by Jeffrey W. Hamilton
Text: Matthew 25:14-30
I. Consider Psalm 24:1-2
A. What does it mean that everything belongs to God?
1. God made it, so therefore He has the right of ownership - Deuteronomy 10:14
2. Even we belong to God - Ezekiel 18:4
3. God doesn’t owe anyone because He pre-existed all things - Job 41:11
B. Recall that we come with nothing and leave with nothing - Ecclesiastes 5:15
1. God owns everything. We own nothing.
C. Everything, then, that we have in this life is simply loaned to us temporarily
1. Here is an attitude adjustment for a good number of people in this world!
II. God has given you a portion of His things to manage for a while - Luke 12:42-48
A. Your life
1. Each person is given different abilities - I Peter 4:10
2. Each person has specialities - Romans 12:4-8
B. Your wealth
1. God gave man dominion over His creation - Genesis 1:28
2. Often we think that success comes from our hard effort. But the reality is quite different - Deuteronomy 8:17-18
a. There are many factors that go into success.
b. Most are beyond our control - our health, our opportunities.
c. God gives us the ability to work - Ecclesiastes 5:18-20
3. I Chronicles 29:11-15 - Even the things we offer to God are really giving Him back His own things.
III. God expects you to use the things He has given you for His service - Ecclesiastes 12:13-14
A. With the gift comes the responsibility
1. Imagine owning a store and you hire a manager to run your business
2. You go on a vacation, what do you expect to find when you return?
3. That manager is a steward.
a. He doesn’t own the store.
b. What he does benefits the owner, and the owner rightly expects to be benefitted in exchange for giving the manager a salary.
c. Stewards must be found faithful - I Corinthians 4:1-2
4. God gave you your life, He gives you the ability to work, He gives you talents. What does He want in return? - John 15:8
a. What happens if we aren’t productive - Luke 3:9
b. Parable of the fruit tree - Luke 13:6-9
B. We will give an account to God of what we have done with His property - Romans 14:11-12
1. We don’t get to just trumpet the good that we have done.
2. No, this is a complete accounting - II Corinthians 5:10
C. I can understand the spiritual significance of our talents, but what about the physical blessings?
1. We labor to help our fellow men - Ephesians 4:28
2. God expects the rich to be generous - I Timothy 6:17-19
D. But think about it in another sense. When someone is hired by a firm – brand new kid, fresh out of college – do they make him president of the company?
1. Only in our dreams. No, we understand that new employees must prove themselves. So they start out at a low position and are expected to work their way upward.
2. Keep that in mind and read this parable with me - Matthew 25:14-30
a. The kingdom, the church, is like a business where the owner is absent for a while.
b. A servant, a steward, who proves himself worthy is moved up.
c. An unproductive servant is fired.
3. All of our life is a training ground. As we serve God with His goods, we are moved to greater challenges.
a. Those in denominations say it is more money, but they missed the point.
(1) Job was a wealthy man. What challenge did he face?
(2) Now in the end, when Job overcame the challenge, God richly blessed him.
b. Every move up may not seem that way at the moment.
c. But God refines us to make us better tools for His service.
E. Would you like one day to be an elder in the church?
1. Would you want an elder who was in over his head in debt? Why?
2. Would you want a wealthy man who made his money through shady dealings?
3. What about a man who hoards wealth?
4. It is not the amount of money, but how well it was handled and how it was used that tells us about the man’s character.
5. Be faithful in small things and you will be put in charge of greater things - Luke 16:10-12
F. The prayer of Jabez has become popular - I Chronicles 4:10
1. Do you think God would have granted that request if Jabez used his wealth for sinful purposes? What if he just was careless, so he didn’t have much to use for God’s purpose?
2. Too many want blessings without responsibility or accountability.
IV. What we do with God’s property reflects on God’s reputation
A. Other people see how you behave - I Thessalonians 4:11-12
B. Philippians 2:14-16 - You are lights in a dark world
C. Our conduct is to be honorable - I Peter 2:12
D. Note the command to young men - Titus 2:6-10
V. What are you doing with God’s possessions?
A. Matthew 6:19-20 - Do you treasure God?
B. Or are you going to be like the foolish rich man - Luke 12:13-21