Eternal Opportunity is the fourth message in a series titled Eternal Trust that focuses on God's Kingdom and how we fit into His plan.
In today's message, we investigate the two kinds of servants, the good servant and the wicked servant. The distinction between the two are clear and simple to understand, as well as the fate of each type of servant. The consequences of this choice has eternal ramifications, so choose wisely which type of servant you would like to be.
Perception is Not Reality
Many of us have heard the worldly expression, "perception is reality." But that just isn't so, Pastor Miles tells us.
Oftentimes a ministry leader will say that the ministry is going well because perhaps they have a good feeling about the ministry. But how do we know for certain that a ministry is doing well? We can only know by measuring with numbers. What's the point? Just that God is a God of exactness.
We can apply this principle to the progress of our Christian life. God uses the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30 to illustrate.
The Good Servant vs. the Wicked Servant
God makes very clear the distinction between the good servant and the wicked servant. Still, both servants have several things in common...
First, both types of servants have been entrusted with the same opportunity.
Matthew 25:14 shows the master who entrusts his property to slaves while he journeys. We see in the next verse that not all slaves were entrusted with the same number of talents, and yet they all had the opportunity to use the talents as they thought best. They were accountable to their master for their stewardship of those talents, just as we will be accountable to God for our stewardship of the talents He has blessed us with.
When the master returned, he used the same scale to measure each slave's performance.
This is true for believers as well, regardless of the number of talents God has blessed us with. Don't compare your performance as a believer to another believer's. Some people are able to do more with less; likewise, the abundantly talented Christian may not use his gifts to their fullest for a number of reasons.
Only God knows the heart and He will be our final judge. Jeremiah 17:10
If only God knows our heart, how can we really know whether God sees us as a good or a wicked servant? Good servants have fruit that can be measured.
Just as the slaves in Matthew 25 were able to measure the increase of their original talents, God can measure our increase. If we use the talents God has given us, He blesses us with even more talents.
Good servants are invited into the joy of the Lord from using their gifts. There are many levels of happiness and joy in life, but we won't know our greatest joy until we are smack dab in the middle of using our God-given talents to do His purpose.
What of the wicked servant? Matthew 25:25 shows us the fearful servant who does not invest his talent at all, but buries it in the ground for fear of his master.
Proverbs 1:7 tells us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but that doesn't mean that we should cower as from an abusive master or flee from God for fear of punishment. This wicked servant was afraid of his master in this sense, and had a harsh view of him. Our God wants to bless us, not harm us. But if we don't seize the opportunity to serve God with our gifts, over time we will lose that opportunity.
Don't waste your talents. Christians understand the concept of grace, but we often forget that we are accountable to God. God won't forget and he will grade us on whether we trusted Him and made good use of our talents.
How Do We Know?
Encouragers, teachers, evangelists-they will all see the fruit of their labors even though it is too vast to measure. But because it is knowable what God has done and will do in our lives, we should use that knowledge to plan and strategize.
Can't remember what God has done in your life lately? Start keeping a diary. It's easy to pray when we're in need, but later we forget what God has done. Write it down and refer to it often to be encouraged. Another way to know whether our talents are bearing fruit is to ask someone you trust, someone who knows the effect you have on others. Finally, ask God for confirmation. After all, He is the one with all the answers, and He wants us to seek Him. He's the One we should ask first!
Want to know what your spiritual gifts are? Take the gifts test: www.therocksandiego.org/giftstest.
There are many ministries at the Rock Church where you can use your gifts. With the new building opening this summer, the Rock needs far more servants to meet the increased need brought on by a growing congregation.
Reminder: No 5:15 service on Super Bowl Sunday, February 4th. Enjoy the game and we'll see you at 7:15.