Using what God entrusts to us | 2013-09-01 | Sermon

Using what God entrusts to us

Matthew 25:14-30

Pineapple lumps

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Musical Talent

I often say that when God was handing out musical talent that I turned up late,
and I got pineapple lumps.

The thing is sometimes we don’t get what we expected,
or maybe we don’t get what we think we might need.

For me, the pineapple lumps ad is a reminder to treasure what we do have.

Respecting what God gave us

So if God has given us something then we need to respect it.

This goes for so many areas of our life.

We need to treasure God’s gift, be that where we are at at the moment,
or what it is God is or isn’t saying to us,
or who our family is or isn’t,
or what friends we currently have or don’t have,
or where we work or don’t work.

There is discipline required to discover where God is at work in our life.

Season of Creation is recognising the Gift

Today as we head into our Season of Creation,
we enter in looking for God at work in Creation, in our life, and in our worship.

We enter in with thankfulness for what it is God is doing;
and with a commitment to discover the next steps of God’s call on our lives.

Healing and the Prophetic

On Friday night we had another healing and prophetic night,
it was once again an opportunity to allow God to speak to us through words of knowledge.

Sometimes these are a little like our pineapple lumps,
we receive something we weren’t quite expecting;
but all the same we need to treasure and explore what it is God might be saying to us.

Jasmine’s challenge to me this time is that I am someone who puts a plank out in front of you,
and says well here is the plank,
now it’s time to walk on it.

And that at that moment we have some choices.

We can choose to stay on the shore or in the boat,
or we can walk out expecting the plank to extend,
or expecting God to help us walk on the water like Peter.

At times faith is a bit like that for us,
it can be a bit like walking on water,
and it can be more tempting to stay dry.

Do you remember the story of Peter stepping out of the boat?
He was willing to risk all in front of his peers and his friends,
he was willing to fall in the water,
and that is what you and I are all called to,
we are not called to stay in the boat.

Coins / Talents

In our Gospel today Jesus phrases it another way,
he instead gives out what is required to each person,
a talent or coin, either 1, 2 or 5,
whatever the person is given it is enough for that first step,
their job is to then work with it and take the first step.

Or to use Jasmine’s Word of Knowledge,
God use people to help us see the first bit of plank in front of us,
and we simply need to take the first step,
expecting either more plank,
or some other miraculous provision of God.

Those who work with it,
those who work with what God gives,
and those who use it for the purpose God gave it to them,
to them, Jesus says: “Well done Good and Faithful Servant.”

To those of us who don’t explore and use what God gives us Jesus says:

As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Context

Now we need to remember that this Gospel reading is not a teaching,
it is not an actual conversation,
rather it is a parable, or a story,
which Jesus told to convey a truth.

Are you part of the team?

And that truth is you are either part of God’s team,
or you are not part of God’s team.

And you and I make that decision, not God.
We choose to opt-in or opt-out.

The thing is God gives to each of us what we need to start to follow God’s call.

God doesn’t give us more than we need to start the journey,
but we are given enough to start.

And our choice is will we start?

The next step, and more resources…

As we start,
Jesus comes back and says well-done,
here is some more for you to carry on with,
good on you,
you can get back to it.

Not using God’s gifts

And when we don’t use God’s gifts,
Jesus says in this parable:

As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Truth be told,
we throw ourselves there at times,
not God.

When we choose not to see God at work,
when we listen to the devil and hear God is a tyrant,
then we think we discover the tyrant God.

Reality is this God who we at times cracture as a tyrant,
is the very one who gifted us with what we needed.

But, If you don’t treat with respect what God loans to you,
if you don’t treat with respect what God has entrusted to you,
then Jesus says along the lines of: “You can guarantee you wont get any more.”

Repentance and forgiveness when we get it wrong

Now we need to soften this parable just a little,
and say that there is the opportunity for repentance and forgiveness.

There is the opportunity within our life to repent and say:
“God I got that wrong, I did not use your gifts responsibly,
will you forgive me.”

But in this parable,
the person is arrogant and sees no wrong in his treatment of what God has given him,
instead he blames God saying:

Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.

Blaming God for our own in-action

There is nothing like blaming God for our own in-action!

Within us, there can be this tendency to say to God if only you’d reveal yourself,
I’d do this…

This baiting of God is almost always our way of saying:
– I want to stay in the boat and not step out
or
I will bury my coin in case I lose it.

