Discover His heart: He gives us all that we need to invest in His Kingdom
When I was a young girl, my mom often said something similar to “use your talents for the Lord, or you’ll lose them.” I didn’t really know at the time if it was a mommy-ism or hardcore truth, but then later I came to understand it was based on the story in Matthew 25 and this similar story in Luke 19 about the king and the money or talents. When my saxophone was stolen some years later, her words were ringing in my ears.
I played my saxophone in college and in church for many years, but now it sat in the corner of the basement, pads drying out, picking up a musty smell. I was in the ministry and just too busy with other things. Well, someone broke into our home and took only four items – a pillowcase, a small empty piggy bank, a package of frozen hot dogs and yes, my saxophone. I used to laugh and say that I still had the talent but just lost the saxophone. However, now so many years later, I’m reasonably sure it’s a lost skill as well.
Jesus used the story of the talents to clear up some misinformation. The oppressed Jews were looking for Jesus to overthrow the Roman government and establish Himself as their King, but He was interested in a different Kingdom. Eventually, the Jews rejected Jesus as their Messiah, they crucified Him, He arose and ascended to Heaven, and the church age began. The story of the talents gives a clear picture of how the Lord views our responsibilities as citizens in His Kingdom.
Each servant was given a pound of silver to invest and grow the kingdom, and those who did so were praised and rewarded when the king returned. The servant who hid the money to protect it out of fear of losing it was reprimanded, and the money was taken away – he lost it anyway. I’ve heard plenty of excuses through the years about why Christians can’t use for the Lord what He has put in their hands to use, and I’ve offered many of them myself. Most will say they just don’t have any talents or giftings to use for the Lord, and I’ve found it hard to argue with a few of them, but if we’re still breathing, then the very least we have is time. Time, skills, money, intelligence, physical strength – God has given everyone something to use to bless His Kingdom.
A had a friend who owned a beautiful set of china. It sat deep within her china hutch and never used because she was afraid it would break or be harmed in some way. So sad. In truth, I was tempted to take a dish out and damage it in some way and say, “OK, now the set is ruined, go ahead and use them.” Of course, I never did it. The china rarely adorned her table and never served its intended purpose.
Sometimes we hide the talents He’s given us because we fear failure or misuse, but I think we should understand that He rather use a chipped or scratched plate than none at all. Often we are too focused on our own busy lives, or perhaps we’re just too lazy to use what God has put in our hands.
The servants knew that the king would return to see how well they had invested his money and lived for that moment when they would hear “well done, faithful servant.” We can look forward to the day when Jesus returns to establish His Kingdom, but in the meantime, He expects us to live like He’s returning. “For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body.” (2 Corinthians 5:10)
A faithful servant longs to please the One he serves, longs to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:21) I’ve always said that when we stand before Him someday, it won’t matter how many things we have accumulated, how clean our house was or the prestigious positions we held. No, all that will matter is what we did with Jesus and what we did for Him. Once again the reminder: The only thing we take with us into eternity is other people.
Moving Forward: I want to be the faithful servant today, not hindered and not afraid to invest any talent he has given me for His Kingdom, using those dishes!
Tomorrow @ Colossians 3-4