Tuesday, 12 January 2021
Title: Good and Faithful Servants
By: Cecilia Tan 陈俊芳
Passage: Matthew 25:14-30 ( Parable of the Talents)

The year 2021 has just begun and it is as good a time as any to look back at the years gone by to ascertain whether we are experiencing a sense of fulfilment, satisfaction and accomplishment in our lives.

If we lack that sense of fulfilment, it could mean that we have not maximised our potential fruitfulness. Plainly put, it means we have the ability to give out much more to build God’s kingdom and to bless others, but we simply have not done much about it.

Perhaps it is because we are not quite sure what our special abilities are. If that is the case, then the acronym S.H.A.P.E first coined by Rick Warren in his bestseller “The Purpose Driven Life” will be useful to help us discover God’s unique purpose for our lives. S.H.A.P.E. stands for Spiritual Gifts (which we receive upon conversion), Heart (what we are passionate about), Abilities, Personality and Experiences.

What are you good at? Some of us have spiritual gifts such as preaching, teaching, shepherding, exhortation, prophecy and healing. What about natural talents (those you are born with)? The list of exciting preoccupations is endless: sports, cooking, baking, photography, painting, music, singing, pottery, videography, sewing, writing, story-telling, woodwork, crafts & handiwork, floral arrangement, etc.

Our Creator God has designed and created each of us in a unique way for a specific purpose. Each of us has been given at least one talent that we are born with that gives us special skills and abilities, setting us apart from one another.

For instance, the elder of my twin sons is a gifted musician and singer. He plays several instruments and during the MCO period of March to December 2020, he spearheaded, conducted and produced 4 virtual choir videos on behalf of PBC. His younger twin brother crunches numbers and solves mind-boggling mathematical problems in a jiffy. When he was a little boy, he loved dismantling mechanical toys and then assembling them back effortlessly! My charming daughter has the most delightful way with words and communicates endearingly with people she interacts with, from tiny tots to golden agers.

The Parable of the Talents clearly teaches us that God wants us to use our talents and gifts, not bury them!

During Jesus’ time, a talent was a huge sum of money worth something like 20 years of wages for a labourer. The 3 different sums of money entrusted to the servants represent the differing abilities that God has entrusted to us.

The first 2 servants invested the money entrusted to them wisely and earned a 100% return for their master who was pleased and praised each of them, saying, “Well done, good and faithful servant, you have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much.” (Matthew 25:21)

The 3rd servant simply kept the money and failed to put it to good use. He incurred the wrath of his master who condemned him as a “wicked and slothful servant” (Matthew 25:26). His punishment? The master took the talent away from him and gave it to the first servant who had used his money to make more. This lazy servant was then cast into the outer darkness, where “there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 25:30)

Like the money entrusted to the servants, the gifts and talents we have received are not ours alone. God gave them to us for the purpose of serving Him and serving others. If we use them wisely, He will trust us with more to keep doing these things we are good at. On the other hand, when we fail to identify and use our God-given talents, we will lose them forever and God will take the valuable talents and give them to others who are putting their talents to good use.

We may feel that we have little to offer but the issue is not how much or how little we have, but what we do with what we have! We are all given differing amounts of talents and all that is expected of us is to be faithful to the exact amount He has entrusted to us. Hence we should not compare our efforts with others’ as God judges us according to our degree of faithfulness.

If in the years gone by, you have kept your talent hidden under your mattress or pillow, do not despair! It is not too late to now start unleashing your talent upon a waiting world! God will be glorified and countless lives will be blessed.

Moreover, by obeying God’s command to maximise the use of our talents, we will enjoy a deep sense of fulfilment and meaningful accomplishment in our lives. Which is probably why Todd Henry, author of the book “Die Empty: Unleash Your Best Work Every Day” declared, “ I want to know that if I lay my head down tonight and don’t wake up tomorrow, I have emptied myself of whatever creativity is lingering inside.”

And so, going forward into 2021, let us strive to be GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANTS, giving our best and all of our talents to serve God and bless others. As Leo Buscaglia so aptly put it, “Your talent is God’s gift to you. What you do with it is your gift to God.”

PRAYER:
Our Heavenly Father, we praise You for in Your wisdom, You have given each of us a different talent. We are like different parts of the human body. As each part performs its function well, the body can enjoy a peaceful and healthy existence. May each of us seek to use our individual talents and abilities as best as we can, that the Body of Christ may perform its function as the salt and light of the world, in an extraordinary way. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

每日灵粮
星期二, 2021年1月12日
标题:良善又忠心的仆人
作者:陈俊芳姐妹
翻译:陈晓佩姐妹

经文:马太福音25:14-30(才干的比喻)

2021年才刚开始,这正是回顾过去岁月的好时机,确定我们是否在经历着一股充实感、满足感和成就感。

如果我们缺乏这种充实感,这可能意味着我们还没有充分发挥我们富有成效的潜力。简而言之,这表示我们有能力付出更多去建立上帝的国度并祝福其他人,只是我们根本没有在这方面做得更多。

