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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Thursday, January 7, 2016
Today’s scripture reading:
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 his 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. (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 master 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 gather 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.”
I can do all things through [Christ] who strengthens me. – Philippians 4:13 (NRSV)
Silvia Lokajaya (Jakarta, Indonesia) titled her story “PLAYING FOR GOD;” here is a portion of Silvia’s story:
“When I was in Australia completing my bachelor’s degree, I attended a small church that did not have enough pianists. I felt God calling me to play the piano for this church. But I hesitated, wondering, Am I skilled enough to play for God at this church? I had never had any serious piano lessons or any other training for this role. As a result, I felt anxious and worried.
“Just as I was about to turn away from God’s nudging, I heard one of the preachers quote in his sermon the above verse from Philippians. He encouraged us to act on our callings and to persevere at developing the talents God has given us. No matter how small our talent, if we have faith and are willing to work hard and keep using our talent, God will use it for the kingdom. . . .”
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – God is able to grow even my smallest seed of talent into something glorious.
Prayer: Merciful Father, thank you for your love and the opportunity to serve you. Help us to use our talents for your glory. Amen.
To read the rest of the story in The Upper Room, click on the following link: http://devotional.upperroom.org/
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