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Faithfulness vs. Performance

Leading the Way / Michael Youssef
The Truth Network Radio
April 1, 2022 8:00 am

Faithfulness vs. Performance

Leading the Way / Michael Youssef

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April 1, 2022 8:00 am

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Dr. Michael Youssef with a question or two for you to consider today. Every single one of us has been given spiritual and material assets. Every one of us have been entrusted with the management of the spiritual and material assets. None of us can say, well, I really don't have anything to manage. I don't have anything to invest. And so the question is, how do you invest your life's assets?

How do you manage your life's assets? How faithful are you? How faithful am I in our stewardship of the resources and gifts that God placed in our hearts, including the very breath that we take.

That's a gift from God. Welcome to Leading the Way with pastor and author, Dr. Michael Youssef. Today, a pointed challenge that could change the direction of your life as you evaluate if you are merely fulfilling a duty or if you're being completely faithful in your relationship with Christ. Questions Dr. Youssef not only challenges you to consider, but also himself in his own walk, in his own service to Christ. Now, I hope that you're able to listen to this entire Leading the Way audio message.

It's appropriately called Faithfulness versus Performance. But if you're not able to stay until the end, do remember that you can learn ways to stream Dr. Youssef's messages at ltw.org. We don't want you to miss a thing.

Since you're here with us right now, though, listen along to Dr. Michael Youssef's challenging words. Faithfulness taught many times about the importance of faithfulness, of diligence, of hard work, faithfulness with our resources, prudent with our investments of life, all of life, not just money, faithful worship, faithful stewardship with all of our spiritual and material assets about moral and ethical lessons regarding hard work and diligence and faithfulness. So you can begin preparing by turning to Matthew 25 verses 14 to 30. In this parable, Jesus teaches us that there are two kinds of people. There are those who are faithful and those who are not, those who are diligent and hard workers and those who are not. And thus the faithful being rewarded and the unfaithful were not.

The other kind who are not faithful, basically Jesus called them lazy and they squandered their stewardship and therefore they judged harshly. Please listen carefully. This parable is going to challenge some of us.

I hope you're ready for the challenge. But I also know by the same token it's going to encourage many of you because I know many of you and I know how faithful you are. So you will be encouraged.

But the main point is this. Every single one of us has been given spiritual and material assets. Every one of us have been entrusted with the management of these spiritual and material assets. None of us can say, well, I really don't have anything to manage.

I don't have anything to invest. And so the question is, how do you invest your life's assets? How do you manage your life's assets? How faithful are you? How faithful am I in our stewardship of the resources and gifts that God placed in our hearts, including the very breath that we take? That's a gift from God.

And the fact is this. Every one of us is responsible for the management of these assets, spiritual and material that he placed in our hands. Everything in life is a stewardship. Everything in life has been given to us. We have nothing that has not been given to us.

Everything in life has been entrusted for us to manage for the owner. Therefore, faithfulness in life begins with an attitude. Because you and I are either faithful or we are not. You cannot be half faithful any more than a woman can be half pregnant.

It's an impossibility. Either you are faithful or you are not. In fact, often those who are faithful in the walk with the Lord, they are faithful in every area in life because faithfulness is an attitude. Faithfulness is a total job. Someone would say, well, I am faithful in church attendance.

But if I'm honest with myself, I'm really not faithful with my money. I'm not faithful with my employer's hours and work hours and I'm not faithful here and I'm not faithful here. No, that means you're not faithful. It just means that you have developed the habit of church attendance. Are you with me? You have to be faithful because faithfulness is a total job or you're not.

Look at the words of Jesus with me. He is saying, although assets may vary, five, two and one, stewardship size may vary. But in this parable, we see this example that either you're faithful or you're not. The two stewards, the first two, had two different amounts.

They're two different sizes stewardship and it doesn't matter. The third one was not faithful. It really makes no difference whether he had one or he had five or he had a hundred. Faithfulness does not mean that I don't fumble and stumble in life on occasions. Faithfulness does not mean that you do not get tired at times and you're not able to do some things that you would like to do or you need a break. Faithfulness is not synonymous with performance. Faithfulness, and I'm going to show you the difference because a lot of Christians in churches, they mix them up. They think faithfulness and performance one and the same.

They're not. In fact, I'll show you from this parable that the master is not checking on these three people every minute of every day or every week or every month or every year. But rather, he waited till the very end because faithfulness is what?

Attitude. Now let's look closely to this parable again and see what Jesus is saying here. He's saying two of the three servants had the right attitude toward faithfulness. The third one did not. And the one who had the wrong attitude about faithfulness lost everything. Did you get that?

Lost everything. I pray to God that He will use this, His own words, His own parable to challenge some of us today and indeed encourage many of you. Jesus said, the kingdom of heaven. He's been talking throughout the context of that chapter about the kingdom of heaven. What is the kingdom of heaven like? He said it's like a king or a wealthy person or powerful person who went away for a while.

