Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Use The Gift

James 2:14-20

14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
Use the Gift
My grandmother had quite a number of furs when I was growing up.   I didn't know the origin of them.  I had always assumed they were gifts, but truth is, I never asked.
I can remember how she would sport her stole or her full length mink at holiday time.  Growing up in a cold state, we had a different take on fur coats.  They were as much necessity as fashion, given the brutal winters we experienced.  She always looked stunning in her furs.
After my grandmother passed, many of her furs went to different family members.  I had received one.  I didn't have the full appreciation of the garment.  Fur, for my generation, had fallen out of fashion. One very cold day, however, I went to pull it out of the closet, only to learn that the coat had dry rotted and was no longer of any use.  That was when I learned that not only did the coat require special storage, but it needed to be used to remain useful.  
Its that way for us in the body of Christ.  We are given gifts and talents for use, not hording.  The very gifts we have are designed not only for use, but for use in the body of Christ.  The gifts themselves need to be used in order to stay viable and vibrant.  Otherwise, they become useless, like the body without the soul.
Our gifts and talents matter.  They matter more than we can imagine.  And, with use, they get even more valuable.  Whatever it is that you or I have been uniquely designed to do, it's needed and it matters.  The question is, when challenged, will we have a story of worked faith to share about how those gifts were employed, or will the story be one of excuse, about how they were buried in the ground because we were afraid of getting something wrong?  They are our talents.  It is our story?  How will it all play out?
It's in our hands.

Matthew 25:14-30

14 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.
15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.
17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.
18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money.
19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.
21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.
23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:
25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.
26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:
27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.
28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.
29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.
30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

As we approach the yuletide season, remember, the gift of Salvation has been offered to us all.  Receiving this Gift brings more than other gift can bring.  This Gift brings eternal life.
John 3:16-18
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Merry Christmas!

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