- Parable of Investment Follow Up
- Romans 12:1 and 1 Peter 4:10
- Lyndol Loyd September 25, 2016
Note: A 14 minute video was shown regarding the investment challenge update.
If that doesn’t bring to life the Parable of Investment that Jesus taught in Matthew 25:14-30, I don’t know what does. Rather than just reading about how God’s desire is that each of us would make the most out of what he has invested in us these folks were presented with a challenge to live it out for forty days. And as you just saw, the results were amazing.
Many of you did likewise by joining in on the challenge. As a matter of fact, we had so many people take on the investment challenge that it would be impossible for us to tell all of the stories related to this experience.
If you’ll notice we didn’t tell you a whole lot about the various projects these people undertook. Although, as you saw without exception they, each had incredible amounts of return collectively. It was over 100 times the original investment made in them as a group.
As amazing as the projects they selected are, the projects are not the most important part of the story. As awesome as the amount of money raised is, that isn’t the most important part of the story either. What they learned in the process is what I hope you will take away from their experiences.
If I had to select a scripture passage to sum up their learnings, I think I would go with Romans 12:1 “And so dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice – the kind he will accept. When you think of what he has done for you, is this too much to ask?”
I think it is fair to say that they learned what it is to approach faith in Christ as being a living sacrifice.
We have to understand that God hasn’t called us to be merely weekend worshipers who show up for a worship service, slide in, take a seat and slide back out at the end of the worship service. Nor has he called us to participate in a forty day challenge and then go back to life as it was before.
Rather God has called each one of us to live a life of worship. We aren’t supposed to give God a few hours during the week and check him off and move on to the next thing on our list. Our worship is to be for a lifetime.
Stewardship is required for a lifetime. God hasn’t asked us to be token givers. The parable of investment makes it clear that God expects us to be faithful managers of all that He has invested within each one of us.
Do you see a theme developing here? We follow God for a lifetime, not part-time.
It’s the same with our service. We aren’t supposed to “take our turn” and move on. Serving God was never meant to be a three-year-cycle and then you rotate off for a couple of years. We are to serve for a lifetime.
I worked in churches where it was common to hear comments like, “I’ve had my turn. I taught when my kids were little. Someone else can do it now.” For those of you who are under the illusion that God has a retirement plan, allow me to be the one to burst your bubble.
Some of you don’t believe that God has gifted you, but let me tell you that he has. Scripture clearly tells us that once we begin to live in relationship with Jesus Christ by asking him to be the forgiver of our sin and leader of our lives, we receive gifts of the Spirit for the building up of God’s church.
1 Peter 4:10 says this, “God has given gifts to each of you from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Mange them well so that God’s generosity can flow through you.”
God wants you to think about who He uniquely created you to be and use that for his glory. He wants us to think through our gifts, talents and abilities. He wants us to assess our passions, personality and past experiences and think about how we can draw upon those as we serve him. God has wired each one of us in a unique manner so that we might work to accomplish his purposes in this world.
I’ll never forget the time when I learned what it meant to be a servant leader. I was a college student at Texas Tech University. I was asked to serve on the student leadership team of the Wesley Foundation Campus Ministry.
I just knew that being on leadership team was going to be a blast. After all, these were the people who did things: planning the dances, volleyball tournaments and retreats. How much fun would all of that be?
I showed up for our back-to-school retreat ready to head off to the retreat center when our director made an announcement to the group. “Before we leave, there are a few things that need to be done around our building. I’ve got a list of tasks in this hat. You need to draw one out and take care of it for us before we leave on the retreat.”
Other people drew out things like dust the front room or mop the kitchen floor. I was so blessed that I received potty patrol duty. You guessed it. I got to clean the toilets.
I remember cleaning the urinal in the men’s restroom and thinking, “Why don’t they pay someone to do this? I’m not here to be doing this sort of thing.”
I’m embarrassed to tell you that story now because I had been a Christian most of my life. I had grown up in the church. I knew all the words to “Jesus Loves Me”, John 3:16 and the 23rd Psalm, but I didn’t understand that Christ was calling me to lifestyle of stewardship and service.
I guess you could say that I didn’t understand much about who God created you and me to be. Hear these words of encouragement this morning from Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do good things he planned for us long ago.”
You and I are God’s masterpieces. Did you catch that? It didn’t say, “We were” or “Maybe we could become.” Scripture gives testimony to the fact that God is active and at work within each one of us who seek to follow him.
Wherever we go or whatever we do, God is continuing to work out his purposes in us. No matter if it is scrubbing the toilets at the church or using our giftedness to teach, lead or disciple someone.
We’ve been created to do good things. We have a purpose. God has an agenda for our lives. His purposes for us are not an afterthought. They have been since the foundation of time. The question is will we do what God calls us to do with our lives, with our money, with our time, with our resources…
Years ago when I was a high school and college student, I used to spend summers working as a lifeguard at my hometown swimming pool. You see all kinds of things when you lifeguard, but inevitably, each summer there would always be at least one kid who would show up at the pool with floaties, goggles, and flippers. These kids were decked out in all of the latest gadgets one might need to enjoy the pool.
However, rather than finding them swimming around enjoying the water, they were seated safely on the edge looking out at the water, dreaming about what it might be like, seeing everyone else have fun, but too scared to let go of the edge and go out into the deep.
My observation over the years is that too many people do the same thing when it comes to church and living out their faith. We wonder what it might be like to go deeper with God. We dream about what we might do someday if we had more time or greater resources, but we are too scared to venture out so live life content to sit in a pew.
If I could challenge you to do something today, it would be to take off the floaties and to jump in the deep end of the pool with God. I would challenge to you to think seriously about what God has invested in you and realize that it is all his anyway. I would encourage you to use it all in a lifetime of service to Christ.
Reality is that no one here needs for me to give them any money. God the Father, our master, has already invested within us everything we need in order to serve and make a difference in our world.