IN THE PROCESS —Matthew 25; The Parable of the TALENT and Luke 19; The Parable of the MINAS (First READ Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 19:12-27).
I assume you have probably read the two passages by now. Let me give you the similarities between the two parables:
. man goes to another country, stays a long time, then returns.
. man allocates his resources to his servants, expecting them to be profitable in his absence.
. first two servants are faithful; they are praised by their master and are given more authority in the process.
. third servant hides what was entrusted to him.
. third servant seeks to excuse himself by accusing his master of being harsh.
. third servant claims he was afraid of his master.
. third servant does not make a profit for his master.
. first two servants are commended and go to heaven; the third is condemned and goes to hell.
The Process of Reaching Your Potential:
Several years ago, Dianne and I went on our second cruise to the southern Caribbean islands. We had enjoyed our first cruise to the western Caribbean in the late 1990’s, so we decided to venture out to a different geographical area on our second cruise.
When we arrived aboard our ship into the harbor of Barbados, our previously planned excursion on the island had been canceled. So we looked at the activity brochure and decided to go to the Orchid Farm by default.
After the tourist bus dropped us all off, we pretty much were on our own. The orchids were all outside growing in the tropical climate and blooming in magnificence. Some of the blooms even had a fragrance; one in particular smelled of chocolate. We had to pinch ourselves; were we in heaven or in Barbados? To a garden enthusiast it was almost overwhelming.
All of us have met unnoticed persons in our lives who live in the middle of struggle and hardship, far from the center of attention, yet live lives in the beauty and fragrance. They are in obscurity, faithfully fulfilling God’s calling for them.
God’s question on the last day will not be, “How much were you noticed?” or “How much did you do?” Rather His question will be, “Were you faithful in fulfilling your calling where I placed you? Did you try? Did you do your best?” Titles or prestigious position won’t matter when Jesus comes someday soon. Just do your best where you are and He will say, “Well done, you upright (honorable, admirable) and faithful servant! You have been faithful and trustworthy over little; I will put you in charge of much” (Matthew 25:21 AMP).
What are you doing with your talents?
What a challenge we face in the process of possessing qualities and attributes that are on loan from God! I hope you are not hiding them in a tennis shoe. I can personally give testimony that even when God reveals to you a specific talent, your reaction might be skeptical. You might say to yourself, “I have little or no experience in that task. Why did God choose me to accomplish that …?”
I love growing Dahlias every year in the garden and last year I entered two blooms in the county fair for the first time. I took first place with one bloom and second place with the other; a Blue Ribbon and a Red Ribbon.
Go ahead and produce beautiful prizewinning blooms where you are in life, even if all your neighbors are producing weeds. Succeed where God has planted you.
JESUS LAYS OUT A PRINCIPLE FOR LIFE IN THE TWO PARABLES:
“Five of them were foolish (thoughtless, without forethought) and five were wise (sensible, intelligent, and prudent)” Matthew 25:2.
“And [said Jesus, ] I tell you that to everyone who gets and has will more be given, but from the man who does not get and does not have, even what he has will be taken away” Luke 19:26.
It is so simple sometimes and easy to miss: “If Rome wasn’t built-in a day, neither is character formed in a moment.” There is a process in becoming all that God created us to be!.
BECOMING MORE LIKE GOD:
Becoming like God, in His character is a gift from God Himself; enabling us to express ourselves as a part of who we are in its process. This surprising journey of holiness after receiving Jesus into our being is a complete transformation; a miracle of God and stewardship of man. God promises to do what we cannot do for ourselves. He commands us to do that which He will not do for us. It is both a miracle and a responsibility.
In both the parables in Matthew and Luke, God entrusts us with His resources and holds us accountable for what we do with them. He lays down a framework to adhere to.
The framework for how the kingdom of God works.
The master in the parables distributes his resources among his servants. Not proportionately or equally but as he chooses. He leaves on a journey, to one day return and settle accounts with them.
An important note here! The master doesn’t tell them how to manage the money or what to do with it. It does say he distributed the resources according to each individuals ability. He didn’t give them more than they were capable of managing well. Each one was effectively positioned to succeed.
The third servant, after receiving a single talent, dug a hole in the ground and buried it. In today’s culture the servant might have placed his one talent in a tennis shoe.
Being “WICKED” and “LAZY”.
The servant who was given but one talent didn’t steal it. He even returned it without being asked. Yet his master condemned him with the indictment that he was wicked and lazy. Is it possible that God views negligence and human capacity differently?
The servant was declared wicked and lazy when what he could have done was measured against what he did. When we think of a person’s talent or gifting, we often put it in a category with added value. Then, if an individual doesn’t achieve his or her God-given potential, we might consider it a tragedy. But we would never think of it as wickedness.
From our common view of holiness, the third servant in both parables did nothing wrong regarding his actions. He just didn’t do anything! The servant’s wrong view of God’s character led him to the wrong conclusion of what God required of him. At the same time, his wrong view of God led him to lose both potential of his life and the pleasure of his master.
God sees not only who we are, but who we can become. When we neglect our God-given potential, putting our TALENT and GIFTS in a tennis shoe, it is wickedness in the sight of God. How would it change the work of the church if our measure of effectiveness was not how little sin was being done, but how much good was being accomplished? We have more than likely seen very clearly that a life lived against God is wicked; is foolish. But have we ever seen as clearly that to live our lives beneath a God-given capacity is equally dishonoring to God? To not have that opportunity is tragic. To relinquish it, to neglect it, to reject it is wicked in God’s sight.
FREEING YOUR GOD-GIVEN POTENTIAL:
You and I are created for more than just existing.
While we have redefined mediocrity as normal; ‘the best of the worst or the worst of the best’, we far too often expect nothing more. God will not have it! He did not create us to be average, but to be unique. While you may be dreaming right now of a better life or the better person you could be, only God really knows the person you were intended to become. Only He sees the fullness of what is being neglected or lost.
In both parables the servant was fearful and in neither parable was his apathy found acceptable by the master. Whether you are a one-, five-, or ten-talent servant, you have not been left with only a tennis shoe.
Every one of us has God-given talent. Beyond this, God pours into each of us His gifts. Each is unique in the contribution he or she can make.
Potential and productivity are not the same.
In Seizing Your Divine Moment, we reveal the dilemma of untapped potential:
There’s so much talk about potential in our culture, as if it’s the end-all of success. Has anyone ever said about you, “He has so much potential”? If you’re under twenty–let’s give you twenty-five–consider it a compliment. Potential–your untapped or unlocked capacity. Potential–the hint of greatness not yet developed. “She has so much potential–a statement of praise and maybe even adoration. And then you’re thirty, and you still have all this potential. Pressing forty, and you’re still full of potential. If you’re forty-five and someone looks at you and says, “You have so much potential,” pause, excuse yourself, step into a closet, and have a good cry.
What once was a statement of promise is now evaluated as lost opportunity. There is a point where you’re not supposed to be full of potential; you’re supposed to be full of talent, capacity, product. Potential is a glimpse of what could be, yet there must be a shift from where we have potential to where we are potent in our servant-hood. You’re not supposed to die with your potential. Come on church. Let’s quit putting our TALENTS and our GIFTING in a tennis shoe!
“You have been faithful and trust-worthy over a little; I will put you in charge of much. Enter into and share the joy (the delight, the blessedness) which your master enjoys.  For to EVERYONE who has will more be given, and he will be furnished richly so that he will have an abundance” (Matthew 25:23, 29 AMP).