或许是因为我们不太确定我们的特长是什么。如果是这个情况,华理克在他的畅销书 “标杆人生”(The Purpose Driven Life)中首创的首字母缩写 S.H.A.P.E 将会帮助我们发现上帝在我们生命中的独特旨意。S.H.A.P.E. 代表(S)属灵恩赐(当我们重生时领受的)、(H)心(我们所热衷的)、(A)能力、(P)个性和(E)经历。

您擅长什么?我们当中一些人有以下的属灵恩赐:讲道、教导、牧养、劝勉、说预言和医治。那么天赋(您与生俱来的)呢?令人兴奋属意的列表不胜枚举:体育、烹饪、烘焙、摄影、绘画、音乐、歌唱、陶艺、摄像、缝纫、写作、讲故事、木工、工艺品和手工艺、插花等等。

我们的创造主上帝为特定的目的以独特的方式设计并创造了我们每个人。我们每个人都被赋予了至少一种与生俱来的天赋,这赋予了我们特殊的技能和能力,使我们彼此有别于其他人。

例如,我的双胞胎儿子中的大儿子是一位有恩赐的音乐家和歌手。他可以玩数种乐器,在2020年3月到12月的行管期间,他率先代表班底浸信会指挥和制作了4个虚拟诗班的视频。他的双胞胎弟弟在运算数字方面很在行,且能在一瞬间解决烧脑数学难题。当他还是个小男孩的时候,他喜欢拆卸机械玩具,然后毫不费力地把它们组装起来!我绰约的女儿有最讨人喜欢的语言表达方式,能与同她交往的人,无论幼小或长者,亲切地交流。

才干的比喻清楚地教导我们,上帝要我们使用我们的才干和恩赐,而不是埋没它们!

在耶稣的时代,一个才干(talent-他连得)相等于一笔巨额金钱,相当于一个工人20年的工资。托付给仆人的三笔不同金额的钱代表了上帝托付给我们不同的才干。

首俩位仆人有智慧地投资了所托付给他们的金钱并赚了100% 的回报。主人对他们各人表示高兴并称赞他们,说:“好,你这又良善又忠心的仆人,你在不多的事上有忠心,我要把许多事派你管理。” (马太福音25:21)

第三个仆人只是把金钱收藏起来,没有善加利用。他招致了主人的愤怒,主人谴责他是一个 “邪恶而懒散的仆人”(马太福音25:26)。他的惩罚?主人把他的才干拿走,赐给那善用他的金钱赚取更多的第一个仆人。之后,这懒惰的仆人被丢在外面的黑暗里,“在那里必要哀哭切齿了。”(马太25:30)

就像托付给仆人的钱一样,我们所得的恩赐和才干不是单单属于我们自己的。上帝赐给我们的目的是为服侍祂和其他人。如果我们有智慧地运用它,祂将会托付我们更多,让我们继续做我们擅长的事情。相反的,当我们不能辨识并运用上帝赐给我们的才干时,我们将会永远失去它们,上帝会拿走这些宝贵的才干并赐给那些在善用他们恩赐的人。

我们可能会觉得我们能贡献的很少,但问题不在于我们拥有多或少,而是我们如何使用我们所拥有的!我们每个人都被赋予了不同的才干,而所求于我们的只是忠于祂委托给我们的确切数量。因此,我们不应该将自己的努力与别人的比较,因为上帝是按我们忠心的程度来判断我们。

如果在以往的岁月里,您把您的才干埋藏在您的床褥或枕头下,不要绝望!现在开始在一个期待着的世界上释放您的才华还不算太迟!上帝会得着荣耀,还有无数的生命会得着祝福。

况且,通过遵守上帝的命令,充分地善用我们的才干,我们将在我们的生活中享受到深刻的满足感和有意义的成就感。这可能就是为什么托德•亨利(Todd Henry),“努力就是为了不苟且地活着” (Die Empty:Release Your Best Work Daily) 的作者宣称,“我要确知,如果我今晚躺下,明天不会再醒来,我已把内心挥之不去的创作力都掏空了。”

因此,迈入2021年时,让我们努力做 良善又忠心的仆人 ,献上我们最好的和我们全部的才干来事奉上帝并祝福其他的人。正如利奥•巴斯卡利亚(Leo Buscaglia)恰如其分所说,“您的才干是上帝赐给您的礼物;您怎么善用恩赐是您献给上帝的礼物。”

祈祷:
我们的天父,我们赞美祢,因为祢以祢的智慧赐给我们每一个人不同的才干。我们就像身体不同的部位一样。当每个部位都能很好地发挥其功能时,身体就可以享受到一个安宁和健康的生活。愿我们每个人都尽我们所能运用我们个人的才干和能力,好让基督的身体能以一种非凡的方式履行它作为世上的盐和光的功能。奉耶稣的名,我们祷告。阿们。

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