Multiplying God’s Investment In You

When someone speaks of signs of the Lord’s coming we get excited. The Lord noted a few signs of the times of His appearing, but He bore down on two things–staying alert and giving Him a good return on the gifts He’s placed in you.

We need to be busy using what He’s given us to grow the Kingdom. Jesus told a story about a master who entrusted three different men with different amounts of his money (Matthew 25). He didn’t expect five talent results from the one and two talent servants. But, he expected at least interest on his money. They could do that with no effort at all.

Get With It!

The five-talent guy went AT ONCE and started trading. It doesn’t say this about the two others. One of the things that separate those who are fruitful from others is that they don’t procrastinate.

The coming of the Lord also promises a “settling up.” “the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them.” (Matt. 25:19, ESV). God isn’t going to simply verify that “we didn’t smoke and we didn’t chew and we didn’t go with girls who did.”

He’s looking for a return on His investment in us! Uh, oh!

The five-talent guy was happy because he could report that he had doubled his master’s money. The two-talent guy, too. Both were commended. “Well done good and faithful servant.” There was joy and more responsibility awaiting them. He didn’t berate the two-talent fellow because he didn’t gain as much as the five-talent guy. He didn’t expect him to. He maximized what he had.

Another Fellow Slinks In

The one talent guy, though. In fear he dug a hole and hid his talent. Fear was only part of the problem. Laziness and poor character figured into the equation also. (25:26) He described the others as good and faithful. This bird was wicked and slothful.

If we’re not making our talent work for the Lord we’re a negative and not a positive. If someone gives me $1000 to invest and I do nothing with it but I give it back at the end of a year I’ve lost money for that person. Inflation! Recently, he would have lost 3-9% of the value of his money if Ihad done nothing because of inflation.

Look at the audacity of this guy. He accuses his master of wrongdoing and supposedly that was the source of his fear. Baloney! His wicked and lazy heart was the problem, not the master who trusted him.

A Violation of Trust

That’s it isn’t it? Failure to invest what God has given us is a violation of His trust. It’s putting our ways and business before the Lord’s business. He is the Lord. He “pays our salary.” If we’re on the phone all the time and surfing the Internet while never doing anything for the Kingdom we’re taking from the Lord.

So, there are at least three enemies to productivity in the Kingdom—wickedness, laziness, and fear. 25:26, NLT “But the master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy servant!”

Even a minimal, safe investment would have given some interest. But, all he did was brush the dirt off the money and offer it back to his master. What was he doing all this time? Nothing? Most likely he was full of his own business. Maybe the master provided food and board. This fellow was going to be out on his ear. Fired!

Burying Potential

Lord, I don’t want to bury what You’ve given me to invest. That’s it, isn’t it? We say, “I don’t want to bury my talent,” but this talent is the Master’s, not ours. He entrusted us with it to use in His Kingdom and make it grow.

What is the “least we could do?” Maybe tithe, attend services regularly and encourage our brothers and sisters. Spend some time each day in worship and prayer because that makes a difference in heavenly places.

Fruit-bearing isn’t that complicated. You don’t have to go to Lower Slobovia as a missionary to bear fruit (unless the Lord calls you).
You can:

ESV Matt. 10:42
“And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.” That covers nursery workers and lots of others.

“The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward.” Matt. 10:41

If You Want More, Be Industrious With What You Have?

So, they take away the lazy guy’s talent and give it to the 10-talent guy. Unjust? If you had money to invest, which one of these fellows would you want to invest it? Would you leave it with the lazy fellow out of “kindness” or would you give it to an investment person who could make some money for you?

Sometimes we criticize people for some of their ways of doing things, (and we should stay true to the Word), but those people are doing something while the other fearful, lazy, preoccupied-with-their-own business ones only criticize.

Unless the critic is in the battle for the Lord, does he have the right to an audience for his grumbling?

The master gives that one talent to the man who is going to use it and make him a profit. The no-return-on-the-master’s-investment servant? Out on his ear! “25:29 To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away. 30 Now throw this useless servant into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’” NLT

This is serious. Serious! I had better be working to make the Master a profit on his investment. (And because I am saved, why shouldn’t I want to be fruitful?)

Those three enemies always confront you when I want to multiply the Lord’s investment in me—fear, preoccupation with my own advancement, and laziness. Push past them.

It’s better to fail than to hide your talent and do nothing.

“Hey God, I’m Doing You a Favor!”

Phyllis and I became the pastors of a small country church in Arkansas the week I turned 22. I still had a semester of college left and we made the 180-mile round trip each weekend. Then we served as assistant pastor at my home church in Nashville, Arkansas.

By the time I was 25 we were pastoring in Texas and I was ready for ordination, which is the third and final step for pastoral recognition in our movement.

I’ll never forget the night of the ordination service. At the end, one of my leaders placed his hands on my head as I knelt praying. I hadn’t expected anything special, but I got it anyway.

You see, I showed up for that meeting pretty beat up. Pastoring a church looks easy to those who have never done it. I’ll agree. It’s as easy as piloting a Boeing 767 in a thunderstorm. I like people to like me and be happy with me, and even in small churches there are always a few people who wouldn’t be happy, even if the Lord Jesus was the pastor of their church.

I’ve remarked to my wife more than once, “I’m glad I only have to deal with that person at church. Their spouse has to deal with them all the time, and I don’t imagine that’s a picnic.” And there are some husbands who are mad at their wives, but they are afraid to take it out on them so they take it out on the pastor.

Please don’t misunderstand me. Some of the best people I ever met were in those churches. If you’re reading this, you were one of them. The Texas church is still one of the highlights of our ministry.

