Tag Archives: gifts

Use It or Lose It

You’re asked to look after something, what do you do?  Use it?  Or keep it very carefully?

Matthew 25:14-30 (CEV)

A Story about Three Servants

14 The kingdom is also like what happened when a man went away and put his three servants in charge of all he owned. 15 The man knew what each servant could do. So he handed five thousand coins to the first servant, two thousand to the second, and one thousand to the third. Then he left the country.

16 As soon as the man had gone, the servant with the five thousand coins used them to earn five thousand more.17 The servant who had two thousand coins did the same with his money and earned two thousand more. 18 But the servant with one thousand coins dug a hole and hid his master’s money in the ground.

19 Some time later the master of those servants returned. He called them in and asked what they had done with his money. 20 The servant who had been given five thousand coins brought them in with the five thousand that he had earned. He said, “Sir, you gave me five thousand coins, and I have earned five thousand more.”

21 “Wonderful!” his master replied. “You are a good and faithful servant. I left you in charge of only a little, but now I will put you in charge of much more. Come and share in my happiness!”

22 Next, the servant who had been given two thousand coins came in and said, “Sir, you gave me two thousand coins, and I have earned two thousand more.”

23 “Wonderful!” his master replied. “You are a good and faithful servant. I left you in charge of only a little, but now I will put you in charge of much more. Come and share in my happiness!”

24 The servant who had been given one thousand coins then came in and said, “Sir, I know that you are hard to get along with. You harvest what you don’t plant and gather crops where you haven’t scattered seed. 25 I was frightened and went out and hid your money in the ground. Here is every single coin!”

26 The master of the servant told him, “You are lazy and good-for-nothing! You know that I harvest what I don’t plant and gather crops where I haven’t scattered seed.27 You could have at least put my money in the bank, so that I could have earned interest on it.”

28 Then the master said, “Now your money will be taken away and given to the servant with ten thousand coins!29 Everyone who has something will be given more, and they will have more than enough. But everything will be taken from those who don’t have anything. 30 You are a worthless servant, and you will be thrown out into the dark where people will cry and grit their teeth in pain.”

I have a lot of sympathy for the third man.  What a sensible thing to do.  He didn’t want to lose his masters money, so he kept it safe.  We wouldn’t be applauding the other two if they had risked his money and lost it.  But there is no suggestion of that.  Just that they took what they had been given and used it for good.  Yet it seems really harsh to castigate someone for keeping something safe until it’s owner returns.

There are two lessons this parable can teach us (well probably many more, but two will do for today!)

(i) what we are given is not for our own sole use, it is to enrich the community around us.  This works with money, possessions, talents, gifts and graces – they are all to share, not to be hidden away.  Who knows how what we can do could help those around us.  Or we can sit at home protecting it; afraid to use it unless it gets lost, broken or all used up; keeping it to ourselves.

God has given us what we have.  He has done so anticipating that we use it.  And if this passage is to be believed, the better we use it, the more we will receive.

(ii)  This passage tells us it is about the Kingdom.  It can be all very nice and cosy to hold tightly to what we have been given.  To enjoy the feeling of knowing God, worshipping him and delighting in all he has given us.

BUT such things are only any real good if we pass on what we have discovered.  If we share with others all that God has given to us, that they can enjoy it too.  That is what true faith is about.  It is not something to be hidden away, but to be used.

By Andrey Mironov (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
So, as we ponder what we have been given, may we think well on what we do with it, how we use it – that we may be a good and faithful servant.

Thank you Lord
for all you give to me.

May I be faithful in using it,
for your kingdom
and for the world.

Make Full Use of God’s Gift

By mattbuck (category) (Own work by mattbuck.) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

You are given a gift, a beautiful gift, something you’ve longed for, something you appreciate how precious it is.  Do you use it for the purpose it is intended, or cling to it safely?

My son gave me some beautiful plates for my birthday.  His wise words to me were,

you don’t have to keep them in a special place – use them

and so I will.  (Though they are beautiful and precious and I am afraid to break them)  What is the point of having something if you don’t use it for it’s intended purpose?

2 Timothy 1:1-14

From Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus.

God himself chose me to be an apostle, and he gave me the promised life that Jesus Christ makes possible.

Timothy, you are like a dear child to me. I pray that God our Father and our Lord Christ Jesus will be kind and merciful to you and will bless you with peace!

