Just for clarity’s sake…, I’m not talking about how you like your steak, or how you like your eggs cooked…
One guy was furious when his steak was cooked too rare. He said, 'Waiter, I told you "well done"… Oh yes, I can't thank you enough, sir,' replied the waiter. 'I hardly ever expect a compliment when I’m still serving a customer.'
But today, I want to deal with the fact that who and what you are, is God’s gift to you, and what you do with it is your gift back to God. And should we get that right, there is a “Well Done” from the Father…. And it all starts when we receive Christ as our savior!
In the parable which Jesus shared about the talents… the bottom line is not how much you have received, but what you have done with what you received, that is the real issue.
Some questions that many have struggled with, can be asked here…. Does success look the same for everyone? Should lazy people receive the same pay as the hard worker? Should a person with more talent have greater success than a person with less talent? Do those who produce more deserve more? Should everyone share equally in everything as the socialist advocate? Should our differences place us above or below one another?
In our scripture today, Jesus has left Tyre and Sidon and is headed back to Galilee. It is a journey that could have taken as much as eight months on foot through very mountainous territory. But, Jesus and His men do not go straight back to Jewish country, they went to “Decapolis”. This is where he cast the demons out of the man of Gadara and the people rejected him. But listen, He went back to give them a second chance. He is the giver of second chances. He keeps on loving; He keeps wooing; He keeps drawing; He keeps calling. He won’t write anyone off as long as there’s a chance!
(He shares this parable)
Matthew 25:19“Now after a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. v20 And the one who had received the five talents came and brought him five more, saying, ‘Master, you entrusted to me five talents. See, I have [made a profit and] gained five more talents.’ v21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful and trustworthy over a little, I will put you in charge of many things; share in the joy of your master.’
v22“Also the one who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have [made a profit and] gained two more talents.’ v23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful and trustworthy over a little, I will put you in charge of many things; share in the joy of your master.’ v24 “The one who had received one talent also came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a harsh and demanding man, reaping [the harvest] where you did not sow and gathering where you did not scatter seed.
v25 ‘So I was afraid [to lose the talent], and I went and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is your own.’ v26 “But his master answered him, ‘You wicked, lazy servant, you knew that I reap [the harvest] where I did not sow and gather where I did not scatter seed. v27 ‘Then you ought to have put my money with the bankers, and at my return I would have received my money back with interest. v28 ‘So take the talent away from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’
In the parable which Jesus told of the talents, the master didn’t divide the funds evenly between the three servants. He gave five talents (about $150,000) to one, he gave two talents (about $60,000) to a second one, and about half of that to the third. It says that he had a reason for the way he parceled out the money. He gave to every man according to his individual ability. The more trustworthy the men had proven themselves to be, the more they were entrusted with.
Each of those in the parable, had a job to do. The key to the parable is not how much return each of them had on their investment, so don’t miss the point. The key is the attitude of faith or doubt which they approached their task with. The rewards were based, not on the return they gave on the money they had, but on the level of faith and obedience they exhibited as they invested and used the gifts they were given to do something with.
Remember also that the money was not theirs, it was the master’s, which he gave them to invest…He was returning to see what they had done with what was his….
Sheriff Joe Arpaio says, “Those who would like to be in a place where everybody is equal, and has guaranteed employment, free comprehensive healthcare, free education, free food, free housing, free clothing, free utilities, and the only ones that have guns are law enforcement … Well we have that for you, It'scalled Prison. "
In the last chapter of the last book of the Bible, Revelation 22:12 Jesus said, “I am coming quickly and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done” Let this truth motivate you to live each day for Jesus Christ. Trust me, you won’t be sorry!
Somewhere in the process, have we begun to think that what we have is ours, or have we remembered, that we are stewards who are called to invest it for our Lord?
The two who invested their gifts were told the same thing, even though the results were different. They were given a congratulation and a commendation…. “Well done, thou good and faithful servant, you have been faithful over a few things. I will make you ruler over many things”.
We are not created equal. Some folks are more appealing, more charismatic in their personalities, some are more talented in their abilities than others. God knows that. He made us. He is not comparing us with one another, He is commending us based on what we do with what we have. So important was it that we get that truth, that He said to us, “To whom much is given, much will be required”. What we do is important, but it is secondary to our Christian character!
Paul warns the church not to compare themselves with others…. 2 Corinthians 10:12 “For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise”.
Also consider 1 Corinthians 3:6 “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. v7 So then neither is he that plants anything, neither he that waters but God that gives the increase. v8 The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. v9 For we are God’s fellow-workers.”
Time magazine decided that once a year they would give us the "Man of the Year" the person who, for better or worse, had the most influence on the course of history over that particular year. From their "Man of the Year" lists they have put together a book titled “Great People of the 20th Century”. These are people who because of what they have done or accomplished are considered great in their area of influence around the world.
