Between the Words ... Pastor Jim’s Perspectives on the Weekend Behind and the Week Yet to Come (October 7, 2019)

By Jim Garrett

October 7, 2019

Are You Using Your Gifts?

One of the mysteries of God is found in the concept that He chooses us, He qualifies us, and He equips us with wonderful gifts. This week, I want to explore the idea of God giving His people gifts.

Have you ever seen someone that you thought was just immensely talented? Have you ever wished that you were as gifted as someone else? It’s interesting that the Bible speaks very clearly about the giftings God has provided for us. Matthew 25:14-30 speaks about some of those giftings. I am aware in this passage that Matthew is using the word “talent” to refer to a measure of money. The word “talent” is actually a transliteration, meaning that it is almost an identical “letter-for-letter” rendering of the original Greek. It fascinates me that this word for a measure of money links so closely with our word for natural gifting. Hmmm!

Here is a condensed paraphrase of the story:

It’s like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and left some money with them. To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received the five talents immediately put his money to work and gained five more talents. So did the one with the two talents; he gained two more. But the man who had only the one talent went off, and buried his master's money in the ground.

After a long time their master returned to settle accounts with them.

The man who received five talents brought the other five. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.' His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'

The man with the two talents also came. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with two talents. See! I have gained two more.'

His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'

Then the man who had received the one talent came. 'Master,' he said, 'I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.'

His master replied, 'You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. ‘Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. For everyone who has will be given more and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

I think that all of us are found in this story; we each have various degrees of gifting. That’s a Biblical point, because 1st Corinthians tells us that God “divides to every man severally as he will.” We also can see that God is not ashamed or embarrassed with the gifts which He gives because He “never changes his mind about the people he calls and the things he gives them” (Romans 11:29, NCV).

In fact, we are each granted a special purpose in this life. God says that His purpose for you is already formed in His will. “Before I formed thee in the belly, I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations” (Jeremiah 1:4-5 NKJV). You might be amazed to know that His purpose in you is probably much more than you can imagine. Remember that God told Queen Esther (through Uncle Mordechai): “and who knows whether you have been appointed to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14 KJV). You see, just like as mentioned in Esther, our gifts are given to us to accomplish a special purpose for God in this life. And He expects us to use those gifts to accomplish His purpose.

As those gifts are faithfully used, other gifts will be multiplied unto us. Notice that to the man with five talents, his gift was doubled. Also notice that to the man with two talents, his gift was also doubled.

The story is told of a gardener of a castle in Scotland who had a son. This son dreamed of becoming a medical doctor. One day, the son of a visiting dignitary was swimming in the castle’s pool. Hit suddenly with severe cramping, the dignitary’s boy began to struggle to stay afloat. The gardener’s son dove into the water and rescued the boy from drowning. The boy’s father was so overjoyed that he insisted on repaying the gardener’s son in some way. The gardener told him of his son’s dream of going to medical school, which the dignitary volunteered to finance – but that’s not the end of the story. The boy who nearly drowned was Winston Churchill. While he was Prime Minister of England, he became deathly ill. Only a recently-discovered drug could save his life. This miraculous new medicine was called penicillin, and the man who discovered it was Dr. Alexander Fleming, the gardener’s son. Churchill responded to the drug and soon recovered completely.

As wonderful as that story is, we also need to understand that in cases where those gifts are not used, they will grow stagnant. In our passage, notice that to the man with one talent who didn’t invest it, it stagnated and even was taken away from him.

What I want you to receive is this: God has gifted each of you. You may have spent several years of your life developing those gifts, talents, knowledges, etc. and acquiring wisdom. Understand that those giftings and callings, and even many of your desires, were placed there by God Himself with a purpose. Have you ever considered that you were created and purposed “for such a time as this” — just like Queen Esther?

Finally, Thomas Edison was in a race with many other inventors to discover an efficient filament for the light bulb. He tried more than 1,000 different substances-everything from horse hair to bamboo strips. When asked by a reporter if he were discouraged by so many failed attempts, he responded, “No. Each failure represents one less filament I must try and brings me closer to my goal.” Edison kept on and received the patent for the electric light bulb, an invention that revolutionized the world.

Final Thought: Think great thoughts, attempt great goals, accomplish great things – and give the glory to God.

On another note:

I just had my first cataract surgery last week. Overall, it was a breeze BUT, there is a recovery time – not from pain but more, from relearning to focus. It makes reading very difficult for the moment. Also, I didn’t recover well from the anesthesia; I felt like I was in a deep well for the remainder of the week. I was a bit paranoid and depressed. I really have no idea WHY individuals enjoy doing drugs; I enjoy my semblance of sanity too much.

Until next time –

Dr. James Garrett

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