Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Start Digging!

* I was inspired to write this from the title of a sermon, of which I could only hear a minute of two of, “The Resurrection of the Hidden Talent”, by Pastor Carter Conlon of Times Square Church in New York City.

"But he who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money…And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, 'Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed. 'And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.'” Matthew 25:18; 24-25

I have heard a good number of sermons based on this passage of scripture, or the similar passage in Luke’s Gospel, known as the “Parable of the Minas”. Every message focused on those who were faithful and fruitful in what was entrusted to them by their master. That’s a message that needs to be preached today. After all, there a good many Christians that are doing what God has called them to do, and in the face of adversity and trying times, could use the encouragement. But that’s not what I’m going to talk about today. I want to address that last type of servant in the passage, the fearful one who hid his master’s money.

It’s interesting that money was called a “talent” back then. I’ve actually heard that it is the source of our current word use of the word concerning the gifts that God has given us, like musical ability, or artistic ability. The important thing to realize, however, is that the money given to these servants in the story told by Jesus is that it was not theirs. They were basically given it to manage on their boss’ behalf. It’s the same with our talents and gifts today. I believe that we will be held accountable to God for how we used what he has entrusted to us, just as this parable tells us.

The first two servants are a great example of people who step out and use their talent to honor the Lord. They show us a picture of fruitfulness and faithfulness. When these servants set out to bring their master the biggest gain they could, they did it at some risk. Surely they were somewhat fearful. Who knows what the stock market was like back then? Did they find a good investment in Saul’s Tents Company? Did they make a killing in Zechariah’s Sheep Farm? Obviously, I’m using a little imagination here, but the point still stands that there was risk involved in what these men did. Yet, they trudged on and made their boss an even wealthier man.

Yet the third servant is a picture of the person who is so fearful to use the talent entrusted to him, that he buries it out of sight and pretends he never saw it. He too had to give an account for what he did. It is a most fearful pronunciation of judgment, too.

Though we may deal with fear, friends, we need to press on by the power of the Holy Spirit and put that talent to good use. Someone reading may be a gifted singer, called to sing with all their heart for the Heavenly Master. Don’t let fear keep you from doing the work you’ve been called to. Start digging, and use that talent! Maybe someone has a definite call to ministry in an area you feel totally inadequate in. Perhaps you feel that God has called you to preach, but you can’t stand before a class to give a book report. God didn’t make a mistake when he called you to that. It’s a talent that he entrusted to you. Start digging! Maybe you feel that you have a mission to start up a new church. That’s a noble call indeed, but an incredibly hard one. Some have said that God only uses someone with a magnetic, dynamic personality to do such a work, yet you’re as shy as they come. If God called you, then don’t be put off by naysayers! God still calls the weak to put to shame the strong, and he still calls the foolish to put to shame the wise. Step out and put that talent to work. Start digging!

I’m reminded of Timothy, the young protégé of the Apostle Paul. This was a man who seemed from what Paul told him to be somewhat shy and timid. Yet he was called by God to be a bold witness and mighty preacher of the Gospel. We read in 2 Tim. 1:5-7,

“For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that {it is} in you as well. For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline”

For whatever reason, this young man had a fear come over him, and he was intimidated. Yet, Paul, his spiritual father, reminded him that the Spirit within him was one of boldness, of power. It was a Spirit of love and discipline and self-control. In other words, Paul was telling him that even in the face of fear, the power of the Spirit of God inside him was there to help him rise above it. Paul, in a sense, was telling him to start digging! He needed to fan into flame that gift.

For a long time, I repressed a talent that God gave me. It is writing. I know I have a lot to learn, and with time and “putting it into practice”, I will get better. But I realized that it was a talent that I had long ago buried. So, at least in the articles I write and the blog I write, I have dug up that talent, and I am using it for Christ, my Heavenly Master!

Friends, it isn’t too late for you. You see, the Master hasn’t yet returned, though his coming is soon approaching. In fact, that is a running theme of Matthew 25- the sudden return of Christ, at an hour that we just don’t know. We must be ready. Makes sure you have enough oil in your lamp, and make sure you don’t keep your talent hidden in the dirt, but use it to God’s glory.

May God bless you today!

1 comment:

Henry Haney said...

Good post and you're right Preacher Man! It's time to use whatever the Lord has given us for His glory. We may not know "the day or the hour" but we know that in any event the time is short (life is just a vapor anyways). May the Lord help me to use everything I've got for His glory!

Thanks for reminding us!