The book lists the following outstanding people who have each contributed in a significant way to their individual field of endeavor…
Computers - Bill Gates
Generals - Douglas Mac Arthur
Inventors - Henry Ford
Entertainment - Walt Disney
Scientist - Albert Einstein
President - Franklin Roosevelt
Preacher - Billy Graham
Writer - Leo Tolstoy
Jesus recognized spiritual greatness in people. His list would have included..
The woman with the issue of blood, in Luke 8:43, who pushed through the crowd and touched the hem of His garment. She stopped Him in His tracks, as by faith she pulled the virtue out of him…. (Well done)
He would have been included, the Roman centurion in Matthew 8, who believed Jesus had the authority to heal his son just by speaking a wordand it would be done. Jesus was amazed at his faith and commended him for it. (Well done)
Another person who Jesus praised for his spiritual greatness was
John the Baptist because of his character which was revealed in how he lived and his ministry which placed the kingdom above his comfort or popularity. (Well done)
He would have honored the widow woman who only had a little oil and a little meal, but gave them to the prophet at the word of the Lord. (Well done)
He would have honored Stephen who saw the Lord as he was being stoned by Paul… and refused to back down….(Well done)
I believe Paul would have been on the list because He forsook all to follow the Lord…(well done)
John the beloved would be there, who boldly took a stand at the foot of the cross, and who Jesus committed the care of his mother, that is no small honor…(well done) Others are listed in Hebrews 11, as God gives tribute to the faithful… Your opportunities are unlimited. They are as far-reaching as the power of the Spirit who lives in you. Your success in the kingdom will not be measured by someone else, but by how you too, use what you have been given by the Lord.
When Paul describes the 5 fold gifts to the church, he didn’t place them all in one person, but each gift was placed in the church for the benefit of all of us….I am here for you and you are here for me, and all of us together use our gift in building the kingdom….
Ephesians 4:11 “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers. v12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. v13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ”.
A school teacher was taking her first golf lesson. She got to the green and was given instructions about putting. She asked her instructor if it was spelled “PUT”… He said “well, let me put it this way… “PUT”, means to place something where you want it. “PUTT”, is a useless attempt to do the same thing” !!
Well, we are not putting, we are going to put all the honor on Him, all the glory and all the credit! It’s all His, so we ask that He would guide us a direct us in using what He has given!
How many times are we tempted to gauge our spirituality by what others think of us, rather than by what God thinks of us. God looks on the heart. The praise of people can be deceitful and lead you down a path where God stops getting all the glory and the honor. Every time someone applauds your work in the kingdom or your abilities in the church, be sure that you offer the compliment to Him, and give all the credit to Him. Dr. Choe who pastors a 100,000 member church in Korea says that people actually throng to touch him, but it’s up to him to quickly pass the glory and the credit to the Lord.
If you are one who has a great deal of time, but you don’t have time to pour your life into others or into Gods work, you need to be a faithful servant. If you have been gifted with prosperity, but you are slow to invest it in eternal things, you need to be a faithful servant. If you are hesitant to do anything that will make you take a risk and become vulnerable, even though God has called you to do it, you need to be a faithful servant. If you have time to use them for your own desires or your business or your hobby, but cannot find the time or take the risk to use them for the kingdom, then you need to be a faithful servant..
We long to hear, “Well done,” because that means we have brought joy to His heart. And one thing that thrills Him, I am convinced, is when the character qualities only He can produce in us: love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control, are so manifested in us that they are reproduced in those we invest our lives into. What joy that brings to His heart. And oh the joy thatcomes back into ours.
As parents, or siblings, or coworkers, we usually underestimate the power of a timely “Well done”….We all want significance and we want to be relevant. There are plenty of things to knock us down and wear us out, and a timely “well done” can go a long way to lift the spirits and validate a person’s efforts…. Students and teammates love to hear it, Golfers love to hear, "Well done" when they sink a putt. Baggers in the grocery store love to hear it from the customers. Husbands love to hear it from their wives and wives long to hear it from their husbands. Executives love to hear from employees. Preachers love to hear it after a sermon. Doctors love to hear it from their patients, and patients love to hear it from their doctors. Writers love to hear it from readers, and on and on….
Listen to this encouragement from the apostle Paul in Galatians 6:7 “Do not be deceived: God will not be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. v8 The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction. The one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap the harvest if we do not faint and quit”..
For those Christians who have served Him week in, week out, for many years, obediently, sacrificially, but have seen so little results.. this is your message… “Well done, good and faithful servant! Come and share your master’s joy” We don’t give up, because there are rewards waiting in this life and the life to come! The unfaithful servant got so focused on the risks, that he lost his reward….
Being faithful may mean that we will do things and go places we never dreamed we would ever do or go to … But God always has rewards for the faithful…. Look at his list…
“Blessed are those with a servant heart, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who are contrite, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the gentle, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God”.
Notice that as Jesus shares the parable of the talents, when he gets to the servant who did nothing with his talents, he tells us of the servant’s response…. “I was afraid and went and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you”.
