Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Parable of the Talents

Our gifts, talents and abilities give us a special purpose. When we use those talents to seek glory and fame for ourselves, they can destroy us like Herod, who was eaten by worms for accepting worship (Acts 12:29). Fortunately, we have grace and forgiveness. But when we use our gifts for their intended purpose, to bring glory, honor and praise to God, to build His Kingdom and encourage His people, we will discover an overwhelming joy.

I am writing this so that each believer can become a better receiver of God’s gifts and become more open to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives by using our gifts, talents and abilities for their intended purposes.

*Read Matthew 25:14-30 (I have included the full text at the bottom of this post in case you are unfamiliar with the parable of the talents or do not have a Bible handy)

1. The talents represent natural and Spiritual gifts
This parable demonstrates the importance of exercising good stewardship over the gifts God gives to us. The talents not only represent money, but ALL gifts that God gives us including teaching, music, craftsmanship, helps, hospitality and others.

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:10

2. True servants produce fruit
So then, you will know them by their fruits. Matthew 7:20

Cheneniah was the first formal choir director/music teacher recorded in history. He used his abilities to honor God and to help others:

Chenaniah, chief of the Levites, was in charge of the singing; he gave instruction in singing because he was skillful. (1 Chronicles 15:22)

We should also be fruitful with the way we use our gifts. For example, one of the ways that we spread the gospel and build up other believers is through music. In fact, the Hebrew word for Gospel, basar, actually describes an event, like a parade, welcoming a good King and the blessings of His Kingdom into our lives and sharing the good news with others through music. We use our gifts to produce fruit by increasing God’s Kingdom when we worship, proclaim the good news and encourage each other.

Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. (Psalm 95:2)

Be filled with the Spirit,,speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father;… (Ephesians 5:19-20)

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. (Colossians 3:16)

3. Be good receivers of God’s gifts
For to the one who *has (received) more shall be given and he shall have an abundance.  Matthew 25:29

The word *has, in Greek is echo. It refers to someone who has laid hold of God’s gift, someone who is a good receiver. This is someone who has embraced God’s gifts and is using them. This is a servant who is a willing vessel to let God pour into them so they can overflow with blessings into the world. He will trust them with more gifts.

Pursue love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts… 1 Corinthians 14:1

The first time I ever went forward for prayer and had someone lay hands on me and pray for me, I told God that I wanted all He had for me, anything He wanted to give me…The man said “Sing.” My voice was healed and strengthened from some damage that had been done. At that time, I had been working every Sunday night for 4 years. A friend felt led by the Lord to get me a new job where I would never work Sundays. Within a few weeks I was asked to start leading worship at church. I was willing to receive God’s gift and He was able to use me.

We have already looked at ways to use our musical talents. Here are some verses about craftsmanship that show that ALL of our special skills and abilities come from God and have a special purpose:

I have filled him with the Spirit of God with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge, and in all kinds of craftsmanship/skills (Exodus 31:3) He has filled him with God's Spirit, with wisdom, understanding, and ability in every kind of craft to make artistic designs…. (Exodus 35:31-32)

He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as engravers, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers--all of them skilled workers and designers. (Exodus 35:35)

Every craftsman in whom the Lord has put skill and intelligence to know how to do ANY work in the construction of the sanctuary shall work in accordance with all that the Lord has commanded. (Exodus 36:1)

This last verse shows how these skills were meant to build God’s temple. The New Testament application is that these skills are meant to build up God’s church. Exodus 35 and 36 are a beautiful read about craftsmanship. They demonstrate the principle of building God’s Kingdom with freewill offerings, of making contributions from a generous heart and of working because your heart within you is stirred up to do it. We are free to work with passion and joy and to take great pleasure in doing the work.

Colossians 3:23 tells us: Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men. This means that our ultimate goal is to please God and remember that it is Him we are pleasing. We do not have to measure up to the standards of men, because God knows our hearts and if we are giving our best offering, it is always sweet smelling and acceptable to Him.

Ask God if there are any gifts He has given you that He wants you to use in a special way to bring glory and honor to Him and to increase and build up His Kingdom. Write down areas in which you are naturally or spiritually gifted that could be used for God’s purposes, to serve Him, to serve others and to help bring people to Jesus. Is there further study or practice that you could engage in to be a good steward of those gifts? Ask God if there are other gifts that He wants to give you.

*TEXT: Matthew 25:14-30: The Parable of the Talents

For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has [willingly received] will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not [willingly received], even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ (The worthless servant represents those who have never truly accepted God’s gift of salvation and allowed it to work in their lives. Burying the talent, shows that He did not want it. He represents someone who bears no fruit because they never received and used any of God’s gifts--salvation being the first gift)

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