WFW: Using Our Gifts
The other day, I was listening to an audio Bible when something in the following passage jumped out at me, so I'd like to share it for today's WFW.
"Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming. For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord's money. After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them. So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, 'Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.' His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.' He also who had received two talents came and said, 'Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.' His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.' Then he who had received the one talent came and said, 'Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.' But his lord answered and said to him, 'You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'"
I was only half-listening to the passage when the thought occurred: the man who hid the talents had the excuse, "but I was afraid." So it is with many Christians today: If we think about it, do we really use the talents that God has given us to glorify Him? Or do we waste them, because we are afraid? God promises in this Scripture that when we use what He has given us for His glory, He will entrust us with more, because He knows that He can trust us. However, if we do nothing with our talents, we are called "wicked." 2 Timothy 1:7, a passage that we are all familiar with, doesn't just say that God gave us power love and a sound mind; it also says, to stir up the gift of God without letting fear get in the way...
2 Timothy 1:6-8 "Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God..."
Jesus told us to use our talents for His glory without fear. Fear is the opposite of the Spirit which He has given us, so if we are afraid to use our talents, we are not walking in the Spirit. To often, people, and in particular, Christians, are afraid to use their talents; they are afraid of failure so they don't even try to do anything for God -- "If I try that, it might not work. What if I fail. What if, what if, what if?" With that kind of attitude, how do we expect God to use us? He can't use people who are sitting there too afraid to take even one step because of an imaginary "If." Paul told Timothy to share in the sufferings of Christ; if someone makes fun of you or persecuteds you for stepping out, so what? The Bible says that we will be persecuted. But it also says that we are BLESSED when we are persecuted, because "your reward in Heaven is great" (Matthew 5:11-12). Jesus was persecuted with a persecution greater than any of us will ever face; we are not in this race alone.
The context of Jesus' parable was to be watchful for His coming. If we let fear stop us from using our talents to spread the Gospel, we can expect to hear, "Well? What did you do for Me? You wicked, lazy servant? Depart from Me." Wouldn't we rather hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant!"?
1 Corinthians 4:2 "Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful."