Stewardship of Talents

November 10, 2007 Exodus 4:1-2

 

 

God uses the littlest things in life.

Things that we think are valueless can be invested for God’s glory and reap a great harvest.

For Example Look at

Exodus 4:1-2 Then Moses said, “What if they will not believe me or listen to what I say? For they may say, ‘The Lord has not appeared to you.’ ” The Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” And he said, “A staff.”

A simple shepherds staff, at first glance of little value.

But little is much in the hands of God.  Remember what happened next?

Exodus 4:3-4 Then He said, “Throw it on the ground.” So he threw it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from it. But the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand and grasp it by its tail”—so he stretched out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand—

Moses staff was employed by God to perform great miracles.

God uses what we see as little value and brings forth a great increase.

The question that we need to ask our class today is: “Will you offer what you have to be used by God as He see fit?”

Remember our Key Principle #3:I Am Responsible to increase what God has given to me.  I may increase it or diminish it.

Every Wednesday evening before small-grouping for missions or Bible study or “prayer meeting” we as a church family would get together for supper. The church supper committee supplied the main course—meat and potatoes, chicken and potato salad, fish and chips—and every family brought in a favorite vegetable or salad or bread and/or dessert.

After supper everyone took their dirty dishes to the kitchen, scraped plates, emptied glasses, and placed the used hardware on the counter where it was immediately removed to the grand industrial-grade dishwasher that had been given to the church several years before by the university when their kitchen equipment was upgraded. It was a well-oiled, good Baptist operation, and the dishes were steaming clean almost before everyone finished at table, and, before the kitchen committee left for prayer meeting, put away for use another day.

Except of course for the big pots and pans in which the main dishes had been cooked and served. Those monsters would not fit in the assembly-line trays of the dishwasher. The heavy-duty pots and pans had to be washed by hand in the deep double sinks.

So there she stood, sleeves rolled up about six laps, full-length cafeteria apron secured round her neck and waist, and up to her elbows in hot soapy water scrubbing and rinsing those heavy, greasy pots and pans.

She was in her seventies. She was not frail. But she was beginning to show her age. And now perspiration beaded up on her softly wrinkled forehead. And she sometimes struggled to lift that heavy stock pot or that huge baking pan.

Naturally, when I noticed her hard at work, and saw that no one else—uncharacteristically for those good folk—even offered to help her, and, perhaps, seeking to make a new-preacher good impression—I offered to help her with her heavy load.

“Miss Alma,” I offered, “let me help you with those heavy pots and pans, and then,” I ventured, “let’s see if we can get someone else to share this job with you.” I was not prepared for her strong response.

“Pastor,” she said, “this here is my job! I been doin’ it for years. I ain’t got much education, so I can’t teach a class. And I can’t carry a tune in a washtub, so I can’t sing in the choir. But I raised six children and now I’m helping raise twelve grandchildren. I know how to wash pots and pans! That’s my talent! You just go on and help somebody who needs help. I got this job covered!”

Do I need to tell you that I never again offered to take some of the load? And I understood why no one else offered to help either—“This here is my job!”

Every Christian has some talent, ability and a
spiritual gift he or she has received from God.

1 Peter 4:10 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

  • God has designed it that way.
  • Some are gifted as “apostles,” some as “prophets,” some to be “evangelists” or “pastors” or “teachers”

Ephesians 4:11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers,

  • God entrusts us with gifts and talents as He chooses.

1 Corinthians 12:11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.

  • For the specific purpose of building the body, the church.

1 Corinthians 12:18 But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired.

And, we might add, some can carry a tune in the choir or answer the phone or teach a class or paint a wall for the children’s classroom or trim the shrubbery or prune the roses or wash pots and pans or cheerfully greet folks at the door with a handshake or a hug and a worship prompter for the day.

Key

Everyone is gifted in some special way for some special task. And an essential part of our stewardship is to discover what our talent is (and spiritual gifts)"
and then to put that talent to work “for the good of others” and so the whole “body,”
that the church, may grow and be built up through love

It rightly has been said that

1. Everyone, at Faith Baptist Church has some special gift/talent.

The classic text regarding talents of course is the Parable of the Talents

Matthew 25:14-15  For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them. “To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey.

