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.”
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.
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。
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)
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。”