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Saturday, August 16, 2008

How Do We Use Our Talents?

Scriptures: Matt 25:14-30

On Sunday, Aug 10th Pastor Lyle Stoll, accompanied by his wife Agatha, came down from Neudorf to give us the message while Pastor Lorne spoke at the The Lone Spur Cowboy Gathering in Melville.

Pastor Lyle asked us to open our Bibles to Matt 25:14-30. This passage is called, ‘The Parable of the Talents’. It’s the story of the 3 servants who are each given some talents by their master. The first 2 men take their talents and multiply them but the third man hides his. When the master returns, he rewards the first 2 men. But when he hears what the 3rd man did, he tells his men to take the talent from him and give it to first man before throwing the ‘worthless servant outside, into the darkness’.

Pastor Lyle says it sounds pretty harsh but the thing he wanted to impart this morning is if we follow the Father’s instructions, it’s not harsh. As long as we keep our eyes focused on Him, it becomes easier.

He said the first thing we have to understand about this parable is, what does Jesus mean when He says, talents? This version of the Bible explains it as money but Pastor Lyle said he’s heard ‘talents’ described as everything from ‘soup to nuts’. He said some people say it’s this and some that. Some say wealth.

Pastor Lyle said the young lady at the piano – that’s a talent – we don’t all have that. (Jessica had led worship.) So God gives us these things. Some say talent is physical abilities. With the Olympics, the best in the world have talents. So, if we look at all these talents, what we have to understand is these talents are given by God. They’re given. Unless we understand God gives us these things, we really can’t grasp what we should be doing with them.

If God gives us these talents, what does God expect us to do with them? If we know the Lord, any Christian should be trying to further God’s kingdom with the talents they’ve been given. He said, ‘Us old guys should know better. By this time, if I haven’t figured out how to use what God’s given us...but when I see young people like the young lady with a beautiful voice, who uses her talent for God...that’s what I’m talking about. Using the talent God’s given us for furthering His kingdom.’

Then he said he thinks of athletes, ‘cause he’s kind of a sports nut, too. And this year in Riderville, its pretty hard not to be, right? Some years ago where he was speaking, we brought Richie Hall to his church to speak to the young people. He said it was neat when Richie spoke to the kids, because he showed them 2 big rings. One had a big C and a bunch on diamonds on it and other was big one, too but it wasn’t a wedding ring because he wasn’t married at the time. And Richie asked the kids which one they thought was the most important to him. The kids said the big grey cup ring with the C and diamonds. But Ritchie said no, that wasn’t the one. He said it was the other one because it was from his peers in the CFL who voted to give it to him because of his service to others. He said that was his most precious ring. To win something is great, but to win others for Jesus is much greater. He said it was like saying not how great I am ‘cause I’m Ritchie Hall, but saying how great God has worked through me to help those around me.

That’s the critical part: How do we use our talents? Therefore if you look further, you can see that talents can mean wealth, a beautiful singing voice, exceptional athletic ability and it may even mean wisdom. But what Pastor Lyle wanted us to realize is that it means many things, not just isolated to bags of gold.

So now, Pastor Lyle said, let us consider the possibility that the Lord has gifted us all with relationships. This many be in the form of families, friends, fellow workers, teammates, or even fellow church members. Relationships. Our kids. You might say, how do you extract talent from relationships?

Pastor Lyle said over the years he’s realized that everything he has including friends, family, workplace acquaintances, church friends...have all been gifts of God. Everybody who’s crossed his path have been gifts. He said his walk and your walk are gifts of God, especially when you know God. It’s when you know God, you recognize that everybody in your life has a purpose. He said we’ve all been thankful for the people in our lives and he’s realized we’ve had a purpose in their life or they’ve had a purpose in our lives. And he challenged us to think about it. Most of the time, it works both ways.

Pastor Lyle said when he thinks about those people who came through our lives – they’re no longer there - but they touched our family and maybe how we were able to touch their lives. And he thinks, yeah, we have a purpose in each other. And so, relationships are things that God gives us. It includes many talents because he thinks everything God gives us is something He wants us to use for Him.

Pastor Lyle said he won’t forget this spring in his Fort Qu’appelle church when they had the Watoto Children’s Choir from Uganda. All the singers are 8-16 yr old orphans who live in orphanages. The children sang and then were billeted with members of the church overnight until noon the next day. Pastor Lyle said the thinking of the church members was that they’d bring the orphans in to entertain them and the church would help the children by giving them money and help them go back to their orphanage to survive whatever kids in orphanages over there need to survive. He said they have ‘Open Mic’ at their church on Sunday morning when anyone can get up and say a Bible verse, give a prayer request, etc.