Do Not Be Ashamed of the Lord

Night and day I mention you in my prayers. I am always grateful for you, as I pray to the God my ancestors and I have served with a clear conscience. I remember how you cried, and I want to see you, because that will make me truly happy. I also remember the genuine faith of your mother Eunice. Your grandmother Lois had the same sort of faith, and I am sure that you have it as well. So I ask you to make full use of the gift that God gave you when I placed my hands on you. Use it well. God’s Spirit doesn’t make cowards out of us. The Spirit gives us power, love, and self-control.

Don’t be ashamed to speak for our Lord. And don’t be ashamed of me, just because I am in jail for serving him. Use the power that comes from God and join with me in suffering for telling the good news.

God saved us and chose us
    to be his holy people.
We did nothing
    to deserve this,
but God planned it
    because he is so kind.
Even before time began
God planned for Christ Jesus
    to show kindness to us.

10 Now Christ Jesus has come
to show us the kindness
    of God.
Christ our Savior defeated death
and brought us
    the good news.
It shines like a light
and offers life
    that never ends.

11 My work is to be a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher. 12 That’s why I am suffering now. But I am not ashamed! I know the one I have faith in, and I am sure that he can guard until the last day what he has trusted me with. 13 Now follow the example of the correct teaching I gave you, and let the faith and love of Christ Jesus be your model. 14 You have been trusted with a wonderful treasure. Guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit, who lives within you.

We’re in the season of Harvest Festivals.  The opportunity to pause and thank God for all he gives us. But here we are pointed to the other gifts God gives us.  His treasure in our lives.  Paul reminds Timothy of the three-pronged gift of power, love and self-control (v7).  Power, not in himself, but the power of God in him.  He reminds him,

 You have been trusted with a wonderful treasure

Powerful stuff – but not much use, if you don’t use it.

Paul knows what God has asked of him – and is seeking to do it.  He asks the same of Timothy.  Yes his gift is to be guarded, but also to be used fully.

Gifts…

What gifts has God given me?  What has he given to you?  What is he asking us to do with them?  What wonderful treasure has he given to you that can be used to bring the good news?  To shine light into dark places?

By Zouavman Le Zouave (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

We are called to make full use of God’s gift in our lives.  Not to hide them away.  Not to protect them.  That may be risky, but it’s what those gifts are for.

Lord,
we have nothing
that you haven’t given to us first.
Thank you for all your gifts
to me,
those that I don’t deserve,
those it is your joy to give,
things that make my life so rich,
those gifts that enable;
Lord I receive them all.
Thank you for entrusting them to me.
I pray that I will not hide them away,
not fear to use or damage them,
but make full use of them
for you

Using What You’ve Got

I really wish I could paint. I have the idea in my head, I can see what I want the picture to look like, but somewhere between my brain and my hands it all gets lost.  Thankfully for me, there are people who can paint beautifully, and I can usually find a picture to illustrate the thought I’ve had.  And if we all painted, who would write music, write great stories, explain scientific principles, cook, dust, be available to talk or pray?  All of us have gifts, just different ones – they are all equally valuable.

1 Corinthians 12:1-11

Spiritual Gifts

12 My friends, you asked me about spiritual gifts. I want you to remember that before you became followers of the Lord, you were led in all the wrong ways by idols that cannot even talk. Now I want you to know that if you are led by God’s Spirit, you will say that Jesus is Lord, and you will never curse Jesus.

There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but they all come from the same Spirit. There are different ways to serve the same Lord, and we can each do different things. Yet the same God works in all of us and helps us in everything we do.

The Spirit has given each of us a special way of serving others. Some of us can speak with wisdom, while others can speak with knowledge, but these gifts come from the same Spirit. To others the Spirit has given great faith or the power to heal the sick 10 or the power to work mighty miracles. Some of us are prophets, and some of us recognize when God’s Spirit is present. Others can speak different kinds of languages, and still others can tell what these languages mean. 11 But it is the Spirit who does all this and decides which gifts to give to each of us.

Equally we all have different spiritual gifts.  God has given each of us a way we can serve him and those around us.

What gift has God given to you?  Are you using it?

I can sit and wish I had a different gift, or I can get on with using the ones I’ve got.

Today, I offer to God, the gift he has given me, and ask him to use it.

Thank you Lord

for the gifts you have given me,

that make me who I am.

May I not sit around

wishing I had a different gift,

but use the ones I have

for you

and those around me.

Today Lord,

I offer myself,

all I am

and ask that you will use my gifts