~ Agathos Church is a non-denominational Christian Church in Columbus, Ohio. This blog post is an adapted excerpt from a sermon by Pastor Brad Ettore. You can hear the whole sermon, The Role of Humility in Our Lives (part 10), from by clicking here.
In The Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25), Jesus tells us that the Kingdom of God is as if a master left – giving specific gifts to specific men. We understand that the master leaves to go to a far country, but he will be back – expecting to see a return on his investment. In the parable, the man that had been given 5 talents invested them and was able to report a return of 5 additional talents to his master, who was very pleased with the man’s work. Likewise, the man with 2 talents was faithful with what he had been given and the master promised therefore to make him ruler over much. The final servant did not invest what he had been given – and therefore lost what he had not used.
Notice in verse 14 that the master in this parable delivers “his goods” to them. In other words, the gifts the servants have are not their own – they are their master’s and the servants’ job is to make good use of them. Our talents and gifts are God’s! (1 Cor. 4:7) God rejoices in the gifts He has given us – He simply wants us to use our gifts and give Him honor through using them! The Devil, on the other hand, wants us to turn inward with our gifts – thinking or saying “look at me, I am awesome.”
Often, we compare ourselves with others, but the Bible says that those who compare themselves among themselves are NOT wise. We need to remember that with every gift God gives to us, an equal responsibility comes along with it. Throughout our lives, we will run into individuals that are more or less gifted than us. Each of our gifts comes with capability AND responsibility. God is the great equalizer. It is great to have many gifts – but those great gifts come with great responsibility. If we are going to compare, we should at least compare correctly – knowing that responsibility is always the other component of our abilities.
Even though understanding the responsibility that comes with gifts will bring some measure of a biblical paradigm to comparison, the Word still does say that those who compare themselves among themselves are NOT wise. True humility actually does NOT compare at all. True humility knows that we are nothing in the light of God. Truly humble people have surrendered “self” entirely into the hands of the Lord – there is therefore no comparison going on in their thinking. True humility knows that God gave us all the talents we have. Just don’t ever forget where your gifts came from!!! We can tend to “think down” of others in a context where they are not very gifted – taking some delight in being more capable of them . . . stop that thinking! They are probably far more amazing than you at something else! Humility knows that what we have came from God, and that simple knowledge makes comparison obsolete. When a humble person walks into a room, they don’t see people to size up – they see people to love!
While we are nothing apart from God, we are NOT apart from Him! Paul said “I can do all things!” BUT Paul did not end there, instead finishing his statement with the phrase: “through Christ who strengthens me!” A humble person says “what I have, I received from Him, and I will use it to its fullness!”
The humble use their gifts to serve others!
“Now there was also a dispute among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest. And He said to them, ‘The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called ‘benefactors.’ But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves. For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves.'” (Luke 22:24-27)
In Luke 22, Jesus makes it clear that He was a servant. Jesus acknowledged that the worldly way was to lord authority over others, but he told his disciples “not so among you.” That is a challenging verse for many of us, because we tend to spend our life serving ourself: “my career, my house, my life,” etc. Jesus wants to open up a whole new world to us! A world of servanthood! The world of servanthood is actually easy, beautiful, and filled with joy & peace. The “me, myself, and I” world is the opposite – it is a grind, it is hard, it is a life of reaching & grasping for something. We are sure that it must be better to take care of ourselves, but the Word of God makes it clear – the Kingdom of God operates on an entirely different paradigm. He says “lay down ‘self,’ pick up my cross and follow me.” Jesus says “come to me all who labor and are heavy laden – and I will give you rest.” (Mt. 11:28-30) Servanthood is a yoke – yes. Jesus says “take my yoke!” Jesus’ yoke is not heavy or burdensome. He wants us to work with Him! Jesus will never strap our yoke on Him, but He is inviting us to do His thing with Him!
It is easy to hear this message and think “that’s good church-sounding stuff”- and to therefore dismiss it on some level. But, ask someone who has gone on a completely sacrificial missions trip – did they have a good time? Many would say it was a highlight of their life! Why? Because, in choosing to serve like that, they came into agreement with Heaven and Heaven’s ways – and the grace of God flowed in their life! Even non-believers actually experience the Kingdom of God in their lives when they begin to serve. (see Mt. 5:45)
When we do nothing in a church, we get next to nothing from that church. When you spend your life serving, life is awesome! When you go to work, don’t go to work to take care of yourself . . . do your work as unto the Lord – and not as unto men! Don’t try to look good – do good! Be a blessing in your work place. Go out of your way to serve them! You may think “I don’t want to do that; they are going to take advantage of me.” That is the world’s way of thinking. God says “trust me – serve others! See what happens!” Eph. 6:5 says “Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ.” Serve your boss as if you are serving Jesus . . . “knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord.” (verse 8) When you serve others as the Lord, know that the Kingdom of Heaven will come into play in your life! God will make sure you receive your reward! Serve others because Jesus died for them! If we will just serve others, God will take care of us and we will be a witness to them!
Here’s a parting thought . . . Some people may not be ready to hear about the Lord directly, but everyone is ready to see His goodness through you!