Pastor Lyle said the morning after those children sang was the most interesting Sunday morning they had in a long time. He said so many broken people got up and spoke of the impact of those children on their lives. The church members thought they had troubles until they heard the plight of the orphans and how they came to be orphans (parents shot, parents died of AIDS, mother sacrificed to witch doctors, etc), but those young children sang their hearts out for Jesus. They had the joy of the Lord like you wouldn’t believe. Had nothing but the joy of the Lord and gave it back to Him, while here we sit in this comfort zone we live in and we’re upset with our situations. He said those young people taught them such a lesson and it was because they had nothing but the Lord to stand on.

Pastor Lyle said he and Agatha have realized that God has brought all these various people into their lives. And sometimes at the end of the day when you understand why He did...when He’s gracious enough sometimes to let you know...and you say oooh, that’s really interesting. And it’s good when He says you’re on the right track when a young girl phones and says, ‘Guess what Mr. Stoll? I’ve accepted Jesus.’ And that was years later. He said he didn’t think she remembered them. But you see what happens, we don’t know how big the footprint we leave behind and how it touches others.

He said, what we do with God’s talents is critical. What we do with any of His gifts is important to understanding what further gifts He may have for us. He’s not finished with any one of us yet. And the more we use his talents and the more we do something with those relationships He’s poured out of us, surprisingly, He pours out more.

Remember what the master gave the first 2 guys in the opening scripture? He said, well done...I’m gonna give you way more. What did he do with the 3rd man? He said, you don’t need this any more...you’re wasting it...I’m gonna give it to someone who’s gonna use it.

Pastor Lyle said God asks us to nurture the things He’s given us...all the relationships He’s given us. He expects us to multiply it. Even if He’s only given you one friend. At the end of the day, if that one friend grows closer to you, in that sense, he grows closer to Christ.

He said, Christ gives according to your abilities and what He thinks we can handle. He expects all of us to use our abilities according to what talents He’s gifted us with. That includes friends and family and church family. God has given all these to help us grow and hopefully for us to help them grow into more Christ-like people. People around us – are they growing?

Pastor Lyle said he heard about a farmer in Tibet who farmed along the Himalayan Mountain track and although this is a secular story, it impacted him because it speaks loudly to everyone. He said every year, the farmer would grow his crop as did other farmers around him. And the buyer would come form the town and offer a price for the crop. If they agreed on a price, the buyer would come with his ox and cart and collect the crop. This went on for 3 decades. One year, the buyer came out and the farmer said no, I have my own ox and cart now and will take my own crop into town. And he did. The next year, the buyer never showed up but now the neighbors had no way to get their crops to town.

Pastor Lyle said if we start breaking chains in lengths that God placed into our lives, we can be horribly destructive to others around us. So when we deal with people, even those who aren’t Christian, we must always remember: Has God brought that person into my life to have me impart something into their life of they into mine? Every talent God places in your life is significant.

Pastor Lyle said, lets take a look at families, which to him and his wife have been their most treasured, earthly gift, and being a gift, there are certain ways we’re expected to treat our families. And being a father – there are certain expectations with that position as well. He said he wasn’t to say how wonderful it is to be a dad or what is expected of a father. But, he was there to talk about being a parent in general because being a parent is the most precious thing God has laid on our lives. Children are the most precious thing God lays on us. He said he couldn’t think of anything more precious.

And then, he said he came across a most interesting word of wisdom about the principle of leased interest. In simple language, the principle boils down to this: In any relationship, whoever loves the most, exercises the least power and however exercises the most power is exercising the least love.

Pastor Lyle said they had a friend working at their place for over a month, helping them build something and then he went back home to the city. And apparently when he went home, he told his wife something because she phoned and said Aggie wears the pants in their family. Pastor Lyle said it really struck him because he hadn’t thought it being a category in their marriage. So, he said they talked about it and decided to phone the kids, since who best would know? They phoned their girl and she said – nobody wears the pants in their family. They phoned their middle child – the artistic one – the one sensitive to feelings – and he thought for a bit and said, I think you’re equal. Then he asked, ‘Don’t you think the best marriages are where no one is the boss, but rather, one person is respectfully given the authority?’ The respect is earned, not taken.

Pastor Lyle said as Christians, we’re not supposed to ask, who will be the master, we’re supposed to know. Instead, our question should be: Who will be the servant? Who will be the example to the children? -To those precious, precious gifts God has given? It should not be by force, but by example. It means we should spare the rod and stand out of love. And those are the times that it’s not fun to be a parent, but it’s expected. Running a household, mother or father, should not be a power trip but a voyage of love for your children. Remember they’re talents God has given you.

This week, think about all those talents, God has placed there in your life. Have you used them? Will He say, well done, my well and faithful servant?

God bless you.

If you would like to speak to Pastor Lyle about this post, please email here and we'll pass your msg on.

If you'd like to know more about the Watoto Children's Choir, click here for their website. Of special note, you might take a look at their Priority needs list, here.

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