God Uses People
Before we get to the one thing, I just want to establish that God uses people. He always has in the past and He still does today. God uses people to reveal Himself to the world. There are exceptions, like the time he led the Israelites with the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night (3,500 years or so ago). But it’s people He uses, most of the time, to reveal Himself to the world. Even a casual reading of just a few chapters of scripture affirms this.
Are You A Christian?
Are you a Christian?
If you are, then God wants to use you. He wants to use you to reveal Himself to the world, and He wants you to do one thing in particular. And here’s the one thing: He wants you to love other Christians.
And here’s how we know that to be true: Just before Jesus was about to be taken away and executed by the government, he gave us what he called “a new commandment.” He commanded us to love one another. And then he said plainly,
“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
By this all people will know you are Jesus’ disciple, by your love for other disciples of Christ, by your love for other Christians. This is how God wants people to recognize us as Christians. This is how God wants to attract people to Christ. Love that’s noticeable to people. By this we will be known.
Or will we?
What are we known for?
What are you known for?
What am I known for?
As I write this I have to ask myself, “What have I done to love another Christian recently?”
Doing Something Different
I want to confess something to you. I fear I’m the man who buried his talent.
In Matthew 25 Jesus tells the parable about the master who gave his servants talents. To one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one. He left on a journey and when he returned, two of the servants were rewarded for investing their talents. One servant was too afraid to take the initiative, to venture out, and to invest his one talent–so he buried it. (Matthew 25:14-30)
What I’ve never heard anyone talk about is that it took courage for those other two servants to invest those talents. There was real risk involved. What if when the master returned, they were broke?
The one who buried his talent was afraid. He was afraid the investment would fail. He was afraid to take a loss. So he took what was given to him by his Master, and he buried it. Like that man, I’m afraid. I’m afraid to love other Christians. I’m afraid I’ll make a mistake. I’m afraid of rejection. I’m afraid I’ll look foolish. I’m afraid of the costs associated with loving. Loving costs time and energy. Loving others can cost money.
But even though there was risk involved for the other two servants, the ones who invested their talents. Even though it was possible their investments could have failed: they invested anyway.
If we don’t want to be like the man who buried his talent, we have to do better. And doing better means doing differently. You and I, we need to invest our love, in spite of the risks. We need to love other people, and other Christians in particular, or we’ll be just like that man who buried his talent.
God said to the two who invested in spite of the risks, “Well done good and faithful servant.” But He said something different to the one who didn’t invest because he was afraid. He called him, “wicked” and “slothful.”
For me at least, I so want to hear those words from the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, “Well done good and faithful servant.”
For me at least, it’s time for change.
I hope you’ll join me.
Pray with me: “Father, Jesus said it plainly, that we’ll be known for our love for one another. Please give us Your Holy Spirit in abundant measure to change us. Make us a people who love each other in such a way that we’re known as Jesus’ disciples because of it. In Jesus name, amen.”
The Parable of the Talents
“For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’”
–Jesus Christ, Matthew 25:14-30
Francis and Lisa Chan, You and Me Forever, Claire Love Publishing, 2014
Image via wilB – Creative Commons