Last week we looked at how to unleash the power of your story. We learnt a few things from the story of the man who was born blind and how Jesus made a difference in his life and he lived on to tell the story. We looked at four key things that can make your story powerful in transforming the lives of others and build LIFE relationships.
- Know your story
- Own your story
- Love your story
- Tell your story
I hope that you have had opportunities this week to do those four things. Let me know how you unleashed the power of your story and if there is any difference it made.
This week I would like to share about the #TheDeliveryPropsAndResources of your God story.
I recently was watching a movie with my family before I was interrupted with an emergency call. I later asked the family how the movie was and my wife responded that it was a good movie of low budget. She then went ahead to ask the children if there are any lessons that they learnt and my son said that he had learnt how bad things can go when you are a spoilt brat. This was a low budget movie but a great lesson to offer.
Many times we feel inadequate in sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ due to inadequacy or lack of resources.
My encouragement to you is that it does not matter how much you have or how well you are equipped. You can share God’s love and goodness with others. You can share your story with others with the least resources that you have.
In a production, producers use props to deliver the intended message of their story. A lot of preparation goes into a production so that a story can be delivered to an audience.
All of us who have a relationship with God and have a story of God’s work in our lives have a responsibility to deliver our story to others with the focus of the message on who God is, his character and his work. Remember that Jesus is the hero and the main starring of the story.
Let’s look at a parable that Jesus used to teach his followers about stewardship of what they had received.
Matthew 25:14-30 (NKJV)
14 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them.
Jesus declared in many occasions that the kingdom of heaven or the kingdom of God has come in reference to his presence and the good works that God was doing through him (Matt 12:28; Mark 1:15; Lk 11;20; 17:21). Jesus’ main business was to declare the Kingdom of his Father, God. Like the owner in this parable, God has resources for his kingdom expansion and gives these resources to his people to use them for service and expansion.
How then does he distribute? Jesus went on to explain;
15 And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey.
#Abilities, #Resources and #opportunities
This owner gives seed capital for investment. He distributes to them according to their abilities with no more instructions on what to do.
As God’s children, we have been endowed with abilities, but we have also been given resources. It is up to us then to seek for opportunities so that we can use our abilities and resources to make profit for the Kingdom.
Unlike earthly kings who will be away physically, God is present and will lead us to the opportunities so that we are free to exercise our authority in his kingdom as though he is away.
The production of God’s story in our lives combines our endowed abilities, God’s resources and available opportunities.
Let’s see what the servants did;
16 Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. 17 And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. 18 But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money. 19 After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them.
These servants used their abilities to make profit with what they had been given. Two of them made 100% profit while the last one dug in the ground and hid his talent. The master came back after a long time.
God has placed destiny in our hearts, given us the ability to dream and aspire to be what he wants us to become. Our dreams, ambitions and aspirations are God given provided they are not sinful. The difference between those who succeed in fulfilling their dreams and those who regret about their dreams lies with the choices that we make with what God has given to us.
Stephen L. Carter who is a renowned American professor said that “We live today in a world in which nobody believes choices should have consequences. But may I tell you the great secret that our culture seeks to deny? You cannot escape the consequences of your choices. Time runs in only one direction.”
Many of us look for success but are hardly willing to take risks of using what God has given us to make profit out of life. Your story is the greatest evangelical tool that you have to make profit for God’s kingdom. Unless you tell it, it will never benefit anyone.
We go to school for more than 12 years in order to learn a skill or get a job that will get us some income for ourselves, but we never think about the greatest profit in God’s kingdom which is the reconciliation of men to God.
Everything you have been given is to be put to work in order to make a difference. Practice your story telling and you will become better. Practice the gifts you have been given and you will become a better servant.
The question is, will you be like the two servants who put to use their capital to make profit or will you be like the one servant who hid the capital he had received. Will you use your gifts to make a difference in a world that desperately needs solutions?
