Great Exchange: Consumed

God has given us everything around us, people, possessions, and even person-hood as a way to develop our character into Christ-likeness, he gives us a chance to give in order to evaluate our Internal Condition, but a renewed character in Christ is always going to have real-life ramifications in how our world is…

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  Move #3: CONSTRUCTED- Our parable gives us one more character, the aptly named third servant who was entrusted with a portion of the Master’s wealth—Unlike the first two, (Matthew 25:18, 24-29) 18 But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. 24 “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’ Notice the paradox of what unfolds. The servant is self-centered making it all about him and he suffers. When had he focused on the master he would have found success. He gets completely consumed by excuses and consumed by the fear of failure. 26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. 28 “‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. 29 For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.
The servant had the same calling as the first two offered to him. The same master was waiting to welcome him, but he missed his calling, too consumed by worry of the world.How many times have you felt that twinge of a calling in your own life? Calling you to step out in faith to use your talents to trumpet what God has done in your life?  Have you ever heard that little voice in the moments of silent telling you to take a step of faith—to give generously, to get involved, to invest?

One stewardship leader laid out what he saw: “I see it a lot people pretending to be something they are not to get something they don’t need…(When all along they miss that they were created to) use what they have to become the people they were meant to be.”

In his book, Run with the Horses, Eugene Peterson tells how he saw some birds teaching their young to fly. Three young swallows were perched on a dead branch that stretched out over a lake. “One adult swallow got alongside the chicks and started shoving them out toward the end of the branch—pushing, pushing, pushing. The end one fell off. Somewhere between the branch and the water below, the wings started working and the fledgling was off on his own. Then the second one. The third one, however, was not to be bullied. At the last possible moment, his grip on the branch loosened just enough so that he swung downward, then tightened again, bulldog tenacious. The parent pecked at the desperately clinging talons until it was more painful for the chick to hang on than risk the insecurities of flying. The grip was released and the wings began pumping. The mature swallow knew what the chick did not—that it would fly—that there was no danger in making it do what it was designed to do.” Peterson writes, “Birds have feet and can walk. Birds have talons and can grasp a branch securely. They can walk; they can cling. But flying is their characteristic action and not until they fly are they living at their best, gracefully and beautifully. Giving is what we do best. It is the air into which we were born. It is the action that was designed into us before our birth. Some people try desperately to hold on to themselves, to live for self. They look so bedraggled and pathetic doing it, hanging on to the dead branch of selfishness and self-centeredness, afraid to risk themselves on the untried wings of giving. Yet many people don’t think they can live generously because they have never tried.” We were created to live generously by giving generously of our time, talents and finances. We were meant to soar.

You were meant to soar. You were meant to fly. You were meant to use things to help people, not use people to get things! Today, will you join me in the GREAT EXCHANGE—join with the Holy Spirit—and let’s start living for what we were created for. To be generous in gratitude, to build a witness to the world, to use our gifts to craft our character—all along with the same promised words looming: “Well done, good and faithful servant! Come and share your master’s happiness!

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