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Summary: 2nd part of 2 part series on “Using What God Has Given You.”

I begin this morning where I left off last Sunday, with this quote from Richard Stearns:

(Slide 1) “Someone once said, “God does not call the equipped; He equips the called.” Saying that we are not clever enough, good enough, or talented enough to serve God is just making excuses. All of us have something God can use, even if it’s only a stick. (Think Moses). The question is whether or not we will offer whatever stick we have to His service.” Richard Stearns (parenthesis, mine)

Now I want to make clear that the context for Stearns’ remarks is poverty and how Christians can make a difference in important, but small, ways. But, I believe that his remarks can apply to everyday life and (Slide 2) the life of witness and service that we are all called to as Christians.

This is where our main text for this morning applies. I will read it in a moment but first we are going to hear from our three winners of the envelopes that were handed out last week. Please come to the pulpit.

As a reminder, here are what the envelopes contained.

(Slide 3) In one of them was a blank check for $5.00 with an assignment to take someone to lunch. Lucy was the winner here and so Lucy tell us what you did. (Lucy shares)

In another one, was an assignment to use 60 minutes of your time this week to do something nice for a neighbor or co-worker. Brookes was the winner here and so Brookes tell us what you did. (Brookes shares.)

In the third one, was an assignment to select either an article of clothing or something that you own, to give either to someone you know could use it or to one of our community agencies. John was the winner here and so John tells what you did. (John shares.)

Now I have a few questions for you:

Was your assignment hard or easy and why?

Did doing your assignment give you a new view on serving?

What emotions did you have as you did your assignment?

Now, as you heard their stories I want to ask for your thoughts on these questions:

(Slide 4)

What is harder for people to give these days: time, money, or possessions? Why?

What is the biggest internal barrier for people investing what they have already have for God?

What is the biggest external barrier for people investing what they have already have for God?

What is the one thing that people fear most that God will ask them to do?

With these questions in mind, let us read our main text for this morning, Matthew 25:14-30:

“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a trip. He called together his servants and gave them money to invest for him while he was gone. He gave five bags of gold to one, two bags of gold to another, and one bag of gold to the last—dividing it in proportion to their abilities—and then left on his trip. The servant who received the five bags of gold began immediately to invest the money and soon doubled it. The servant with two bags of gold also went right to work and doubled the money. But, the servant who received the one bag of gold dug a hole in the ground and hid the master’s money for safekeeping.

“After a long time their master returned from his trip and called them to give an account of how they had used his money. The servant to whom he had entrusted the five bags of gold said, ‘sir, you gave me five bags of gold to invest, and I have doubled the amount.’ The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’

“Next came the servant who had received the two bags of gold, with the report, ‘sir, you gave me two bags of gold to invest, and I have doubled the amount.’ The master said, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’

“Then the servant with the one bag of gold came and said, ‘sir, I know you are a hard man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth and here it is.’

“But the master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy servant! You think I’m a hard man, do you, harvesting crops I didn’t plant and gathering crops I didn’t cultivate? Well, you should at least have put my money into the bank so I could have some interest. Take the money from this servant and give it to the one with the ten bags of gold. To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who are unfaithful, even what little they have will be taken away. Now throw this useless servant into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ (NLT)

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