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Love & Hugs,

We complete The Last Days Parables with The Talents and the Sheep and Goats. We're confronted with our need to be prepared for His return. 

The Last Days Parables-2

Continued from The Last Days Parables

Fear never produced anything…it never even got out of bed. In another version of this story, Jesus called the third servant wicked and lazy. Wicked, because his actions were motivated by fear of losing the master's money. Lazy because, with minimal effort, he could have put it to use earning interest. People offer many excuses, but fear and laziness are the main suspects in a huge waste of the Lord's resources. I've known countless people who have said the Lord called them to this ministry or that, but were making absolutely no effort to accomplish it. When asked, they would say, "I believe in God to provide the opportunity." Or, "I'm waiting on the Lord to bring it." If David had felt this way about Goliath, Israel wouldn't exist today! David told everyone what he wanted to do, forced an interview with the King, envisioned himself collecting the reward, prepared for battle, and went and found his own rocks. People of faith who know what the master wants don't sit around, they get to work.

For most of my Spiritual life, I locked up my prayer life and limited the gift of faith God gave me out of fear I would embarrass God. My rationale went something like this, 'What if I ask out loud for God to heal someone and He doesn't do it?' You can tell it wasn't God's embarrassment I was really worried about, right? We don't say what He's put on our heart to say. We don't ever write that book He said to write. We don't offer our friendship to people He wants us to love. We don't put our money at risk in His service. All of us have lived there, with the wicked servant who was too fearful to produce for the Master, but we can't stay there. Jesus is telling us to risk what He's given us to make it produce. He's saying the only "what if" we have to fear is, what if He returns and all I've done is protect what He gave me?

3.  The Sheep and the Goats:  Production Priorities: vs 31-46 Well, now we know to be prepared for His surprise return and that preparation means using what He's given us to produce, but…produce what? Jesus tells the story of the sheep and the goats for one purpose, to show us how He will measure production when He returns. Did you feed the hungry, did you welcome the stranger, did you clothe the needy, did you look after the sick, did you visit the prisoner? In other words, do we use the time, talent and treasures God gave us to help those who need help? After 10 years as regular church pastor, I can tell you that less than 2 % of the average church budget is spent to satisfy the needs of anyone outside that church or denomination. You can bet that where the treasure goes, so goes the time and talent. This isn't an attack on the Church. This is about you and me. Those budgets represent the priorities of millions of Christians. That's what we want to get at…what are our priorities, yours and mine? Where do we spend what God has given us? What are we, as individuals, willing to do to bring our priorities in line with those of our Master? There will be a day when you and I must account for what we did with what He gave us.

What will we say? What was our "cause" for Christ? Was our time spent feeding hungry people or on committees to decide what the Christmas décor would be? Did our money provide food and clothes for starving war refugees or build a brick and metal monument to greedy Christians? Did we use our gifts to dazzle each other with our doctrinal debate or to disciple a neighbor who doesn't attend church? Were our talents used to nurture the lost in the love of Jesus Christ or to further a religious political agenda to bind them to our "law"? This is where the rubber meets the road as a servant of Jesus Christ.

Some of you are mad at me right now, but isn't it better that I ask you before the Master returns? We still have time to change. What others do is not our concern…what will you and I do with what he's given us? Let's use it to produce what's important to Him. Then, we won't be embarrassed when he returns. Instead, he will say, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

Dear God fill us with your priorities. Help us to discern the difference between ministry need and want. Help us to consider our wants not at all if there is one more need out there. Lord, motivate us to always prepare and push ourselves to do our best for you. Let us accept nothing less from ourselves than all we can do. Help us to not fear failure, but to dream of success and of one day hearing you say, "Well done good and faithful servant."

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