Where We Will Be in Ten Years . . . Starts with ME! (Matthew 25:14-30)
Where I was ten years ago,
- Two little boys (10 years and 7 years).
- Been married for only a little more than 10 years.
- I wasn’t even forty years old and I wasn’t that fat!
- Been with the Alum Creek, West Virginia church for about nine years.
- Had just earned my D.Min.
Where will I be in ten years?
- RJ and Wil should both be starting their families.
- I will have been married for over 30 years.
- I’ll be 55 years old!
- Professionally: I suspect I’ll still be on disability full-time.
Where are you going to be in ten years?
- Will you have kids in high school, welcoming children home from college, welcoming grandchildren or even great-grandchildren to your family?
- Can you expect to celebrate a silver or golden anniversary?
- Can you expect to celebrate some milestone in age?
- Will it be time for retirement? For your AARP card?
- Will it be time for a promotion? A career change?
“Time is filled with swift transition / ‘Naught of earth unmoved can stand.” Obviously, we don’t know where we’ll be in ten years, but it’s healthy to dream. We can’t get to a destination unless we know where we’re going. Luke 14:25-33. In context, the Lord is staying you need to plan before you follow Jesus; make sure you’re not going to leave him. But, the text speaks about the necessity of good planning.
Where do we want the church to be in ten years? Increase in membership? Increase in faith? Increase in leadership? Increase in love/fellowship/unity? Increase in benevolence?
Many times we want the church to change, but we’re unwilling to change ourselves. Sometimes one person can prohibit a church’s growth. The man who had his father’s wife in Corinth (1 Cor 5:1). Euodia and Syntyche in Philippi (Phil 4:2). The woman Jezebel in Thyatira (Rev 2:20).
The flip is also true: One person can greatly impact the church’s growth. Apostle Paul. Barnabas-gave money for benevolence and took Saul of Tarsus under his wing.
This morning, we want to understand that Where we will be in ten years . . . Begins with ME!
Scripture (Matthew 25:14-30)
The master of the house is going on a journey. Journeys in the ancient world were nothing like a journey today. We’re going to Indiana this weekend – It’s about 350 miles; imagine doing that without a car! If you can do ten miles a day, it would take you more than a month to get there. The master of the house is going on a journey that will take him a long time according to verse 19.He’s going to need his servants to take care of his property. If you take a long journey, you’re going to need people to take care of things. My dad’s parents lived in Indiana; when I was a kid, we’d often go there for a week. My mom’s dad would come to feed the dog, the cat, get the mail, etc. But, if you’re going to be gone a long time, you’re going to need people to take care of much more-take care of investments.
The master of the house gave his servants “talents.” Talent was a unit of currency in antiquity. The English word “talent” comes from this Parable.
The master gave one servant five talents, another two, and another one-“to each according to his ability.” There’s nothing wrong with being a one-talent person! God, in his infinite wisdom, may not have given you as much talent as someone else. That’s okay! What matters is that you use the abilities God has given you.
The man who received five talents went and earned five more. The man who received two talents went and earned two more. Again, amount isn’t important-important that they used what they were given.
The man with one talent did nothing with it. Instead, he went and hid his talent in the ground.
The master returned from his long journey and called the servants to account for themselves. He praised the first two servants who came before him-they had done precisely what the master wanted.
The one-talent man said he knew his master to be a hard man; therefore, he was afraid. What was going to happen if he lost his master’s money? He hid the money in the ground. What good could the money conceivably do in the ground?
The master referred to his servant as “wicked” and “slothful.” He was wicked-He didn’t do what the master has asked. He was slothful-He did nothing. I really think the master wouldn’t have been too angry if his servant had invested in some stock and lost everything. Sure, he would have lost money, but at least he would have done something!
The servant could have at least invested the talent, so that the master would have received what he had with interest. Even what this man had was taken away from him, and it was given to the man with ten talents. The wicked and slothful servant was cast into outer darkness.
Where we will be in ten years . . . Starts with ME!Think about that one-talent man-It could have started with him. He had every opportunity to invest . . . to use . . . to prosper. Yet, he squandered that opportunity. If you had set aside $10 a week every week for the past ten years, you’d have $5,200 without interest. If you will simply start, you can and will end up somewhere. The problem with the one-talent man was that he wasn’t willing to start. Are you willing to start?
Let’s ask again: Where do we want the church to be in ten years? Increase in membership? Increase in faith? Increase in leadership? Increase in love/fellowship/unity? Increase in benevolence?
What are you going to do, even if you happen to be a “one-talent man,” to move the church toward that goal?
What will you do to help increase the membership of this congregation?
The saving of souls is the church’s business. “The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Lk 19:10). “Go . . . and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt 28:19).If you’re a one-talent individual, what can you do to help the church to grow? You could pray. “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (Matt 9:37-38). “Brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored” (2 Thess 3:1). If you can do nothing else, you can pray!
Many other things you might could do. Be willing to pick people up for worship/Bible study. Give a tract/pamphlet to someone. Invite James or one of the elders to study with someone. Greet guests to the assembly.
What will you do to help increase the faith of this congregation?
Do you want to see this congregation remain faithful to the Word of God? Drawing closer and closer to God? Molded even more closely into the image of his Son?
Such growth begins with you! You can spend time with the Word of God. “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth” (2 Tim 2:15). Think of the noble Bereans who didn’t simply accept what Paul and Silas taught. That whole episode could have very well started with one person. Someone who was convinced that what Paul and Silas taught sounded good but wanted to be absolutely certain it was truth.
You can be a catalyst for spiritual growth. You can ask questions in Bible study that lead to reflection and thought. You can double check to make sure every word taught here is truth.
What will you do to help increase the leadership in this church?
If you’re a male, let me encourage you to look at the qualifications of leaders. What do you need to change in your life to meet those qualifications? What opportunities can you find where you can begin to hone your leadership skills? Ladies, how can you encourage your husband to be molded into a leader in this church?
What will you do to help the love of this congregation to grow?
Congregational love and unity are so important. 1 John 3:11-18. Philippians 2:1-2.But, if you only have one talent, how can you help the love and unity of this church? Could you forgive some wrong that’s been committed against you? Could you write a note to encourage someone? Could you season your speech to show more love and compassion?
What will you do to help this congregation show more benevolence in this community?
We have an obligation to care for the downtrodden. We often see Jesus caring for such people-the leper, the woman at the well, the woman caught in adultery, etc. Matthew 25:34-40. “As we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Gal 6:10).
What can you do-even as a “one-talent man”-to increase the benevolence of this congregation? Could you give slightly more (maybe no more than a dollar or two per week)? Could you find opportunities to help-people in the hospital, people who have lost loved ones, people who are struggling financially, etc.?
Where will we be in ten years? I don’t know. I know where I want to see the church in ten years. Where do you want her to be? What are you going to do to help her get there? Will you be one-like the one-talent man-who does absolutely nothing? Will you do what you can with what you have?