The devil or the serpent gently whispers in our ear,
God is mean,
he reaps where he doesn’t sow,
gathering where he doesn’t scatter,
make sure you don’t lose the coin,
bury it safely and bide your time.

Always enough with God

The thing is that the devil gently whispers half-truths and lies,
to distract us from what it is we are called to.

And the devil needs to do that,
because the truth is that once we use that first coin,
God then gives us another,
and another,
and another,
and another.

With God there is always enough,
there is always enough for our vision.

If our vision is small God gives us one coin,
or if it is slightly bigger we get two coins,
or if slightly bigger we get five.

Whatever our vision is God is able to equip us.

Our task is to see God in our vision and to align our vision with God’s,
and to seek God’s resourcing.

Take the first step

We remember too that with God we only need to take that first step,
we don’t need the 10 step plan.

Fear is confined as we step out

And that is either an encouragement, that we only need to take the first step,
or it strikes fear into us, of just where will this lead?

The challenge is to allow the Holy Spirit to minister to you
and remind you that you only need that first step.

Fear is a natural part of us and we need to recognise it and confine it, and say:
“I hear the fear,
but I choose to step out and use what it is God has given me,
in what it is God is calling me to.”

Fear is confined as we step out.

Good and faithful servant

Glennis & Call

This Tuesday we will be opening a memorial garden at First Presbyterian Preschool for Glennis Stewart.

Many of you will remember and know Glennis.

One of Glennis’ favourite scripture is the passage we have just heard from Matthew 25 about the talents.

Glennis always saw herself as God’s Faithful Servant, working away at God’s Vision,
and working with what it was that God gave her.

She saw the pre-school was God’s call on her life;
and in faith she stepped out and carried out that call with integrity.

And the pre-school is this amazing story of God’s provision;
it is part of the light of Christ here in Papakura.

The thing with Glennis is she stepped out of the boat,
she invested wisely the talents that God gave her in God’s vision.

Creation and Call to care for the Gift

Today too we remember that we are in the Season of Creation.

And this week as we remember the ocean,
we remember everything that God created the ocean for.

The gift of the ocean has been entrusted into our safe-keeping,
our role, our duty, our responsibility, our calling,
is to care for the ocean and allow it to carry out its calling.

Remembering that Gift

Caring for God’s Creation comes as we remember that God has gifted us with so much.

We need to make sure that Jesus can return and say:
“Well done Good and Faithful Servant,
you have used and cared for what I gave you.
Have what you need for the next step.”

The challenge today,
is to responsibly use what God has entrusted to us.

And to step out in faith knowing that God’s provision will cover us. < – END – >

Let us pray:
Amen.

Scripture

Matthew 25:14-30 [CEV]

The kingdom is also like what happened when a man went away and put his three servants in charge of all he owned. The man knew what each servant could do. So he handed five thousand coins to the first servant, two thousand to the second, and one thousand to the third. Then he left the country.

As soon as the man had gone, the servant with the five thousand coins used them to earn five thousand more. The servant who had two thousand coins did the same with his money and earned two thousand more. But the servant with one thousand coins dug a hole and hid his master’s money in the ground.

Some time later the master of those servants returned. He called them in and asked what they had done with his money. The servant who had been given five thousand coins brought them in with the five thousand that he had earned. He said, “Sir, you gave me five thousand coins, and I have earned five thousand more.”

“Wonderful!” his master replied. “You are a good and faithful servant. I left you in charge of only a little, but now I will put you in charge of much more. Come and share in my happiness!”

Next, the servant who had been given two thousand coins came in and said, “Sir, you gave me two thousand coins, and I have earned two thousand more.”

“Wonderful!” his master replied. “You are a good and faithful servant. I left you in charge of only a little, but now I will put you in charge of much more. Come and share in my happiness!”

The servant who had been given one thousand coins then came in and said, “Sir, I know that you are hard to get along with. You harvest what you don’t plant and gather crops where you haven’t scattered seed. I was frightened and went out and hid your money in the ground. Here is every single coin!”

The master of the servant told him, “You are lazy and good-for-nothing! You know that I harvest what I don’t plant and gather crops where I haven’t scattered seed. You could have at least put my money in the bank, so that I could have earned interest on it.”

Then the master said, “Now your money will be taken away and given to the servant with ten thousand coins! Everyone who has something will be given more, and they will have more than enough. But everything will be taken from those who don’t have anything. You are a worthless servant, and you will be thrown out into the dark where people will cry and grit their teeth in pain.”

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