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Summary: Whether you are a sun, moon, star, or a 5 talent, 2 talent, or 1 talent person, a lamp or a candle on a stand, you are important. You have a job to do that only you can do. And God expects you to let your light shine. (Powerpoints Available - #186)

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MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER

RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK

(Powerpoints used with this message are available for free. Just email me at mnewland@sstelco.com and request #186.)

A. I would like to weave together 3 passages of Scripture. The first one is Genesis 1:14-16.

"And God said, 'Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, & let them serve as signs to mark seasons & days & years, & let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.' And it was so.

"God made two great lights the greater light to govern the day & the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars."

God has been looking at a universe that is incomplete. There are no seasons, no day, no night, no meaningful measure of time. So God says, "I will make lights in the expanse of the heavens." And God brings order out of darkness by creating the sun & the moon. Now there is day & night, summer, winter, spring & fall.

But imagine what it would be like if somehow God had made the sun & moon with the same freedom to choose that He gave us. What if the sun could say, "I don't think I will shine. It is my choice either to shine or not to shine. Therefore I choose not to shine."

There would have been chaos. With no energy giving rays coming from the sun the earth would turn barren & cold, & life, as we know it, would never have existed.

Now, the moon isn't nearly as impressive as the sun. But what if the moon decided not to shine? We would have no full moon or blue moon or harvest moon to write songs about.

Actually, we need the moon. Its gravitational pull on our environment, on our oceans & on our plant life, is absolutely essential for the maintenance of life.

Did you notice the last 5 words of this Scripture? "He also made the stars." We don't even know all the ways the stars affect us.

One benefit, of course, is to remind us of our own smallness. To stand out on a starlit night & look at the great expanse of stars reminds us that there are worlds & planets beyond our ability to detect or even to understand. God's universe is far greater than our tiny little planet.

So the author of Genesis wrote, "God made three lights. A greater light, a lesser light, & He made the stars also." Which one is more important than the others? How do we judge? They are each very important in their own ways.

B. Then, in the 5th chapter of Matthew, beginning with vs. 14, in the midst of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus talks about light. Listen to His words.

"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp & put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, & it gives light to everyone in the house.

"In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds & praise your Father in heaven" (Matthew 5:14-16).

Jesus is speaking to average people, & He says, "You are the light of the world. So don't hide your light! Let your light shine so that others will benefit from it, & glorify your Father in heaven."

C. Then, in the 25th chapter of Matthew, Jesus tells the very familiar parable of the talents. You know the story.

In the parable the master is about to leave on a journey & he calls in three of his servants. He entrusts 5 talents ($5,000) to one of them, 2 talents ($2,000) to the second, & 1 talent ($1,000) to the third. And Jesus tells us that he gave to each "according to his ability." Then he goes away on his journey.

Then, when he returns he asks for an accounting. The one who received 5 talents had invested them & gained 5 more. The master tells him, "Well done, good & faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things. I will put you in charge of many things. Come & share your master's happiness!" (Matthew 25:21)

The same thing happened with the man who received 2 talents. He invested them & gained 2 more. And he receives exactly the same words of praise from the master.

I want you to notice that the master didn't give more honor to the man who had gained 5 talents than he did to the man who had gained 2. They were both greatly praised.

The man who had been given only 1 talent, however, had buried it in the ground. And we find his account beginning in verse 24.

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