In the parable, Jesus describes a bighearted master, who entrusts all that he has into the hands of his servants. The amounts Jesus mentions stagger the imagination! By conservative estimates, just one talent in His time was worth twenty years of daily labor. Yet the unprofitable servant imagined a different sort of master—one whom he describes as a ―hard man, harvesting where [he] had not sown and gathering where [he] had not scattered seed. Because of His misconception of the master, he allowed his fears to override his trust.
We were on a trip through Alabama and I was having a hard time finding an attraction we wanted to see, so I turned on the GPS and it told me to take a turn which seemed to go in the opposite direction from where we wanted to go. I took the turn anyway and it took me right there. I had to trust that someone had gone before me and mapped out the area. How many times have we felt God was allowing us to go in the opposite direction from where we needed to go, but He had gone before us and prepared the way. We just needed to trust Him!
What are the fears in your life that are overriding your trust in the Master? What are the fears that are holding you back from using your gifts? What fears are keeping you back and holding you hostage, but deep inside you so want to hear His “Well done, good and faithful servant”?
That’s why the bible tells us to “cast down every vain imagination and all knowledge that exalts itself against the knowledge of God”….
A revolutionary Christian chooses to believe in spite of what they see or feel– They are obedient In heart – They are Christ like In character - In relationship they are sons -- In conflict they are warriors - In the world they are pilgrims - In the darkness they are light – In society they are salt - In example they are living epistles - In expectations they are heirs - At all times they are sold out for Christ.
Someone said that there are three kinds of people in the church.. Booers, gawkers and doers. Your life will always be a sufficient explanation of what you believe…. No other explanation is needed. Be the person who breaks the cycle. If you were judged, choose understanding. If you were rejected, choose acceptance. If you were shamed, choose compassion. Be the person you needed when you were hurting, not the person who hurt you. Vow to be better than what tried to overwhelm you. Bring healing instead of becoming bitter, so you can live from your redemption, not your pain!!
A man went to heaven and the angel says follow me and I will take you to the area where people who share your faith are gathered. As they’re walking, they pass one door where there is a lot of shouting and the place is really rocking. The angel tells him that those are the Charismatics, they make a lot of noise but they’re fairly harmless. They think they’re the only ones here. They walk by another door and wonderful assortment of delicious smells are coming out into the hall. He is told that these are the Methodists and they are always having church dinners… They think everyone should be here. A little further down they come by a room that is very quite and He is told that these are the Holiness folks. They don’t bother anyone and pretty much stick to themselves. And they are really surprised that they are even here”!!
It’s just a joke folks… I have no authoritative source for that…..
(If you laugh at yourself, you’ll always have something to laugh about!)
The apostle Peter tells us in 1 Peter 4:10-11… “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God‘s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.”
One Christian lady, who knew that her time was short upon this earth wrote the following verse….
“My prayers have all been answered, I’ve finally arrived. The healing that has been delayed, has now been realized. No one’s in a hurry, no schedule to keep. We’re all enjoying Jesus, just kneeling at His feet.
If you could see me now, I’m walking streets of gold, if you could see me now, I’m standing tall and whole, if you could see me now you’d see the pains erased, if you could see me now you’d know I’d seen His face. You wouldn’t want me to leave this place if you could see me now”.
May we be able to say with the apostle Paul….2 Timothy 4:7 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day- and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing”.
I want to read the lyrics to a Christian song that I’m hearing everywhere lately…
“I'm waiting my whole life for that day, I will live my life to hear You say
Well done, well done, My good and faithful one. Welcome to the place where you belong. Well done, well done, My beloved child, You have run the race and now you're home. Welcome to the place where you belong, Well Done”!!
`Well done, good and faithful servant! Rejoice and share your master’s joy, now and forever!’ PRAYER…..
“Lord, help us to fix our hearts and minds on Your eternal and unchanging truth and to wash ourselves daily in the cleansing water of Your Word. May we endure joyfully the hardships that we may be called upon to face. Develop in us a true attitude of praise and worship, no matter what the circumstances, and help us to build ourselves up in the most holy faith, looking for the glorious appearing of our Lord and Savior. Lord, by Your grace may we help many others to come to the saving knowledge which your sacrifice on the cross has made available. May You be lifted up in the hearts and lives of many who we see and know each week. Lead and guide us by Your spirit in bringing about a deep longing that will result in an intimate knowledge of You. Lord we declare that this is the time of seedtime and harvest, and we ask that we may seize the opportunity to see them redeemed and transformed. Lord I ask that You would give me a wise and understanding heart –a heart that discerns Your will so that I make the best choices for my life and be able to give the best help to those in need. Give me an obedient heart - a heart that is ready and willing to say “Thy will be done” and not to insist that my will is best.Open my heart I pray to listen to Your still small voice and give me discernment to know when to speak and when to remain silent – direct and govern my steps I pray in the name of Jesus Christ”.