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Making the Most of What We Have, Part 7

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard
The Truth Network Radio
April 20, 2022 8:00 am

Making the Most of What We Have, Part 7

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard

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April 20, 2022 8:00 am

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I want to help us understand that not only is our treasure a trust given us from God to give him a return on that investment and not only is our time a trust from God but we need to see that our talents, our abilities are also a trust from God. Perhaps nothing demonstrates our love for God more than being faithful stewards of all that he has given us. Hello and thanks for joining us for today's Destined for Victory message with Pastor Paul Shepherd.

Wherever you are and however you may be listening, thanks for making this part of your day. In Christ's parable of the talents, the Master entrusted certain things to three of his servants while he was away on a journey. We honor God by giving of our tithes and offerings and by investing our time in his kingdom. Today Pastor Paul turns his attention to a third way we can bring glory and honor to God, using our God-given gifts and abilities to build up the body of Christ. Stay right here or visit pastorpaul.net to listen to Destined for Victory On Demand.

You can also subscribe to the podcast at Google Podcast, Spotify or wherever you enjoy your podcasts. Right now here's Pastor Paul with today's message, Making the Most of What You Have. I want to help us understand that not only is our treasure a trust given us from God to give him a return on that investment and not only is our time a trust from God, but we need to see as we begin to wrap this up that our talents, our abilities are also a trust from God. Now just to be clear, in this passage when you see the word talents here, it is not referring to ability, it is referring to money. In the day of this writing, talent was a word used for monetary value. From culture to culture, the value differed depending on what particular metal was used for talents, but regardless of which metal, talents represent money in this passage. But you and I are more familiar with using the word talent to talk about our abilities, our personal endowments, our aptitude, those things that we are able to do, that we are inclined to do, that we can get good at doing.

And that's what I want to talk to you about in this portion of the series. I want us to make sure we understand that God has entrusted to us finances and he has entrusted to us time, but he has also entrusted to us various abilities that he placed within us. When you came to the planet, you came with certain abilities stored in your potential, and when you came to Christ, then he also gave you spiritual abilities or spiritual gifts. And so all of us who are in Christ have spiritual gifts, we all also have natural abilities and talents, and we need to understand that those are not there for any other reason than to give God a return on his investment.

God wants to use those to glorify himself and to help us bless others in his name as well as they are to be used to bless our own lives. So let's kind of plow the ground here and look at how this parable would speak to us about the matter of our abilities and our personal endowments. Now, first of all, I want to encourage you, if you're going to give God a return on his investment of ability of endowment in your life, the first thing you want to do is take inventory of the gifts, the talents, and the abilities that God has given you. Take inventory of them. In other words, you need to have a working knowledge of what are my strengths, what are my God-given abilities, what are my spiritual gifts and natural gifts, what are the things that God has built into me, he has placed in me that he is expecting me to give him a return on.

I want you to take inventory of the things in your life. Now, lest there be anyone here who has been misinformed, let me help you understand something. You're not necessarily being prideful or arrogant to recognize your strengths. Now, that's important to know because I know some Christians very well-intentioned who would suggest that the way to be humble is to be ignorant. And some of them aren't even ignorant. They just choose to look the other way and not pay attention to their strengths or abilities. I want to suggest to you that while your intentions may be good, your desire is to make sure you don't become prideful or arrogant.

I applaud that desire. But let me help you understand something. You can't give God a return on an investment in your life until you acknowledge that he placed the investment there. In other words, you will never be able to bless God, to glorify God, and to bless other people with your gifts if you don't acknowledge you have the gifts. So I want to help you understand it's not a function of ignorance for you to be humble. Humility comes from recognizing, yes, I'm gifted, but every good and perfect gift comes from God.

He is the one who gets the glory. So you don't practice humility by denying your gifts. You practice humility by saying, yes, by God's grace, here is what he has placed in my life. Here's what he has blessed me to be able to do. And I want to turn around and glorify him and bless other people with the gifts he has given me. And every time you do something well and every time it results in God being glorified and other people being blessed, you know who the praise goes to. You know who gets the glory and the honor.