If you look around, you will see the opportunities that are available. The least you have is your story, but more than that, you have networks, you have skills and you have resources. All of us have something unique and tailor made for the needs that are blaring at us in the society.
John F. Kennedy said that “…ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”
Don’t ask what your family; your church, your community and your nations will do for you but rather ask what you can do for them.
Every child of God has props and resources to make the best production of God’s story in their lives.
Remember that the Lord himself will come and ask you to account on how you used what you received. I pray that you and I will develop a sense of responsibility and be motivated by God’s character of love, mercy and grace that we have received.
One day, we will all give an account on how we worked out our resources with our abilities and opportunities that were available.
This is what happened when the servants were submitting their accounts;
20 “So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’ 21 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’22 He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’ 23 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’
Do you notice the reaction of gaining profit? The two servants were happy to report. The owner was also happy to receive back the capital and profit from the servants.
When you have done some good work, there is always satisfaction and joy. When you have taken risks and put to work what you have been entrusted with, there is always a sense of joy, satisfaction and fulfilment.
Serving is never easy but the outcome is always pleasant. Sharing your story is scary, because you risk rejection, but when your audience gives you feedback and tells you “me too!!!” You feel like you have made a difference. I have had such moments when I talked about something in men’s forums and someone comes and tells me that my story is so similar to theirs. I feel human and that someone was listening. It’s a great feeling.
From this parable, it does seem to me that when we will be done with work here on earth, we will be given greater responsibilities in the new world. I believe that work will be there in the new paradise but it will be easier and joyful to do it because of the absence of sin.
I want to be one of those that Jesus will tell, “good and faithful savant, enter into the joy of your Lord.” I look forward to a piece of the kingdom that I will be ruling over. King Zephaniah will be a great title for me. Do you desire that as well?
What happened to the other servant? Jesus says this;
24 “Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’
What a response!! Instead of taking responsibility for his work, this servant marshes the character of the owner, speaks of his fears and makes a choice as a result of the owners perceived character.
How many times do you meet people whose faults are never their own making? They will constantly find somebody to blame for their actions. They never take responsibility for their actions. If you are a supervisor, they will make you feel like you are such a looser and unworthy to lead.
Are you one of those that never see any good or appreciate your employer, parents or those in authority but never accept responsibility for your own choices and consequences?
Every choice you make as a result of somebody else character turns back to you. God has given us the power to make choices, and our choices have consequences. The consequences will not only affect us but they will also affect those around us. If this man had a family, I am sure they may have suffered as a result of his choices.
See what happened to this servant;
26 “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. 27 So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. 28 Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.
This man received the consequences of his choice. I like the fact that the owner admits that the perceived character blackmail may be correct, but this man should have thought of options rather than acting out of fear and revenge.
How many times do we get ourselves making wrong choices due to fear, anger or bitterness? When you are going through those emotions, it is very difficult to think of better options in life.
You probably have been hurt in church and you decided never to serve again. You have been hurt in relationships when you were vulnerable and decided that you will never be vulnerable again. You have been laid off by a particular boss from a particular tribe and when an opportunity presents itself again, your first question is which tribe the person belongs to. My sister lost an opportunity recently because the prospective employer does not employ people from our tribe. What a sad reality we face in our country.
If you are going to get any success, you must deal with the pain in your past and forgive. You must get rid of anger, bitterness and allow your wounds to be cleaned up by Jesus so that you can make objective decisions in the future.
You may have failed in the past, but do not let your past define your future and obstruct you from going forward. Successful people never see any obstacles and people as a hindrance for their success.
I have had to deal with the pain of not being parented by my biological parents early in life and the effects that it had on me in order to live a healthy life. I have had to forgive all those I perceived as my enemies and all those who rejected me. I am who I am now because I chose to get rid of baggage from my past.
You know what? The only obstruction that can hinder your success is you. Wipe off your bruises and get up and look at the opportunities around you so that you can exercise your abilities to make profit for yourself and the kingdom. Build your story so that others will learn from you.
