God's Gifts & Stewardship

The Pivotal Question

Now, here's a question. I'm asking the question of myself and of you. And I'm asking it, not to hurt anyone's feelings, in fact, if you know my heart by now, I'm asking it to help your faith. Here's the question:

If you were to quit being a part of this church today, would anything be missing except your attendance?

Let that sink in. If you were to leave today, leave this church- what would be missing? Would anybody know you went missing? Would your gift leave a vacancy? A void? Now, people move on for various reasons. Perhaps because of proximity; God has moved them to a different state, so they can't attend anymore. And you can know the impact they had on a body when they're no longer here. And what I'm saying is not that anyone is irreplaceable, but our impact on a body should be felt by everybody.

So how do we use what God has given to us? Let's get into it. Romans 12:6a:
"Having then gifts," the word is "charismata" or where we get our English word “charisma”, it means spiritually graced. It means endowed by God's grace to practice or serve in a given function. Differing according to the grace, it's the word "charis" related to the word "charisma", that is given to us.

Let me read it in its entirety: “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them.” And here's what I picked up based on the previous verses we read, this is awesome: Everything that we have is God given.

The Call To stewardship

Did you catch that? The gifts given by God. The grace that is given by God. Did you even catch in verse 3: The faith, The measure of faith that you have is given by God. Put that all together. God gives the gifts. God gives the grace. God gives the faith. Therefore, what is it called when one receives a gift or responsibility, giving something that's not theirs, but they are to tend to it?
They are to manage it. What's it called? Stewardship. The biblical word stewardship means, “to house manage”, to be a manager of the house. Jesus had much to say about stewardship. Until he returns, He has granted us each measures of faith, grace and gifts. Question: How are we using them? 

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The Parable of the Talents

Matthew Chapter 25, a pretty long account. It says this:
“For the Kingdom of Heaven is like a man traveling to a far country," this is Jesus, "who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his own ability.; and immediately he went on a journey.

Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord's money." Now please note, he doesn't lose it, he just doesn't use it. He dug a hole, and hid the money.

"After a long time the lord of those servants," key words: "lord", "servants", "came and settled accounts with them. So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, 'Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.'

His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.'

He also who had received two talents came and said, 'Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.'

His lord said to him," The same thing! Not: 'Wow, that's not as good as the guy that made five!', "Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.'

Then he who had received the one talent came and said, 'Lord I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have no 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."

I didn't lose it! Here it is! I polished it! I kept it safe! Listen to the Lord of love, the God of grace, the master of mercy. Listen to what he says: "But his lord answered and said to him," - That's okay! Better luck next time. - No. "But his lord answered and said to him, 'You wicked and lazy servant," What type of servants are there...?, "you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. For to everyone who has, more will be given,"

Translation: If he was using what God has given Him, God would multiply and give him more: more responsibility, more talents, more gifts, more honor, and more glory, God's way!

And think about this: "and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have," who does not use what God gave him, "even what he has will be taken away. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." That's eternal damnation, based on what the servant, either 1) profitable or 2) unprofitable service unto the master. I mean, that's a heavy text! That alone would be enough to say, “Hey, are you using your talent? Let's pray and let's get to work.” But, a lot of us don't even know how to discover our gift and use it.

Ministering and Multiplying

In 1 Peter 4:10, It says this, you might say, "I don't have a gift." The Word of God would say otherwise: “As each one has received a gift," Same word. Charismata: charisma, "minister it to one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God."  employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” You know why I love this? The word minister here is related to the word Deacon. Each one of us has the ability and a gift to serve, and we are stewarding the manifold grace of God?

Yes! The multifaceted, many dimensioned and diverse graces of God. Verse 11 in that same chapter says this: ”If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God;" If God has given you a gift to speak, you do so as if you were speaking on behalf of God Himself. "Why do you get so passionate in the pulpit?": How can't I get passionate when I'm speaking God's Holy Word!? "If anyone minsters, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen."

Translation: The gift of God comes with the grace of God.

All that pressure, I say pressure to perform, should melt away. The gift God gave you comes with the grace that God has for you. And the gift of God is for the glory of God.

Just note that. The gift of God comes with the grace of God. And the gift of God, "Why did He give me a gift?" is unto the glory of God. Now, here's the indictment:

 To neglect the gift that God gave you is to reject the grace that God gives you.

To neglect that gift is to reject the grace that God gives. And we become more like the wicked and slothful servant who buried His talent, when he should have been a blessing with the talent. The choice is ours. It ultimately is. We bury what God gave us, we don't use it. Or, we can use it and multiply it.
Thinking of an illustration here. I couldn't find the right one, but one came to the surface upon my research and I was like, "Wow that's powerful!", and it's powerful because of this: You might look around in a ministry like this at Landmark and go, “I don't know where to start. It sounds like there's so many things happening here. I'm overwhelmed. I don't even know what to do.”
 Likewise, you can look out in your world and say, “There's so much happening in our world, I can't even keep up with it. It's overwhelming. There's so much evil. I don't even know what to do.” That's why this illustration was perfect.

Overcoming Evil With Good

It involved a real life testimony from an individual named Bohn Fawkes. He was a B-17 Air Force pilot during World War II. During one of the missions over Germany, he took anti-aircraft fire, flak from the soldiers down on the ground. One of them hit his gas tank. He, of course, realized he couldn't continue the mission, circled back, returned only to discover that his gas tank, which should have detonated and exploded, did not.

After they discovered the point of entry, they found it wasn't just one bullet or one anti-aircraft ammunition. It was eleven. Eleven shells struck his gas tank. So he decided to ask for one of those pieces of ammunition as safekeeping, demonstrative of his good fortune, of course.
When he went to get it from the armament, they didn't have it, they said, "We've passed it onto intelligence."

When they opened up to defuse the ammunition, they discovered all of them but one, (All but one!) were completely empty. The one had something in it, and it wasn't ammunition. It was a note rolled up, written in Czech. True story. When they found somebody who could speak in Czech, they read the note and it said this:

“This is all we can do for you now.”

 See, somebody in a German ammunition factory did not believe in the Nazi cause, and they looked out and said, “This is too overwhelming. I don't even know where to start. I might not be able to do everything, but I'm going to start right here in this assembly line and I'm going to do something.” And I think that is the point.

Nobody here can do everything, but everybody here can do something.

At the end of Romans 12, verse 21 says this:
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
 This is the heart of service: good in the body, good in the world.

This study was pulled from one of our sermons.

To learn more, watch the full sermon below.


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