracts the very next day.