His absence from his kingdom. And so he assigns the management responsibility to three different people. Notice they don't all have the same level of responsibility. They don't have equal amounts. They don't all have the exact thing that the other one has. No.

One got five, one got two, one got one. Don't miss this. Don't miss this. The master does not tell them how to manage it. The master does not tell them when to manage it.

The master does not tell them where to invest it. But all that the master was looking for is one thing. How faithful were they with what he'd given them? How thoughtful were they with what he handed to them?

How diligent they were in investing what he gave them? Let me say it again. Faithfulness is not the same as performance. There are lots of churches filled with people who are into performance, but not faithfulness. You see, performance is trying to earn your way to heaven, which you cannot anyway. But faithfulness is how to use what you've been given. Performance is trying to earn God's love, which you cannot do. But faithfulness is recognizing that you are only a steward, that you are only a manager and not an owner. Performance is an outward expression. Faithfulness is an inner attitude. Performance is a competition, but faithfulness is a lifestyle. There are four things here I want to share with you from this parable.

And they all begin with the letter R, responsibility, reaction, reckoning and reward. I hope you're impressed. That's my performance.

I was impressed with me. The responsibilities that each of us has. The reaction that we exhibit toward that responsibility. And thirdly, the reckoning day which we all will face. And finally the reward that some of us are going to get. First, the responsibility.

Jesus is trying to tell us that every one of us, every one of us, have been given responsibilities. We have been given spiritual assets. We've been given material assets. We have been given time assets, which we all get exactly the same amount.

These assets vary from one to one to one. God is not a socialist. Did you get that? He does not treat us all like we are cookie cutters. We've been made by a cookie cutter.

No. He knows you and me by name, by temperament. He knows everything about us and He treats us individually. That's why socialism is from the devil. I don't want to get political here, but I'm just going to level with you. You see, God is a fair God. God is a just God. And God will not ask us to be responsible for that which He has not given us.

Are you with me? These three servants were given three different majors. Even the first two faithful ones were not given exactly the same amount. One was given five, the other was given two.

And they both doubled what they were given. You notice the Master never asked the one who was given two, why didn't you bring five? That's not our God.

That's not the way He will deal with us. Now there are some Christians who literally waste their lives thinking about what they don't have, what they were not given, what they should have received, why they're not given what somebody else was given, instead of being grateful to God, thankful to God for whatever He's given you. Secondly, the reaction that each of us will have toward that responsibility that we're given. The first two represented faithful believers.

Listen carefully please. Those who are faithful know that their faithfulness is not a drudgery, but a joy and a delight. You see those who are faithful, to them faithfulness is not a duty or something I've got to get it over and done with, but they can't wait to wake up in the morning and go to serve God in whatever profession He gave them in order to glorify God in what they do. Those to whom faithfulness is not a chore or a burden, but rather a feeling of being honored and privileged that is faithfulness. The first two immediately began thinking how to maximize the blessings that they were given, how to maximize what the stewardship that God gave them. The last one spent his time moaning and complaining, sulking and souring and criticizing.

It's like someone said, those who are busy pulling at the oars have no time to rock the boat. They say, Amen belongs here. But the question is this, what is your reaction to what God has placed in your hands? Is it joy and gratitude and thanksgiving, or is it a disappointment and indifference? Is it delight and diligence or deflection and disappointment?

Please listen to me. Your reaction to your God-given responsibilities is an indication of the level of your faithfulness. If your reaction is, I don't have many gifts, I really don't have the right gift, I don't have any important gift at all, I don't have the gifts that so-and-so has, then you will sit day after day like that third man in the parable making excuses as to why you cannot maximize your responsibilities. The responsibilities we all have. The reaction we exhibit toward that responsibility.

And thirdly, the reckoning that we will all face, every one of us. Jesus does not tell us the length of the time in which the master was absent. He does not tell us how long he's been away, how long has he entrusted those three people. He said, well, why not?

Why didn't he tell us, you know, if he's away 10 years, 20 years of... I'll tell you why. It's irrelevant. It's irrelevant.

Makes no difference. What is important is that sooner or later, the day of accountability, the day of reckoning is coming to every one of us, every one of us. When the master said to the first and the second servant, well done, good and faithful servants. He was commending them, not for being faithful for a certain period of time where they labored hard more than other times, he is not commending them for the times when they were more active than other times.

No, no, no, no. He was commending them for their attitude of faithfulness throughout life. You say, Michael, how do you know that? Well, glad you asked. It's verse 23, Matthew 25.

I don't make up the stuff. He called them what? Good and faithful. Can you say those two words with me? Good and faithful. You see, these are character traits for excellence. This is the attitude of excellence. And excellence of character and attitude is always expressed itself in service.

