There are many in the church today, who are not using their gifts. There are many who sit on the sidelines week after week instead of getting in the game. For many, the reason they sit watching idle, as the pastor and other staff members feed the flock, is because they do not understand we are all to be doing the work of ministry (Eph 4).
However, there are others who are sitting by watching idly because they are fearful, not knowing the love, mercy, and grace God has extended to those who are His people. Since they are ignorant of God’s love, mercy, and grace, they see Him as one who deals out wrath on those who do not perform up to His standard. So then, instead of trying to exercise their gifts, they freeze, like a deer in the headlights, not realizing what God has given them is theirs to be used for the furtherance of the kingdom. In not realizing what God has given them is theirs to use, they prove they do not understand their masters actions.
We meet a man like this in the parable of the talents. It is found Matthew 25:14-30 and reads accordingly:
14 “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. 15 To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ (ESV)
The point Jesus makes here in this parable is that those who are Christs must work diligently with the gifts entrusted to them. Everyone of Jesus’ followers have been endowed with a gift to be used in service to the body, those gifts differ according to ability, but, nevertheless, they must be put into service. In the kingdom of God, there is no room for benchwarmers.
Those who take what they have been given, such as the men in the parable, and put it to use, prove they believe their master is loving, merciful, and gracious because there is a chance they will fail and lose his money, but they take the risk nonetheless. They also recognize that what God has given them is theirs to use.
However, the man who does not put his gifts to use, proves he does not truly know God. For if he did, he would understand that God expects much from His people, while at the same time He is also loving, merciful, and gracious when they fail. He would also understand that what God has given him is his to use.
So then, as God’s people, we must put our gifts to use in His church and world. If we do not, we may prove to be like the last man in the parable, an unbeliever.
So then, I ask: How are you putting the gifts God has entrusted to you to work? How are you participating in the ministry of the church? If you are not participating, are you disregarding what God has called you to do out of ignorance, or are you not participating because you are afraid of God, not recognizing He is a loving, gracious, and merciful God?