Monday, June 06, 2005

Using What You Have

One day we will all stand before God and give an account for what we did with what He gave us. Romans 14:12 and 2 Corinthians 5:10 make it clear. In Matthew 25:14-30, Jesus tells a parable that illustrates what He expects us to do with what He gives us. This parable is referred to as the Parable of the Talents. Talents in biblical times were actually money. Today the word is used to describe our abilities. Both meanings are revelant, because both represent wealth.

The first thing to notice is that what we had during our life was really loaned to us for a short time while we were on earth. In verse 14 he is telling us that God entrusts certain "property" to us to use for Him. We are stewards for what He has given us. We often think we own what we have, but we really only have it on loan. He has given us gifts (Ephesians 4:8).

In verse 15, we see that He is giving us these "talents" according to what we can handle. We all have different gifts according to the grace He has given us (Romans 12:6). If He didn't do it this way He would cause us trouble. This also means that if we are envious of what others have, we are not appreciative of what He has given us, and we are ignorant of the trouble we would have if we were given those things.

In verses 16-19 and the Master's response to the 3rd man in the parable in verse 26,27, it is evident what He expects from us. If we did not have enough trust in God to do something besides keep His gifts safe, we are lazy and wicked. God expects us to try even if we are going to fail. If we are doing His will, He will bless our efforts. So we need to deal with our fears and move forward. In verse 25 we see that the 3rd man was afraid to lose the talent he was given, and buried it. Don't bury what God has given you, and don't squander it. Use it for what the real owner would want done with it. Remember, you are just the steward.

In verse 28, the Master gave the one talent from the 3rd man and gave it to the one who had the most, because he had made the most with what God gave him. We are expected to do God's will with what we have. If we do well, we will get more. This is evident by the statement in verse 23 of the parable.

So God does expect us to be productive with what we have. If we pass the money test, He will give us more. As long as we are good stewards of it. If we use it to oppress others, or otherwise misuse it, it will eventually be taken away. If we do foolish things like spend it on selfish things, and borrow more money to get bigger and better things, we will lose it quickly. God's will for our use of money is found in 1 Timothy 6:17-19. We are to be willing to help others with it. In Matthew 6:21, we see the principle where looking at how you use your money, reveals what you love. If you are storing it up, and have much wealth, that you'll never use, you are materialistic and put your trust in money. If you use your excess wealth to help others, you are probably being a better steward for God's wealth. The same goes with your talents, they are wealth as well. A good book on stewardship, for further study is God & Your Stuff

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