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Summary: God expects us to use the resources He has entrusted to us. From the parable of the talents.

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Joke - A wealthy man was on his deathbed. He called his 3 most trusted friends to his side: his attorney, his doctor, and his preacher. He said to them, “I know I’m not long for this world, and all I have to show for it is money. They always say you can’t take it with you. Well, I’m going to prove them wrong. I’m giving each of you 500,000 cash in these envelopes. At my funeral, I want each of you to place it in my coffin right before they close it.” They all committed to him, and sure enough, a few days later, he had died. At his funeral, each of the 3 friends were the last to come forward and view the old tycoon’s body. The doctor stepped forward, placed the envelope in the coffin, and left; then the preacher, then the doctor. After the services were over, the 3 were off by themselves, and the preacher said he had to say something: “Guys, I have to confess something to you. That money wasn’t going to do any good buried – we all knew that, and the Church really needed some money for an important missions project. I put only $400,000 in the envelope.” The doctor spoke up, “Well, as long as you’re admitting it, I may as well to. The hospital is building a new research wing that could save thousands of lives. Our friend is dead. I put only $300,000 in the envelope.” They both looked expectantly at the lawyer. “Well, I’m really shocked at both of you! We made a promise to our friend! He trusted us, and you guys let him down! I put a check for all $500,000 in that envelope!”

Someone has just given you $3.5 million to see how well you will invest it. What will you do? Maybe in light of Hilary Clinton’s success a couple of years ago, you should invest it in the commodities market! Maybe you'll grab the first plane to Geneva! Maybe you'll get an ulcer and just give it back.

I don’t spend much time thinking about things like that, because that kind of stuff just doesn’t happen in the real world, does it? You’re probable not waiting up Saturday morning by your living room window expecting the Publisher’s Clearing House Prize Patrol to pull up in your driveway. That makes a good TV commercial, or a good bedtime story, but it just doesn’t connect with real life.

But what if, this morning, you were to learn that it has happened to you, and that you didn’t even know it yet? What if someone could show you that the Prize Patrol has already dropped off your check – you’d at least want to know what the amount was!

Jesus told a story where it did happen – to 3 men. All 3 of them were just given money, to see what they’d do with it -- and I want to suggest that as we read through it, something like this has happened to you and me.

*Matthew 25:14-30

-This is really a story about our STEWARDSHIP: What we do with what God has entrusted to us.

-Remember how Joseph was sold by his brothers? (Gen 39) Sold to Potiphar, who saw a Joseph that could handle the responsibilities he was given and so eventually he was given charge over everything in Potiphar's house. Then Joseph was put in jail. He was put in charge of a few things, and eventually, he was put in charge of all that was done there too.

-It happened clear back in the life of Joseph, and I see that principle at work in God's dealings with us. "Well done good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things."

-the story’s about what God has entrusted to us – Matthew records it here right in the middle of parables about the need to be responsible until His return.

-"talent": 20 year's wages. But I think you’ll see in this story that it represents to us more than just money - has to do with anything that the Lord has given us to use for Him, and today I want to especially consider our abilities in light of this parable. We might think of time or money when we think of being stewards, but few think of their abilities as a trust from God. Let me add to that also the gifts that we receive because of His HS living inside us. If you’re a Christian this morning, you have at least some gift of the Spirit that the Lord has given to His Church through you. It’s not just a natural ability – it’s a supernatural trust that you didn’t have before you were a Christian, and it accomplishes a spiritual work.

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