But, the night I knelt in that ordination service, I must confess, I figured God was getting a bargain when He got me. “Gave up what I was planning for the ministry. Put up with being a punching bag for unhappy individuals. Willing to live on a minimal salary. Yes, sir Lord. You’re really lucky to have me.”

Now, I didn’t say that out loud because I was afraid God would give me a “Gibbs slap” on the back of my head. But, I felt that way.

Until the old brother prayed for me. Continue reading

Chariots Of Fire

378px-Eric_LiddellThis week-end I watched the film, “Chariots of Fire” for the first time in a long time. It moved me again. That must be the greatest theme song of any movie ever. (

For those of you who’ve forgotten the plot, or maybe you weren’t even hatched when this winner of four academy awards came out in 1981, here’s a quick summary:

“Based on a true story, Chariots of Fire is the internationally acclaimed Oscar-winning drama of two very different men who compete as runners in the 1924 Paris Olympics.

Eric Liddell (Ian Charleson), a serious Christian Scotsman, believes that he has to succeed as a testament to his undying religious faith. Harold Abrahams (Ben Cross), is a Jewish Englishman who wants desperately to be accepted and prove to the world that Jews are not inferior. The film crosscuts between each man’s life as he trains for the competition, fueled by these very different desires.”  (

From the role of the Christian, Liddell, two powerful things leaped out for me. One was when his devout sister tried to persuade him to stop running. In the film Eric answers, “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.”

“When I run I feel His pleasure.”

In the film his father, J.D. Liddell, a missionary to China, says to him, “You can praise God by peeling a spud if you peel it to perfection. Don’t compromise. Compromise is a language of the devil. Run in God’s name and let the world stand back and in wonder.” Continue reading

Do You Think God Is Dumber Than You Are?

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If You Don’t Use It You’re Going To Lose It

Imagine that you wake up one morning with this terrible crick in your neck. Just as you get into gear with your complaining, trying to coax a little pity out of your wife, you notice that your pillow is a couple of inches higher than normal.

What is this? You look under it and see that the Tooth Fairy left $6000 for you the night before. Yes!

So, you decide to invest it. You’ve heard about this fellow who is a really good broker, hard-working and wise. He’s a bit expensive but by all accounts his results are always good.

You invest $5000 with him.

Then there is this new fellow. You don’t know a lot about him but investing is gambling, so you place $1000 with him to see what he can do. You do worry a bit, though, when you see that his name is “Lazy Jones.” Continue reading

Chicken-the Original Meal On Wheels?

I think chicken must have been the original meal on wheels—or meal on feet, if you will.

Just think, those feather balls were just the right size for a family of four. I can imagine my friend Ugh!, the caveman, chasing one for dinner. The amount of calories that Ugh! expended in pursuing the pre-historic chicken equaled the amount he took in when he ate his fourth of the bird.

The perfect food.

And chasing chickens proved to be a lot safer than stalking saber-tooth tigers. They didn’t have teeth. And what advantage would it be to down a tiger, anyway? You kill it and cook it. When someone asks you what it tastes like, you say, “Chicken.” So, if it tastes like chicken anyway, why not chase the less lethal variety?

Honestly, if not for eating, what good is a chicken? You won’t find anything much dumber. I guess they keep the grasshopper population under control but that’s not usually a big problem in most places. They can be smelly and you sure have to watch where you step when they’ve been around.

Have you ever wondered what a chicken thinks about humans, though? I’m not sure a chicken thinks very much, but if two of them could converse, their talk might go like this:

“Harvey, I just can’t understand why God made humans. What good are they? They just take up useful space on the earth. You can’t even eat them.”

“I know what you mean, Ralph. And they stink! You can’t even walk across a road without getting creamed by one of those stinky, loud machines they ride around in all time. And just what do they contribute to the world? Kids, kids, and more kids. They take, but what do they give?”

“And Harvey,” here Ralph lowered his voice. “They’re cannibals! You bring a chick into the world and he ends up at McDonalds as a McNugget. I can hardly bear to think of it.”

“Or Chick-filet!” Harvey wails. “No, I just don’t see why God put humans on the earth.”

Now, you’re wondering, “How in the world is David going to get a spiritual application for that story.” Hang on! I’m thinking.

It’s funny how easy it is for us to maximize our value and emphasize what happens to us, while we minimize others and what happens to them. If we think chickens are useless, except for lunch, chickens may think that humans are dangerous, but not so important. They could exist without us.

How often do I discount what someone else does and think it unimportant, while what I do, well, that’s another story? “I’m the center of the world,” think I.

It’s not a question of devaluing what I do; that’s silly. But, I should give equal value to what my brother does, because it’s also important. And not just to him. It’s important for me, too.

I catch myself undervaluing people who irritate me or who I consider less intelligent or less capable. On the other hand, I feel like a silly chicken when I’m with someone more gifted than I.

We’ve got to remember. We’re not to compare ourselves with each other. We compare ourselves with what God created us to be. Then if we “measure up” it won’t be by downing someone else or feeling inferior ourselves.

If God created me a chicken, I need to concentrate on alleviating the grasshopper population, blessing people with good meals, and getting to the other side of the road. (Plus, laying an egg from time to time).

What has God created you to be? Don’t try to get your value by comparing yourself to someone you consider less than yourself. Compare yourself to the standard of what you can be in Jesus, and what he’s created you to be. Then you can appreciate your brother, and yourself in Christ.

And it will keep you working to be even better at what you were created to be.

“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

“We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. (Rom. 12:3-7, NIV)


“The wonders of grace exceed the wonders of nature; and what is discovered of God by revelation is much greater than what is discovered by reason.”
Matthew Henry