Saturday, November 10, 2012

Missing Out

 Sometimes we give ourselves too much credit. Have you ever felt like you weren't being obedient when God asked you to do something?  Maybe he prompted you to invite someone to church who you met at the grocery store, or maybe you felt like you were supposed to share the gospel with someone with whom you work.  We let our fears or our insecurities or our pride keep us from sharing that which we know we are supposed to share.  And then, we walk away feeling guilty because we could have made an impact on that person’s life.  We worry that they will not know the love of Christ because we did not share with them.  We are giving ourselves too much credit.  Yes, we will have to answer for our lack of obedience one day, but God will accomplish what He has set out to accomplish regardless of our cooperation.  But, oh we will miss out on so much if we choose to turn the other way. 

Every day we are presented with opportunities to share the love of Christ.  The question is: will we seize every opportunity and allow them to make us more like Christ?  Or, will we pass them up and miss out on the blessing of following Him?  God is bigger than me, and He is bigger than you, and if we don’t obey Him, then He will find someone else who will accomplish His task.

Matthew 25 offers a parable that Jesus shared.  Through this parable we see that Jesus expects us to be faithful to obey Him.  And if we don’t, we are the ones who are missing out.  By obeying Him, we will gain so much.  It might not be in the form of money or fame or success, but it may be in peace and joy and gratitude.  But if we don’t obey, then even what little we are clinging to will be taken from us:

Matthew 25:14-30: Parable of the Three Servants
“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. He called together his servants and entrusted his money to them while he was gone.  He gave five bags of silver to one, two bags of silver to another, and one bag of silver to the last—dividing it in proportion to their abilities. He then left on his trip. “The servant who received the five bags of silver began to invest the money and earned five more. The servant with two bags of silver also went to work and earned two more.  But the servant who received the one bag of silver dug a hole in the ground and hid the master’s money. “After a long time their master returned from his trip and called them to give an account of how they had used his money. The servant to whom he had entrusted the five bags of silver came forward with five more and said, ‘Master, you gave me five bags of silver to invest, and I have earned five more.’ “The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’ “The servant who had received the two bags of silver came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two bags of silver to invest, and I have earned two more.’ “The master said, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’ “Then the servant with the one bag of silver came and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate.  I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.’ “But the master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy servant! If you knew I harvested crops I didn’t plant and gathered crops I didn’t cultivate, why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.’ “Then he ordered, ‘Take the money from this servant, and give it to the one with the ten bags of silver.  To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.  Now throw this useless servant into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

In this parable, the man with the one bag of silver could have done what the other men did by taking care of what was given to him and multiplying his gift.  But, what did he do?  He did what we all do: he allowed the things of this world to keep him from sharing the gift.  And what happened when the master returned?  He was angry because the gift could have been used for multiplication but it was wasted.  Did the master throw the gift away? No- he gave it to the man who had been faithful to multiply his gift. 

This parable parallels our lives today.  We have each been given different talents and gifts that God can use in our lives.  Because we have been given these talents and gifts, we can choose to reach out to others.  It won’t always be easy.  It will be a lot of work and it may even be filled with rejection.  But, as Christians, we were not called to an easy life, but we are called to trust and obey in a holy and perfect Savior.  By obeying Him and making the most of each opportunity that is put in our way, we are multiplying the gifts He gave us.  And if we don’t obey?  Someone else will have the privilege of taking that place and sharing in the blessing that could have been ours.  Just like in the parable, the servant who had been faithful with his 5 bags of sliver was given the one bag that had not been used properly. 

So, God’s purpose is not UP to me or you.  He will accomplish what He wants to accomplish regardless of our cooperation.  If we won’t obey, then He will find a faithful follower who will listen and obey. But, I don’t want to miss out. I don’t want to let my worries, fears, insecurities, or pride keep me from sharing the gifts and talents God has given me. Even more, I don’t want to meet my Savior one day empty-handed because I haven’t used what He’s given me to further His kingdom.  May we make the most of the opportunities that meet us each day.

“It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.” Isaiah 55:11

“Let the whole world fear the Lord, and let everyone stand in awe of him. For when he spoke, the world began! It appeared at his command.” Psalm 33:8-9

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