Read Matthew 25:14-30
You have heard this parable many times from me. I hope you have studied it on your own as well. Many times I have used this parable in conjunction with stewardship, asking the question, What did you do with what God gave you?
It’s a good question. We should examine ourselves with this question on a recurring basis.
Often when I preached or taught this parable, I would divide our stewardship up into three areas: time, talent, and treasure. It is a good dissection of some basic areas.
After a time, I included time, talent, treasure, and added the gospel. Now there’s a trust that we have been given. What did we do with what God gave us, in this case, the gospel?
Have we buried it in the ground? Have we invested it in others? What did we do with this precious gift from God that we call the good news?
That’s about as far as we can dissect this parable, right? What about, what did we do with the gifts that God gave us? What about our Spiritual gifts? Did we put them to work at once? Did we bury them in the ground?
Time and treasure are easy to quantify. We understand count and measure. We get that.
Talents are a little different but we find them when we look for them and then, we either put them to work for our Master or we don’t.
Spiritual Gifts are similar to our talents, but the return on investment is multiplied. We produce a return not only for our Master but for the Body of Christ.
I am challenging you that to not put your Spiritual Gift or Gifts to work is the same as burying them in the ground. Think to the words of the master in the parable as he addresses this third servant—the one who buried his talent in the ground.
His master replied, You wicked, lazy servant!
The servant had his reasons. He was afraid. The master was a hard man. The master expected returns even where he had not invested.
And the master’s reply was you should have at least done the minimum. You could have gone to the bank, opened up a savings account or even a CD, and I would have received some interest upon my return.
You should have at least put your gift to work every few weeks, at least you would have something to show for it. It wouldn’t be the same as the first two servants, but it would be something.
Let’s go to the beginning of the parable. The master trusted each of the servants in accordance with their ability. The master did not give any of them more than they could handle. Each servant could have produced a return.
Do you think that God has given you more gift than you can handle? The God who knew you before you were formed in the womb knew exactly what you could handle.
So why would we not use our gifts? The answer is also in the parable. Most of the time, fear is the culprit. Fear is always there. The first two servants were not pulled off course by it. The third servant was stopped dead in his tracks.
But what is there to fear from a Spiritual Gift?
What if I fail? What if I guessed wrongly and evangelism or leadership or service is not my gift?
Then you scratch those off your list and move on to something else. Do you think the first two servants didn’t have setbacks? You can’t double your money without a little risk and nobody bats a hundred for the whole season.
If you fail, then learn and move on.
Perhaps the bigger fear is the fear of success. What if this is my gift? What if God has gifted me to be a missionary or to preach? I can’t stay in my comfort zone if I find out that I have the gift of evangelism. I’m going to have to talk to people.
Before God gifted you with whatever it is that you have as a gift, he already accounted for your fears, your nature, and the obstacles that you would face. He made your gift bigger than your obstacles.
Once we get to the book of James, you will find that those obstacles may be exactly what you need not only to grow your faith but to cause your gifts to blossom.
By all of the standard tests of the world, I am an introvert. That means, I could spend the next two or three years by myself writing books or articles and emailing them to someone for publishing and never have to talk with anyone.
But here I am week after week and you are wondering when will he shut up?
God already factored in my nature and the obstacles that I would face in my life. He has not short-changed you.
Put your Spiritual Gifts to work. Produce exceptional fruit for the Lord and for the Body of Christ.
There is a Well done good and faithful servant in store for you if you will just trust that God gave you the exact gifts that you need.
Put your gifts to work and expect that one day you will hear, Come and share your Master’s happiness.