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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Monday, July 27, 2015
Today’s scripture reading:
The master divided the money among his servants according to their abilities. No one received more or less than he could handle. If he failed in his assignment, his excuse could not be that he was overwhelmed. Failure would indicate only laziness or hatred toward the master. The bags of gold represent any kind of resource we are given. God gives us time, gifts, and other resources according to our abilities, and he expects us to invest them wisely until he returns. We are responsible to use well what God has given us. The issue is not how much we have but how well we use what we have.
Jesus is coming back–we know this is true. Does this mean we must quit our jobs in order to serve God? No, it means we are to use our time, talents, and treasures diligently in order to serve God completely in whatever we do. For a few people, this may mean changing professions. For most of us, it means doing our daily work out of love for God.
This last man was thinking only of himself. He hoped to play it safe and protect himself from his hard master, but he was judged for this self-centeredness. We must not make excuses to avoid doing what God calls us to do. If God truly is our Master, we must obey willingly. Our time, abilities, and money aren’t ours in the first place–we are caretakers, not owners. When we ignore, squander, or abuse what we are given, we are rebellious and deserve to be punished.
This parable describes the consequences of two attitudes toward Christ’s return. The person who diligently prepares for it by investing his or her time and talents to serve God will be rewarded. The person who has no heart for the work of the Kingdom will be punished. God rewards faithfulness. Those who bear no fruit for God’s Kingdom cannot expect to be treated the same as those who are faithful. (NLT)
Matthew 25:14-29 – [Jesus said] “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. 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. The servant who received the five bags of gold began immediately to invest the money and soon doubled it. The servant with two bags of gold also went right to work and doubled the money. But the servant who received the one bag of gold dug a hole in the ground and hid the master’s money for safekeeping.
“After a long time their masters returned from his trip and called them to give an account of how they had used his money. 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.’ 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!’
“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.’ 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!’
“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. I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth and here it is.’
“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? Well, you should at least have put my money into the bank so I could have some interest. Take the money from this servant and give it to the one with the ten bags of gold. 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.”
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace. — 1 Peter 4:10 (NIV)
Fred Borchelt (Massachusetts) titled his story “A GOOD STEWARD;” here is Fred’s story:
“The adult education class I was leading had just started with an opening prayer. The topic was stewardship and the use of our time, talents, and treasures. I had decided beforehand to give the next person to enter the room a five-dollar bill as a gift. When the door opened and a woman came in, I pulled out the bill and handed it to her. When she asked why, I replied, ‘It is a gift for you. Use it in any way you choose.’ At first she was reluctant to accept it, but as the session continued, she put the bill into per purse.
“Later, she told me that she had used the five dollars as seed money to raise funds for an organization that helps children with special needs. She had approached friends, telling them of the gift she had received, and asked if they would care to add to it. She was able to collect and donate $200.
“Just like the ‘good and faithful servants’ in Jesus’ parable, she multiplied the gift she had been given. Each of us has been blessed with different gifts that God wants us to use. (See 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 [below].) Incredible things will happen when we allow Christ’s love to work through our gifts to serve God and our neighbors.”
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – How can I use my special gifts to further God’s kingdom today?
Prayer: Thank you, God, for your grace and mercy. Help us to be faithful stewards of the gifts that you have entrusted to us. Amen.
Prayer Focus: CHURCH-EDUCATION TEACHERS
To read other stories in The Upper Room, click on the following link: http://devotional.upperroom.org/
For more Helpful Inspirational Material:
SERVICE, SERVING: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/service-serving/
ACCEPT, ACCEPTANCE: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/accept-acceptable-acceptance/
PROMISES, PROMISE: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/promises-promise/
SPIRITUAL GIFTS: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/spiritual-gifts/
ABILITY, ABILITIES: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/ability-abilities/
INVESTMENT, INVESTMENTS: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/investment-investments/
SELF-CENTERED, SELF-CENTEREDNESS: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/self-centered-self-centeredness/
DOUBT, DOUBTS: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/doubt-doubts/
EXCUSES, EXCUSE: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/excuses-excuse/
CONCERN, CONCERNED, CONCERNS: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/concern-concerned-concerns/
All Christians have faith. Some, however, have the spiritual gift of faith, which is an unusual measure of trust in the power of God.
Prophecy is not just a prediction about the future; it can also mean preaching God’s Word with power. . . No mater what gifts a person has, each gift is given by the Holy Spirit. We are responsible to use and sharpen our gifts, but we can take no credit for what God has freely given us. (NLT)
1 Corinthians 12:4-11 – Now there are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but it is the same Holy Spirit who is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service in the church, but it is the same Lord we are serving. There are different ways God works in our lives, but it is the same God who does the work through all of us. A spiritual gift is given to each of us as a means of helping the entire church.
To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice; to another he gives the gift of special knowledge. The Spirit gives special faith to another, and to someone else he gives the power to heal the sick. He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and to another the ability to prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to know whether it is really the Spirit of God or another spirit that is speaking. Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages, and another is given the ability to interpret what is being said. It is the one and only Holy Spirit who distributes these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have.
May you find comfort, encouragement, guidance, hope, inspiration, love, and peace – https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/. May you also find answers to your question(s) through the Scriptures that address every situation you face, and help with your problems: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/topics-a-g/ ; https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/topics-h-n/ ; https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/topics-o-u/; https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/topics-v-z/