It is the one who gave the gift in the first place. So please, please don't practice false humility. Please don't act like, oh, I'm nobody and I can do nothing. How are you going to glorify God and you can't do anything? What you want to do is say, in me that is in my flesh dwells no good thing. Like Paul said, I can do all things through Christ who gives me the strength.

In other words, if he's given me a certain set of gifts and abilities, I can bless him with those and I will be sure to give him all the glory. Because to be sure, there are prideful, arrogant people who are full of themselves because of what they can do. You see it in the secular world and you also see it, unfortunately, in the Christian world. There are people who are full of themselves.

They're not only confident, they're downright conceited. There are people, there are megalomaniacs in the body of Christ as well as outside of the body of Christ. You say, what's that word mean? I'm aware of egomaniac, not megalomaniac. Well, megalomaniac just takes ego to another level and what it means is you have a pregnant ego that refuses to give birth.

It just keeps getting bigger and it won't birth anything good. It's just full of itself and there are people who are like that. And when we are in the body of Christ, we have absolutely no business. People who don't know Christ, they don't have a proper world view and so we can understand where their misguided living and values come from. But we who are supposed to be people of the word, we ought to know better. We ought to know that if it were not for God, none of us would have anything worth talking about or bragging about. It's God who picked us up out of our sins, out of our degradation, saved us by His grace. It is God who began the good work in us. It is God who took our potential and built it and put into it divine purpose and is allowing us now to be used of Him. It is all God and so to God be the glory.

We have no business being stuck up. Furthermore, when you're gifted, just stop and think about it. When you have giftedness inside of you, that gift is to bless other people. If I have a gift, the gift isn't for me, the gift is for other folks. And so what business do I have getting conceited about a gift that blesses other people? If God has blessed you with the gift of encouragement, then you have to find somebody and encourage them. They're the one that leaves happy and you and I were just a vessel used to deliver encouragement to somebody else.

They are the recipient of the gift. You have nothing to be conceited about. But if we don't live in the humility that the Word calls us to, see the Bible says humble yourself. Humility doesn't happen to you out of the clear blue sky. You have to choose to walk in humility. I've heard some folk well-intentioned, but they say, well, truly humble people don't even know they're humble.

Of course they do. I think I know what you mean, but you're putting it wrong. Humble people know they're humble because they chose to walk in humility. The Bible says humble yourself under the mighty hand of God and He will exalt you in due time.

You better know you're humble because you've got to make the decision. I walk recognizing that I am limited. I serve an infinite God, but I'm a finite being. Yes, I have strengths, but I also have weaknesses and idiosyncrasies and things that if God doesn't help me, I'm going to make a mess of my life.

So I have no business being stuck up and I walk in humility. And those are the people God can use. Coming up next, the rest of today's Destined for Victory message, making the most of what you have with Pastor Paul Shepherd. PastorPaul.net is the place to go to hear Pastor Paul's recent messages on demand. You'll also find a host of great resources at our online store, including books and DVD messages from Pastor Paul.

Learn more about the ministry and about all the great things friends like you are doing through your prayers and financial support. Go to PastorPaul.net. And if you love listening to Destined for Victory, we know you'll enjoy watching selected video clips by subscribing to Pastor Paul on YouTube.

To find more details and links to all of his social media sites, visit PastorPaul.net. Now, with more from the parable of the talents, here again is Pastor Paul with a second half of today's message, making the most of what you have. I've seen arrogant Christians. It's a sad sight. I've seen people who don't understand that the gifting comes from God and it is for His purposes not to make you large and in charge.

And I've seen it. It's a sad sight. Now that God has blessed my ministry to kind of be expanded and reach further and what have you, I'm meeting some folks and I'm telling you there are some people in the body of Christ, thank God for those that are learning to walk in humility, but we got some superstars in the body of Christ who think they're all that. Some of the folks, you enjoy their music. I promise you some of them are wonderful and humble and in good churches and learning the word and thank God for them. And there are some folks, the best thing you can do is buy their CD, but do not meet them.

I promise you that. I met a few of them. And I said, oh, Lord, you're gifted, but you need an attitude adjustment. Somebody told you wrong. Some of them, you don't want to meet them.