Your tragedies can be your treasures. Your pain can be your gain.
Jesus concludes this parable by giving a principle to live by;
29 ‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
When you use your abilities and opportunities to make profit, you will receive more. But when you hoard or burry your skills, gifts and resources, even what you have will be taken away.
The natural growth principle is that when there is no growth, death is inevitable. If you do not use something for a long time, it dies. When you do not make profit, you will get loses due to depreciation and inflation. There is a saying that goes ‘use it or lose it.’ At the end of it you will go through weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Four life skills that we can learn in the production of God’s story in our lives from this parable are as follows:
- Discover your abilities and resources. Like the servants in the parable God has given each one of us resources according to our abilities, have you discovered what your abilities and resources around you? You can take time to reflect, do some tests that reveal who you are or ask people close to you what they gain from you. Look back in your history and see the highlights in your life when you felt important and useful.
- Look around for the opportunities. Like the servants, God may not give you the blue print for executing your abilities and making profit out of your abilities and God given resources. But he has given you a mind to think and put together a strategy for executing. Look around for the opportunities to exercise what you have been given. Think outside the box and see the options available so that you are not stuck in the mould that society has created for you. God has given you the freedom to explore and be what you have dreamt about. He has your back for you to reach your destiny.
- Make and own your choices. Life is about choices, even when you choose not to do something, it is a choice. The servants in the story made different choices and bore the consequences. Taking risks gives you opportunities to learn from your failures and improve on your successes.
- Be accountable to authority. Accountability is a great way to assess your success. God created authorities for that reason. Somebody without authority will not learn humility and service. The greatest help that authority provides is accountability. Through that you will learn to celebrate affirmation or receive their feedback to make you better. You will ultimately give an account to God who is the final authority hence practice it now.
I believe that God has spoken to you through this message and the best you can do is to make a commitment to act on what you now know. What will you do differently in order to be productive and increase?
God’s story began when He created Adam and Eve in his image and blessed them to be fruitful and increase. This was not just in terms of numbers but that they would become productive in every aspect.
Adam and Eve failed to recognise the sufficiency of God to meet their needs and ate the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, hence suffering the consequence of separation from the intimate fellowship with God that leads to fruitfulness. They were banished from paradise making work hard as the ground was cursed so that it could not produce to its great potential.
Jesus came so that, the situation can be reversed so that you and I can begin to have glimpses of what paradise would be when you trust him. The fullness of it will be realized when he comes back the second time and takes away sin so that we can have paradise once again. God’s story will have a new phase.
Meanwhile, you and I have been blessed with abilities, skills and resources to build a kingdom that will be manifested when the master comes. Will you be one of those he will tell, ‘good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your lord.’
Remember that your abilities and resources are only props for the story of God in your life. You will always need to deliver the theme messages in your life in a way that helps others desire to trust in God. They are a means to and end and not an end to themselves.
Let me invite you to give your life to Christ if you do not have a relationship with him. It will be the beginning of a lifetime relationship that will facilitate your productivity story.
And if you have given your life to Christ but have been hurt in the past, you have fear of the unknown, fear of failure or fear of rejection; I invite you to give yourself to the wounded healer that was bruised for our iniquities. He was crucified for our sins, the chastisement of our peace was on him and by his wounds we are healed (Isaiah 53). He wants to set you free so that you can put to use that which he has given you and you can eventually bring profit.
I pray that those of you who have worked hard and are not productive, that God who breaks barrenness will do that in your life in Jesus name. I pray that you will begin to bear fruit as you connect with the true vine and be dressed by God our father.
Finally I pray for those who have been faithful with what they have been given, that you will continue to trade with your resources by using your abilities, give through your gifts, I pray that you will multiply and increase to the glory of God as you await the final call to the joy of the Lord.
High Budget or low budget, the production continues next week.
Questions for reflection and discussion
- Share what abilities and resources that God has given you and how you have used them in the past?
- What will you do differently this week in order to exercise your abilities on the resources that God has provided for you?