Now, don't miss what I'm going to tell you. The holy and righteous judge praises the servants for their faithfulness. That always gets to me.

It really does. He opens my eyes to see that I'm a sinner and desperate for repentance. He saves me. He redeems me. He gives me responsibilities and stewardship to manage.

And then he praises me. It's mind boggling to me. Imperfect that we are. Thumbless that we are.

Thumbless that we are. And yet when we are faithful, I exhibit the attitude of faithfulness. He praises us.

Isn't that amazing? Listen carefully. Those who are into performance, those who are into the praise of people doing things so people can praise them, those who are doing things supposedly charitable for self-agrainesment, they're not going to be praised.

They already got their praise here from man. They're not going to get it in heaven. When the master handed out these talents, he did not say to them, here, go and enjoy it and spend it all on yourself or here you go. Go and play it safe or here you go. Go and sit on it.

No, no, no, no. He said, use it. Invest it. Grow it. Multiply it. But there's something else I want to tell you about this third servant that I don't want you to miss.

Please don't miss this. This servant, the third one, he does not represent the atheists or the agnostics or the reprobates. No, no, no, no, no, sir. You notice he recognized the master's rightful ownership? Sometimes I hear a lot of sanctimonious people who say, God owns everything. But God gets very little of anything. God owns it all. Well, what are you doing with God's own and go away?

Are you doing anything for God? He did not waste his talent that he was given on immoral lifestyle or even selfish pursuits. He didn't. He simply disregarded the stewardship that he's been given.

Hear me right on this one. This man represents the professing Christian. This man represents those in the Christian community who may be members of a church or members of a denomination, but they don't know Jesus on an intimate level.

In reality, they have never understood what it means to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord. Not only that, this servant insulted his master. This servant misjudged his master's character and motive. This servant never knew the master on an intimate level. This servant thought that the master was unfair and unjust.

The responsibilities we all have, the reaction we exhibit to these responsibilities, the reckoning that we all will face, falsely the reward or lack thereof that we will receive. Jesus often taught that in the church, there are wheat and there are tares in the church. There are sheep and there are goats because goats are the closest lookalike to sheep. City slickers may not even can tell the difference, but God can.

There are true believers who are faithful stewards with everything God placed in their hands and there are those who are not. Outwardly it is difficult to tell the difference. Outwardly it is difficult to tell them apart. Outwardly it is difficult to distinguish between them. Outwardly they all look alike.

Outwardly they behave alike. Outwardly they appear to be alike, but his faithful stewards will be rewarded by God himself. The counterfeit, the unfaithful will lose everything and sadly one day they will hear those detestable words, I never knew you, depart from me, you who practice lawlessness. The faithful servants took what they were given and did all they could and doubled their investments, but the unfaithful one did nothing. He did nothing with it.

He just dug a hole, wrapped it, buried it. I told you in the beginning God is not a socialist God. He is a God who sees into the very secrets of our hearts. He knows of our faithfulness and Jesus said he who is faithful with little be faithful with much. I tell people if you're not tithing the dollar you're not going to tithe a million dollars.

That's just that fact. I don't know where you are, but I know there are many of you who are faithful. Whatever you are, as long as you have breath, it's never too late to change. If you say, Lord, I have been unfaithful with what God, I am so sorry, today, let that be your decision. Lord, I want to be a faithful steward. All of the Leading the Way team prays that you will commit to be a faithful servant of Jesus wherever you live and wherever you have influence. Learn more about Dr. Michael Youssef and the tools that he offers to help in your spiritual journey. Visit ltw.org. That's also the place to go to listen to this and any of Dr. Youssef's messages. In fact, you may not be aware that Dr. Youssef also has a weekly television broadcast. So when you visit ltw.org, you can watch those programs.

You can search through the archives, and you can find out where to watch in your own area. In fact, while you're at ltw.org, take just a few moments so you can sign up for Dr. Youssef's daily e-devotional. It's called My Devotional.

It's so easy to get distracted by the things of life. And that's why it's so great to have something that will refocus you on things of eternity. And Dr. Youssef does just that in My Devotional.

It arrives at just about the same time each day. You'll be encouraged to read a few verses from the Bible and be shown by Dr. Youssef how the Bible's words can be practical for life in 2022. Hey, and it's free. So sign up right now when you visit ltw.org. There's also a lot of other great free resources right there, each one designed to encourage you in your spiritual journey of faith.

ltw.org. A ministry representative can help you too. They can be reached at 866-626-4356. That's 866-626-4356. This program is furnished by Leading the Way with Dr. Michael Youssef, passionately proclaiming uncompromising truth.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-13 15:31:54 / 2023-05-13 15:40:02 / 8

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