Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Throwing the Race

Throwing the Race


For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.” – Luke 12:48

If I were to enter the Tour De France and get on my little red bicycle and peddle my heart out, huffing and puffing for air, then purposefully fall back and lose the race, no one would be the least bit disappointed.  Why? Because anyone that knows me knows that I don’t exercise, and I don’t own or ride a bike.  In fact, I’m not even sure I even spelled “Tour De France” right! 
But if Lance Armstrong entered the race and lost, there would be thousands disappointed.  Why? Everyone knows what Lance is capable of winning.  We’ve seen the power and perseverance that he possesses. For Lance to lose a race that God had empowered him to win would mean that he had thrown the race.  He would have to just give up. Quit. But alas, this isn’t about Lance. 

Over the years I’ve gotten to know some mighty men and women of God.  I’ve been blessed to know people who could wield the sword of God’s word like masters, quoting verses, proclaiming the truth, and giving instruction.  I’ve known those with a passion for worship that could help a congregation draw near to God like no other.  I’ve known those that were so filled with faith that they could speak healing, and it would come into existence.  I’ve know those that could energize a dead church, and motivate pew sitters to press on.  And I thank Almighty God that I knew them!  But nothing comes close to the disappointment you feel when you know one of these has stopped serving.  Yet much worse than the disappointment is the mistrust and doubts of what was genuine and from God. 
In Luke 12 Jesus talks about the servants of God that have been given much.  The gifting varies, but the requirement to use those gifts does not.  He says in verses 43-48:

“Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all that he has.  But if that servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and be drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.  And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.”
The word of God is crystal clear.  If God grants us abilities and gifts for His service, He expects fully for us to be using them when he comes.  We often look at this verse and think “ah, when Jesus comes – that’s the end of this world and surely it won’t be tonight!”, but no friend.  Jesus can come for YOU at any moment.  What will He find you doing?  Are you using the gifts and abilities He gave you to further His kingdom, or have you neglected His work and gone about the world’s pursuit of happiness? 

To whom much is given – MUCH will be required.  God isn’t looking for vessels to pour His gifts into without a return.  He’s making an investment!  He gives us followers, just like those that follow Lance Armstrong.  He has committed them to us. He asks us to use those gifts for Him and for them, not to toss them away as though they were trash or throw our pearls to the swine.  Who will provide for our followers if we don’t?  To whom much is given – MUCH will be required. 
This is a call to repentance.  All of us need it from time to time.  Take inventory of the gifts God has given you.  Write them down.  What are you good at?  What do you excel at above anyone else you know?  Were you once so close to Christ that He gave you a mission and you neglected it?  Guess what!  As long as you have breath in your lungs, you still have an opportunity to serve Him. Your gifts are meant for Kingdom work.  Are you using them for Him?

Don’t throw the race. 

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