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 Vol. 7, No. 11 

November 2005

Priscilla's Page *Editor's Note*

~ Page 16 ~

Finding My Place of
Service in the Church

By Marilyn LaStrapeImage

In the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30, Jesus makes it very clear that God did not create any "no talented" people! To understand the impact of the parable of the talents, we need to see God as our Master and we are slaves who belong to him! "Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's" (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Since God is our Creator and we belong to him, he has the absolute right to have expectations of us!

In the parable, the master gave to "each according to his own ability." Each slave was given exactly what he could handle. To give five talents to the one-talented man would have been overwhelming, and to give one talent to the five-talented man would have been no challenge to him whatsoever. What is the lesson Jesus is teaching? We will either use the talents/abilities God has given us or they will be lost and/or forgotten--use or lose--that is the message!

What was the problem with the one-talented man since he didn't squander, waste or embezzle the talent that had been entrusted to him? His sin was his failure to use what he had been given! Why didn't he use what had been given to him? First, he states his excuses for doing nothing. Second, he attacks his master's character. When we do not want to do what God has commanded, we begin to make excuses for ourselves and question his character. God becomes an unreasonable rule-maker demanding all kinds of things from us rather than a loving Father who wants only the best for us at all times.

Finally, the one-talented man states his reason for his inactivity: "I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look there you have what is yours" (Matthew 25:24-25). We can never be afraid to do the right thing! Jesus names the fearful first on the list of those who will have their part in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone (Revelation 21:8). This man blamed everybody but himself for his uselessness!

We learn early in life to blame others for our failures. Some of us blame parents, siblings, friends, co-workers, neighbors, society and members of the church. Some of us even have the audacity to try and blame God! God's response to our excuse making is always anger! Notice what Jesus says, "You wicked and lazy servant...take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents" (Matthew 25:26-28).

If we do not use our natural abilities, we will lose them! If we do not use our learned skills, we will forget them! This applies in every area of our lives. There are those of us who have the natural ability to sew without using a pattern; cook without using a recipe; draw from looking at a picture; repair vehicles and build houses without formal education; etc. There are professional skills we have learned from attending vocational schools, technical schools, colleges and universities. However, these natural abilities and learned skills will be lost if we do not utilize them! We also need to understand we are to use these abilities and skills now!

When we read 1 Corinthians chapter 12, we are struck with the differences in talents that each of us has been given and those very differences are what make the body function as it should! As Paul points out these differences that are true in the physical body, they are also true in the spiritual body--the church! We need to remember we are going to be judged as individuals of the talents God has given us--not as a congregation!

What is our place of service in the church? These suggestions will be helpful:

We want to be able to say with our brother the apostle Paul, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing" (2 Timothy 4:7-8).Image

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