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How many bags were you given

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How many bags were you given?

February 2005

Rev. David L. Tayman

Carpenter's Home Church, Lakeland, FL

God has a purpose and plan for every single one of us.  He knows us and knows what we're capable of.  He knows our potential and He knows what drives us.

It is God's purpose and plan to use every willing life that is given to Him to the utmost of his or her capability and potential.

At the same time, God will not give us more than we are capable of handling.  He gives us gifts, talents, abilities, and resources in direct proportion to our ability - capability - and willingness to invest them (use them) for His glory!

When considering the subject of LEADERSHIP PRINCIPLES from a Biblical Perspective it is absolutely essential to understand how God looks at the people we are called to lead and how He distributes – what we often view as gifts, talents, responsibilities, opportunities, and resources. 

There is a story told by Jesus that I want us to look at this evening.

¸THE STORY ABOUT INVESTMENT (Matthew 25:14-30 The Message)"It's also like a man going off on an extended trip. He called his servants together and delegated responsibilities. To one he gave five thousand dollars, to another two thousand, to a third one thousand, depending on their abilities. Then he left. Right off, the first servant went to work and doubled his master's investment. The second did the same. But the man with the single thousand dug a hole and carefully buried his mas­ter's money."After a long absence, the master of those three servants came back and settled up with them. The one given five thousand dollars showed him how he had doubled his investment. His master commended him: `Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.'"The servant with the two thousand showed how he also had doubled his master's investment. His master commended him: `Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.'"The servant given one thousand said, `Master, I know you have high standards and hate careless ways, that you demand the best and make no allowances for error. I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound down to the last cent.'"The master was furious. `That's a terrible way to live! It's criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least? The least you could have done would have been to invest the sum with the bankers, where at least I would have gotten a little interest."'Take the thousand and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this "play-it-safe" who won't go out on a limb. Throw him out into utter darkness.'

Matthew 25:14-30 (NLT)14 "Again, the Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a trip. He called together his servants and gave them money to invest for him while he was gone. 15 He gave five bags of gold to one, two bags of gold to another, and one bag of gold to the last-dividing it in proportion to their abilities-and then left on his trip. 16 The servant who received the five bags of gold began immediately to invest the money and soon doubled it. 17 The servant with two bags of gold also went right to work and doubled the money. 18 But the servant who received the one bag of gold dug a hole in the ground and hid the master's money for safekeeping. 19 "After a long time their master returned from his trip and called them to give an account of how they had used his money. 20 The servant to whom he had entrusted the five bags of gold said, 'Sir, you gave me five bags of gold to invest, and I have doubled the amount.' 21 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!' 22 "Next came the servant who had received the two bags of gold, with the report, 'Sir, you gave me two bags of gold to invest, and I have doubled the amount.' 23 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!' 24 "Then the servant with the one bag of gold came and said, 'Sir, I know you are a hard man, harvesting crops you didn't plant and gathering crops you didn't cultivate. 25 I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth and here it is.' 26 "But the master replied, 'You wicked and lazy servant! You think I'm a hard man, do you, harvesting crops I didn't plant and gathering crops I didn't cultivate? 27 Well, you should at least have put my money into the bank so I could have some interest. 28 Take the money from this servant and give it to the one with the ten bags of gold. 29 To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who are unfaithful, even what little they have will be taken away. 30 Now throw this useless servant into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'

I. God has a very clear expectation of those whom He has blessed and given a trust.

¸14 "Again, the Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a trip. He called together his servants and gave them money to invest for him while he was gone. 15 He gave five bags of gold to one, two bags of gold to another, and one bag of gold to the last-dividing it in proportion to their abilities-and then left on his trip.

A. 1 Corinthians 4:2 (NIV) 2Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.

                                                                                   

1. In the story that Jesus told, the man going away entrusted each of his three servants with a portion of his wealth.

a. He had a very clear intention and expectation that those servants would "invest for him while he was gone".

1)  They were able to use the resources in any way they desired as long as they understood that whatever profit there might be belonged to their Master.  After all He was the one who entrusted them with the resources to begin with.

¸God’s blessings always come with an expectation and responsibility

b. There was never an attempt to hide the fact from the servants that with the money came an expectation and responsibility.

1) The Master was more than fair with them.

2) There was no trickery or deception.  Only openness, honesty and trust.

B. The Master entrusted each with valuable resources - giving everyone the opportunity and resources needed to succeed.

¸God always gives us everything we need to succeed.

1. Sometimes the resources are financial - sometimes they're human.

a. Some of us are given opportunities to lead men and women into spiritual battle.

b. Sometimes it's in ministry

c. Sometimes it's administrative for the work of the ministry.

1)  Resources are resources and it all comes from God

2) and it's always adequate for our success.

 

¸15 He gave five bags of gold to one, two bags of gold to another, and one bag of gold to the last-dividing it in proportion to their abilities-and then left on his trip. 

II. God uses people in direct proportion to their "abilities" and "willingness"

 

A. The Master in the story was a very wise man and recognized that each of his servants were unique and had very unique and individual talents and abilities.

