Immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them, and made another five. Matthew 25:16
He did not waste any precious seconds or minutes. He went immediately after receiving the loaned talents. He went immediately to double the amount of the talents. One would inquire, “Why the rush?”
I cannot answer for this servant. I can try to retort for us. We can respond to the call of service immediately. Without rolling our eyes, we can take the route to the mission field. Without dilly dallying we can pack and go with confidence. Here’s why.
Know the Giver. His love is constant whatever the result of the mission. We know we can depend in His power not on our skills. We know we can stand by His grace and providence. Any mission has its beginning and its end and He is present in all the time with us. We will find challenges along the way, but we will find Him lifting us in every hurdle. When we know the Giver, we can give ourselves immediately.
Know your talents. It’s not the same weight as the above but it’s important. It’s important to know what you can do so you can ask God what He can do. Empower the laborers. What do you possess? Pray to the Giver to bless your gifts. Scan the mission field. Where will you use the talents? Pray to the Giver to bless the receiver(s) of your talents. When we know our gifts, we know what we can share immediately.
Souls are perishable goods. Don’t delay. Serve Him immediately.
For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with the wisdom of human eloquence, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its meaning. 1 Cor. 1:17
We imagine Paul to be conversationally convincing when facing the challengers of the faith. We envision him to be in the mold of Bo Sanchez, who translates his speech into printed words, yet he is not. We picture him to be someone who like Bobby Quitain can fire up his audience with power preaching but he is not. And so we thought he speaks well the way he writes.
Paul confesses this – he has no eloquence when proclaiming the cross of Christ. The message itself stands by itself. The message is enough. The message itself is eloquence.
For you preachers of the word, this is freedom. You don’t need the extra pressure to perform your expressive heart pounding verses. You don’t need to flex your tongue to play with words of wisdom. You don’t need to be cute in sharing the story. You don’t need to add anything to the complete meal. You go up there. Stand up. Be clear and concise. Proclaim the salvation in Jesus.
For you hearers of the word, this is freedom, too. You might have been living in this prison fact; you need a Bo Sanchez or a Bobby Quitain to be inspired. The cross is all we need to gain strength to get going. You thought you need someone with stature to proclaim the cross so we can be in awe. Be in awe of the message not of the messenger. You looked forward to the meeting when the best exhorter or great worship leader is scheduled to stand in your midst. Put the cross of Christ in the middle, you can look forward to your future.
Remember when you speak or listen to God’s word, it’s His word and not anybody else, which when spelled is – E-L-O-Q-U-E-N-C-E.
Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” John 19:27b
In the movie “A Very Special Love”, starring John Lloyd Cruz and Sarah Geronimo, there was a part where Layda, played by Sarah, forgets her mother’s birthday because of her work. Work was up to her neck, that she forgot the day of the woman who bore her, who nursed her and who loves her.
Who would forget such a special day? Not my family. Not me.
Today is my mother’s birthday. She has been dead for some years yet she is still alive in our hearts and life. For many reasons, our mother is unforgettable.
- She spoke when she wanted to speak notwithstanding what others would say about her. At one PTA meeting, she brought her mind to the gathering and she got voted as the Vice-President.
- She would fight for what is best for her children. She sold vinegar and charcoal for her to support our studies. She never mind to smell like the liquid and have black dirt in her hands.
- She brought us close to God. She bugged us to come with her to church and afterward would treat us at the kanto for barbecue or sliced pakwan.
- She never taught about the Bible. But we know she read it, because we read it in the way she lived.
- She reached high school education yet she wanted us to reach for more. Now, we are living our dreams, her dreams were fulfilled.
- She will take the pain so the family won’t. When she was at her deathbed, she did not want us to bring her to further medical attention. She knew we were running out of money, but we were not running out of her love.
- She lived with her sister in law, in all her married life. They had differences and we saw how she loved in spite of.
- She encouraged us that there’s no time to be wasted, that there is something somebody can do for someone. And that somebody is her.
I can go on and on but let’s take that next year.