I promise you, you will come away disillusioned. Not only singers, I met some preachers like that. When they were small in their own eyes, God could use them and other folk could have a decent conversation with them, but now that they are somebody and it's quite a different thing. There are people who years ago, I'd be at some conference just as an attender, a young pastor aspiring to be used of God and learn and one of the speakers, they'd be somewhere in the vicinity afterwards and I walked up to several of them and just wanted to shake their hand and say, this is a real blessing in my life and my name is Paul Sheppard and I'm pastoring a little church in California. The Lord sent me there.

I'm just believing God. And I just want to tell you how much I preach. And I have been looked through, not looked at, looked through because I wasn't on their radar.

I wasn't up on that level. And so the attitude was, who are you and why are you talking to me? Now, you wouldn't know it from the preaching because the preaching is powerful. But when you meet them, you say, oh, Lord, I tell you what, I'm going to put you on my prayer list. And now I've had the experience of coming full circle because now that God has chosen to expand our radio ministry and what have you, and I'm going around the country and speaking in these large conferences and what have you. Now I get to meet some of these same folk and we're in the green room behind the stadium before the thing starts and all that and all the muckety muck back there.

And what have you. And so now God has chosen to put me in that room. And now when they see me, they're grinning and smiling. And oh, oh, yes. And I feel like saying, oh, no. Oh, no, you're not up in my face now. Ten years ago, when you didn't know what a Paul Shepherd was, I could hardly get a hello out of you.

And now you won't swap cards and e-mail. I'm still got you on my prayer list. And so you have to choose to walk in humility. You have to choose to remember you're just somebody God chooses to use with your gifts and ability and nobody special.

Here's the way Paul put it in Second Corinthians Chapter four. All of us are the pot and God has put a treasure in the pot. Folk are excited about the treasure, not the pot. They honor the pot. God tells you to do that. Thank God and respect people because of the way God uses it.

The Bible teaches us how to honor those to whom it is due. But the bottom line is what is changing people's lives is not the pot. It's the treasure. It's the treasure that makes the difference. It's the treasure that changes their lives. The pot they thank God for. But when your pot cracks, they'll find another pot with another treasure and keep on gleaning. And I told you what they're going to do with you one day.

They're going to take your pot out to the edge of town, drop it in a hole, sing a song, throw dirt on it, go back and eat chicken and potato salad. So we got to learn to walk in humility. But I want you to take inventory of your gifts and abilities so that you can know the areas in which God is expecting a return on his investment. Take inventory. What are my strengths? What are my spiritual gifts?

What are my natural abilities? What are the things that God has obviously put in me according to his divine purpose? Also, look at your passions. Look at the passions of your heart once you're prayerful and surrender to God and say, Lord, I only want to be used of you. Then look at your passions and allow the Lord to purify your motives and everything. But in that process, say, Lord, if there's a way you can use the things I'm passionate about, I want you to reveal it to me because I want you to get a full return on your investment in my life. Look at your dreams and see if these are dreams that in fact God has given, not things you have dreamed up, but things that God has dreamed down into your spirit and given you a preview of that which is to come. And look at these elements in your life and see what it is that God will do to bring about his purpose in your life.

And so Paul put it this way in Colossians 3 17, whatever you do in word indeed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. And in order to do that, you're going to need to know what is in you. So make sure that you have taken inventory of the gifts and abilities God's placed in your life. Secondly, I want to encourage you to set aside time to devote your talents to ministry. Now the fact is, just like with money, God gives you money to first sow back into the kingdom, and then he will bless you to know how to use that which remains.

The same is true of your talent. If you will sow your abilities first into the kingdom, God then will help you to organize the rest of your life and help you to know how to maximize it where your vocation is concerned and all of that. So that God will actually bless the work of your hands because you have first dedicated your time and your abilities to the kingdom of God.

Seek ye first, Jesus said, the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and then everything you need the Lord will add to you. So given that kingdom first principle, I want to encourage you to set aside time and devote it to ministry. Now when I was talking about time in this series, I said that I believe Christians would do well to take at least a tithe of our waking hours and dedicate it to spiritual development and ministry.