1.  Each was treated and "gifted" in accordance with three criteria:

¸God often delegates and gives gifts according to THREE criteria: ABILITY

a. Their ability

1) Not all of us are "Donald Trumps" or "Bill Gates"

2) Not all of us are "gifted" with the knowledge and investment savvy that would qualify us to handle the multi-million dollar investments that some are capable of.

3) The Master had a keen sense of the abilities and strengths of his three servants and entrusted them accordingly

b. Their willingness and attitude

¸WILLINGNESS AND ATTITUDE

1) It became quite apparent in the end that one of the servants had a very poor attitude when it came to "serving" his master.

2) 24 "Then the servant with the one bag of gold came and said, 'Sir, I know you are a hard man, harvesting crops you didn't plant and gathering crops you didn't cultivate. 25 I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth and here it is.'

3)  Our FAITH can also play an important role in how God chooses to use us.

¸FAITH

B. God recognizes that not all of us has the same ability so He entrusts each of us according to our unique ability

1. He knows our strengths and weaknesses

2. He knows our hearts and our attitudes

3.  He knows our fears

a. But God gives every one of us an opportunity to succeed and to grow!

b. He doesn't handicap anyone on the basis of ability or experience.

c. He only expects from us the best that we can do for Him!

¸God only expects from us, the best that we can do for Him.

1) The Servant given the 5 bags wasn't loved by God any more than was the one given the single bag.

2) The Servant given the 2 bags wasn't loved any less than the one with 5

3) God doesn't desire to give any of us more than we are capable of handling and He doesn't want to expect less than we are capable of achieving

C. God treats us the same as the Master in the story.

1. Some of us are "5 Baggers"

a.  This servant immediately invested the gold and doubled his allotment.

20 The servant to whom he had entrusted the five bags of gold said, 'Sir, you gave me five bags of gold to invest, and I have doubled the amount.' 21 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!'

b. God knows our potential - and He often challenges us to do more than we have done before.

c. There was a greater expectation placed upon the Servant given the 5 bags, because he was capable of much more.

d. Some of us are capable of far more than we are doing for God.

1) Some have been given more to invest by God than others, not because He loves us more, but because He knows we are capable of more!

¸Luke 12:48 (NIV)48 ...From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.

2) This story really isn't about money at all - it's about everything that God has given us to invest for Him.  Our talents - our time - our experiences - our knowledge and education - our finances.

2. Some of us are "2 Baggers"

a.  This servant also invested and doubled his money

22 "Next came the servant who had received the two bags of gold, with the report, 'Sir, you gave me two bags of gold to invest, and I have doubled the amount.' 23 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!'

b. The Servant given 2 bags was just as valuable in the eyes of his master.

c. He took what was entrusted to him and did his best.  He put it to work for the master and doubled his investment.

d. He didn't get bogged down trying to figure out why he only got 2 bags instead of 5.

e. He was determined to take what he had been given and to do his best to get the best return on his investment that he knew how to.

3. Some of us are "1 Baggers"

a.  This servant dug a hole in the ground and hid the master's money for safekeeping.

24 "Then the servant with the one bag of gold came and said, 'Sir, I know you are a hard man, harvesting crops you didn't plant and gathering crops you didn't cultivate. 25 I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth and here it is.' 26 "But the master replied, 'You wicked and lazy servant! You think I'm a hard man, do you, harvesting crops I didn't plant and gathering crops I didn't cultivate? 27 Well, you should at least have put my money into the bank so I could have some interest. 28 Take the money from this servant and give it to the one with the ten bags of gold.

1) One of the things that limited this servant was fear.

¸FEAR – if allowed to, can cripple our effectiveness for God.

2) He said,  25 I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth and here it is.'

3) He was so afraid of failing that he failed to try!

 

¸b. "The master was furious. `That's a terrible way to live! It's criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least? The least you could have done would have been to invest the sum with the bankers, where at least I would have gotten a little interest."'Take the thousand and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this "play-it-safe" who won't go out on a limb. Throw him out into utter darkness.'

1) The master didn't punish this servant because of what he was incapable of doing - but rather because he didn't do what he was capable of doing.

2) Instead of putting it in the bank and getting the help of those who were able - He chose rather to bury and hide the gift.

3) Some of us are guilty of hiding the gifts that God has given us for fear of failure or because we don't fully appreciate the value of what we have been given.

4) "we don't have a $100 to put in the offering so we don't put in the $2 we can give".

a) The story Jesus told about the Widow who gave out of need tells us that the face value of our gift isn't what determines it's value in the eyes of God!

¸29 To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who are unfaithful, even what little they have will be taken away.
¸ III. Many of us are failing to experience greater blessing from God, simply because we haven't invested what He has already given us!

A. If you're not investing what God has entrusted you with - you are in danger of loosing it all!

1.  Those who are willing to invest - to the best of their ability - will see a return and will ultimately be given even more.

B. God will not handicap you because you are limited in your ability - He only expects what we are capable of producing.

1. However, He will punish us for burying and hiding the gifts and talents and for hording the resources He has entrusted to us.

2. God wants to bless His children - but all too sadly, many are living in poverty simply because they are afraid to give God a chance.

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