We are so blessed to have Margaret Kemp to share with us her musings. Her words are thought provoking as she challenges us to live up to our full potential and put our abilities and talents to Kingdom use. Kingdom ventures are often scary and risky business, but with God at the helm, we can rest assure that His grace is sufficient and where we are weak, He is strong! Be encouraged today as Margaret shares Kingdom Ventures!
“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.”
Play it safe or take a risk----what does God expect His followers to do? Do we use our small, imperfect abilities, or do we leave the kingdom work to those who are REALLY talented?
In Matthew 25:14-30 Jesus told a story about a company owner who was going on a business trip. Before he left, the owner gave three employees a significant amount of capital to invest. He gave his high-performer five talents -- an amount considerably more that a lifetime’s worth of wages. The second rising star in the company got two talents. The third man hadn’t yet proven his abilities, but the boss still gave him one talent. A regular worker would have to labor 16 1/2 years to earn that much money, so the third guy still had a tremendous opportunity.
When the boss returned, the first man had doubled the capital. He got more responsibility, and probably a promotion, a bonus, a raise, and a party. He was invited to “enter the joy of his lord.” (v. 23) With shrewd investments and trading, the second man also doubled the amount he was given. Kudos from the boss. Another promotion. Another party.
But the third man returned his talent. He’d dug a hole and buried the money in the backyard. He hadn’t even put it in the bank where it could earn interest.
Maybe his reluctance is understandable. He might have been thinking,” What if I botch this up? What do I know about this investing stuff? Better to just make sure this one talent here is safe.”
But if we look closely, we’ll notice three things about the third employee, whom the boss calls “wicked and lazy.”
The underlying principle in this parable is that Jesus values faithfulness. Dr. Thomas Constable(*) defines faithfulness as “using what God has entrusted to one to advance His interests in the world. It involves making a spiritual profit with the deposit God has entrusted to each disciple.”
God gives each of us talents, abilities, spiritual gifts and resources to invest for His kingdom. So, what keeps us from using our talents?
Do we, like the unfaithful servant, have a flawed image of Our Lord? Do we imagine Him as a harsh taskmaster who gives us a job then sits back to watch us fail? Do we forget that He’ll give us the power to accomplish what He assigns?
Maybe deep down, we’re not on board with our mission to “make disciples of all men.” Maybe we’ve secretly bought into the world’s philosophy that it’s impolite—or offensive—to share our faith.
My problem is fear. I fear rejection and ridicule as I make tentative efforts to use my meager abilities. I suspect this is where many of you struggle, also.
I listen to the voice in my head that says, “You’re not good enough.” (I can guess whose voice that is.)
But what if that nagging, clamoring voice in my head is causing such a ruckus that I can’t hear the voice of the Master? What if Jesus is saying, “Hey, about those talents I gave you? What have you done with them? How are you using them for My kingdom?”
And what if, instead, I heeded the voice of God’s Word?
“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” II Corinthians 12:9
It’s never too late to begin. I think of my own sweet “mother-in-love,” Carol Sawyer, who has been a mentor to me in my walk with the Lord. She began playing the cello at the age of 60. She’s in her 80’s now and still plays in orchestras and ensembles. Her cello’s deep, heart-stirring tones have resonated in churches and concert halls, weddings and nursing homes. She’s poured into the lives of other musicians. She’s invested her talents for God’s kingdom.
So now, I’m using my small ability to encourage you today: Don’t bury your gifts! God wants you to use them!
What gifts and abilities has God given you? Have you been making excuses instead of making investments in the kingdom? What can you do today to develop and use your gift?
Maybe that involves stepping out of your comfort zone, but consider this:
If we refuse the risk, we’ll never reap the rewards.
We miss out on hearing, “Well done, thy good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your lord.”
Let’s dig up that rusty, buried talent and invest it in the kingdom, then trust God for the results!
For His Kingdom Purpose,
*Resource: Dr. Thomas Constable - Founder of Dallas Seminary's Field Education Department and the Center for Biblical Studies and former faculty member. He is Senior Professor Emeritus of Bible Exposition, Adjunct Professor in Bible Exposition and has written commentaries on each book of the Bible.
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