And so most of us awake somewhere around 120 hours in a given week. And so if you will devote 12 or more hours per week to your own spiritual development, to worship, to private Bible reading and devotion, and then devote some of that time to ministry. And say, Lord, you've given me abilities and I want to give them back to you as an act of service and ministry. Now let's make sure you don't get hung up on the word ministry. A lot of folks think ministry, they think preacher or missionary or something like that.

Christian school teacher or something like that. No, no, I want you to expand your definition of ministry. Here's the best working definition of ministry I can give you.

Jot this down or memorize it and really keep it in your heart. Ministry is everything we do out of love for God to win the lost, edify believers, and meet people's needs. Ministry is everything we do out of love for God to win the lost, edify believers, and meet people's needs. Now given that definition, you can see that ministry goes far beyond the pulpit.

It goes far beyond the missions trip. It goes far beyond being on staff of a Christian school. All of those are expressions of ministry. But ministry goes far beyond that. Ministry is any and everything I do based on motivated by my love for God that will help contribute to the saving of souls, the equipping of believers, and meeting people's needs in the name of the Lord. And with that in mind, I want to encourage you, there is a ministry for every one of us. All of us are called to ministry. Not all of us are called to vocational ministry or specialized ministry, but all of us are called to ministry. Any growing church has a constant need for people to volunteer their time and their efforts to serve. Any growing church understands that the only way a big vision can be met is not by a few staff people, but by everyone being equipped to do the work of ministry. In fact, let me help you understand something that a lot of people have missed in the Scriptures. It's found in Ephesians chapter 4. And this will really help put in perspective what my role is and the role of people like me in the body of Christ. Ephesians chapter 4, beginning with verse 11, it says, it was He, speaking of Christ, who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, some to be pastors and teachers. Now, a lot of us think that's it. Those are the ministers.

But look at what it goes on to say. He gave those categories of people, why? Verse 12, to prepare God's people, that's you, for works of service so that the body of Christ may be built up. See, we are called to be coaches and equipers. The ministry is really done by you.

This is a holy huddle. This is all of us getting together, getting our instructions, getting our act together, having the Holy Spirit point out through the Word what's still not right in our lives, what He wants to correct and purify and change, and getting us together and giving us our marching orders so that when we leave church, when we stop listening to the message that blessed us, we now go out and practice, do what God says, and we are equipped, He said, or prepared for works of service. All of us do the ministry. And so we've got to get away from that old model of there are a few ministers and then the rest of us watching them do all the work. We pull on them so that they can come minister to us. No, they're ministering to you that you might get right with God and then that you might go out and help others get right with God by the way you serve. God has given each of us unique gifts and abilities.

We have varying degrees of financial resources, varying amounts of time on earth. But all of us have the same spiritual mandate to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations. That's Pastor Paul Shepherd's mission here at Destined for Victory to share the Gospel all over the world through these radio and internet broadcasts. Your faithful prayer and financial support makes it possible. And in appreciation of your generous gift today, Pastor Paul will send you his booklet, He's Alive.

Included in this special resource are four compelling reasons why Christians believe in the resurrection of Christ, reasons that can help you explain the reality of the resurrection to those who may have doubts. That's He's Alive, a booklet from Pastor Paul and our gift to you this month by request for your generous gift to Destined for Victory. Just call us at 855-339-5500 or visit pastorpaul.net to make a safe and secure donation online. You can also mail your gift to Destined for Victory, post office box 1767, Fremont, California 94538.

Again the address is Destined for Victory, box 1767, Fremont, California 94538. And also if you need prayer today, the Destined for Victory ministry team would like to join you in prayer. So from the homepage, pastorpaul.net, use the contact feature and let us know how we can pray for you. While you're there, be sure to ask for Pastor Paul's monthly letter of encouragement, yours at no cost or obligation. Our churches have to stop having football stadium dynamics. Here's what I mean.

In a football stadium, you have 50,000 people or more in the stands desperately needing exercise, watching 22 people on the field who desperately need rest. That's tomorrow when Pastor Paul Shepherd shares his message, making the most of what you have. Until then remember, he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion. In Christ, you are destined for victory.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-29 17:33:38 / 2023-04-29 17:43:00 / 9

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