I join my brothers and sisters in remembering our mother. As my siblings in the Philippines visit her grave and as I visit her in my heart, we behold her. We behold her for she loved with a very special love.
For you know how one must imitate us. For we did not act in a disorderly way among you, nor did we eat food received free from anyone. On the contrary, in toil and drudgery, night and day we worked, so as not to burden any of you. 2 Thessalonians 3:7-8
Isn’t it an eye opener?
Paul was doing his missionary visits and work while he was also working to provide for his needs and feed himself. He was not a burden to the flock he was serving. He was serving them not them serving him. He did not eat using their plates. There was no free lunch for the preacher. There was no gratis dinner for the epistle writer. He did not sleep on anybody’s bed. There was no free lodging. There was no sleep over or whatsoever. If Paul has a ministry, his is self-paid. If Paul has a mission, his is self-sustaining. Imagine Paul writing a fund raising letter addressed to himself. He was a full time worker and a full time servant. He worked to gain income. He served for God to gain souls.
I am not saying missionaries should find a secular job to sustain their ministry. What I am stressing is this – you can be a full time missionary even if you are employed full time. This was Paul’s example.
Let’s imitate Paul. You can be a preacher and at the same time go to an office as an accountant. You can serve as a small group leader even as your brain and hands are busy on marketing strategies. You can teach God’s word to the church or community while attending to your job as an engineer. You can be a computer whiz worker in parallel with your service as a music worship leader. Your work and service may be two different things in a sense but can be one in service. You don’t need to give up your lay job, unless there’s a radical call for that, to visit hurting believers. You can keep your work and keep on serving the beleaguered flock. You don’t need to be a burden to others, rather be a burden to yourself.
Two extremes exist; you work full time then serve part time or no time; or you don’t work full time or part time when you serve full time.
Open your eyes. You can work and you can serve. Full time.
Ezekiel shall be a sign for you: all that he did you shall do when it happens. Thus you shall know that I am the LORD. Ezekiel 24:24
It’s important to have road signs. Without signs, we would be lost. No sign means you will go nowhere. A sign gives us identification of the course. It gives us assurance we are on the right way. If you are traveling in a path which is unfamiliar, signs will give you certainty. If you are lost, signs will divert you back to the correct trail. If you are sure of your way, signs will nourish your confidence you are going to the precise direction.
God called Ezekiel to be that kind of sign. A sign that would lead the people back to God. Ezekiel will be a lighthouse sitting on God’s bosom. When people look at Ezekiel, they will see God’s way. When the lost would look for direction back to God, they would have their eyes on Ezekiel. If the righteous looks for assurance, they would go the sign- Ezekiel. And this sign will not be talk about where to go or not. Ezekiel will not be a symbol who is preaching. This sign will be about doing- all that he did you shall do when it happens (Ezekiel 24:24b). Ezekiel will give directions by living a holy life. Ezekiel will point to God by doing not by speaking. His life will direct God’s people back to God.
Can you be that kind of sign? A sign who will be steady to provide assurance to the faithful. A sign who will be dynamic to bring the lost back on track. A holy sign who will usher the strength to the weak. A loyal sign who will give hope to the despaired follower. A sign who will be a landmark by doing not talking. A sign whose life says, “This way.” A sign whose existence presents, “God is here.” A sign who will use not his vocabulary but uses his way of life to show the true route towards God.
Make them know He is the LORD. Be a sign.
When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad, for he had many possessions. Matthew 19:22
He was following the rules. He was fulfilling the obligations. But he was not following Jesus. He did not respond to Jesus’ call to sell all and follow Him. Upon hearing Jesus’ call for him and knowing he can’t leave his possessions for a lifelong devotion, he went away sad.
Scan your life today. Do you have joy or sadness? Are you following rules or are you following Christ? Are you fulfilling obligations or are you fulfilling a heavenly call?
The passage above gives us a good test. There is no joy in following rules if you don’t follow Christ. There is no gladness in fulfilling obligations if you don’t fulfill Jesus’ call for you.