  • In Jesus’ story, the slaves were defined as:”ones who had given themselves up for another’s will, devoted to the other to the disregard of his own interest.”

This is exactly what God calls us to do.

2 Corinthians 8:5and this, not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God.

  • The fact that the text says they were His (God’s) possessions reminds us of the fist key principle of stewardship.

God Owns Everything, and I Own Nothing.

  • “Talents” were sums of money or property value.
  • But of course the story has wider implications than just the management of capital investment and portfolio.
  • One Gospel student’s renaming of this parable is especially appropriate: “A Parable of the Use of Capabilities.”
  • Each one was given “According to his own ability”
  • It is God who gives us our talents
  • When talking about the Spiritual gifts it is God who gives as he desires.

1 Corinthians 12:18But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired.

  • Not only has God entrusted us with spiritual gifts but in addition God made each of us exactly the way He desired. He gave us the talents and abilities He desires for us to invest for His Glory.

Psalm 139:13For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.

It is evident from the Gospels that Jesus knew and clearly taught that persons differ in talents. There are diversities of gifts. Some persons draw plans for a cathedral, some compose music for its pipe organ, some carve the stones for its walls, and some build the road to the door. But every one of these is talented. No one is without some gift essential to the building.

Meditation Prompters

2. Every gift/talent/capability is importantto the life of the body, the church.

1 Peter 4:10 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

  • Ephesians explains: Under [Christ’s] control all the different parts of the body fit together, and the whole body held together by every joint with which it is provided.

Ephesians 4:16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.

  • The church body is composed many members who have been entrusted with various and diverse talents: Each and every one is essential to the health of the whole.

1 Corinthians 12:14For the body is not one member, but many.

1 Corinthians 12:26And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

  • God gives talents (both spiritual gifts and abilities) for the common good of the body.

1 Corinthians 12:7But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

Discussion Prompters

3. What is your gift/talent and are you usingit to your full stewardship potential?

You didn’t think we were going to forget Moses and Exodus 4:2, did you?

  • Moses had talents of which he was not aware.
  • Of course he had legislative talents, even though he probably couldn’t get elected to the U.S. Congress on his Decalogue platform—too many “Thou shalt nots” and not enough promises.
  • But his main talent—after diplomacy of course—was, I think, leadership. It took him a long while to recognize that talent.
  • It took him longer to put it to use for God’s sake and for the sake of God’s people.
  • When God called on Moses to “Go down, and tell the Pharaoh to let my people go,”
  • Moses made all kinds of excuses why he was not the one for the job.
  • Simple shepherd that he now was, he would get no respect from Pharaoh. And, besides, he had a slight speech impediment, and would be laughed out of Pharaoh’s court.
  • Moses’ whining about his perceived inabilities may translate into something altogether different, like the wiseacre’s paraphrase of the old hymn:

 

I’ll go where you want me to go, dear Lord,

I’ll say what you want me to say,

But I’m busy right now with myself, dear Lord,

I’ll help you some other day.

  • But at last God made Moses see what his capabilities really were.
  • “What’s that in your hand, Moses?” God asked. “My shepherd’s staff,” Moses replied. Then God demonstrated to Moses the effective power in that simple shepherd’s staff when it was used in God’s service and for the sake of God’s people. A simple shepherd’s staff, a symbol of leadership and caretaking! A symbol of the talent with which God gifted or graced Moses!

 Discussion Prompters

Moses, What’s in your hand?

Only a shepherd’s crook,

A weak, frail stick for guiding sheep.

But Moses! Moses! Look!

It’s become a living thing!

And henceforth from this hour

Dedicated to our God

It symbolizes power.


Christian, what’s in your hand?

Some simple, little thing?

Some gift neglected, even despised?

Still, if you will bring

Your gift, and lay it at God’s feet,

Nor wait, this very hour,

Dedicated to your God,

Your mite will become power.