A.W. Tozer quote, being critical is not a spiritual gift, cannot define Christianity in negative terms, criticizing others, deforms the soul, faith needs to have practical application, freedom, God is a Sower, God's trust is God's test, impressing God, Jesus, Luke 19:12-24, making the most of our investment, Master, Matthew 25:21, negative faith, Occupy Movement, occupy until I return, pragmateuomai, pragmatic, Rick Joyner quote
A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return. So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Do business till I come.'” Luke 19:12-13
It was Jesus who instituted the first “Occupy Movement“. Except He didn’t instruct His followers to sit around and stink until someone paid them to leave. No, the Lord gave each an allotment of wages, talents, gifts, and abilities and told them to “occupy or do business until He returned.” The word here for “occupy” is pragmateuomai. It means to be practical or pragmatic with what the Lord gives. What the Lord gives each of us to use in this life varies from person to person. In the end, I believe we all have something of value to give back to our generation. In other words, if our faith and beliefs do not have any practical application to our life and to the life of other people… then what use is it. If you don’t use it, you will lose it.
The interesting thing about this story is that time did pass. The Master did eventually return and want a return on His investment. Two of the three individuals did invest what the Lord gave them. The third man didn’t lose his investment. He simply hid it in a handkerchief. I call this “hanky faith”. It is a do nothing type of faith. It is the false belief that if you do nothing relatively wrong, then you are doing right. Listen to the third man’s words…
“Sir, here is your mina (investment); I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth. I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man. You take out what you did not put in and reap what you did not sow.” Luke 19:20-21
This man is in serious trouble. He makes matters worse by opening his mouth. Not only has he failed to make an investment with the Master’s money, he insults and blames the Master for his personal failures. He accuses the Master/King of being a “hard man“. Yet, the Master just richly rewarded the two previous individuals for making wise investments. He further attacks the King’s character! He claims the King had so intimidated him that he was afraid to act… so he just hid his investment.
Hanky Faith Does Not Impress God
There are many today who believe that if they simply do nothing wrong, they will gain entrance into the kingdom of God. This parable of Jesus corrects this type of thinking… according to the Lord, doing nothing means gaining nothing. If you think that you are going to impress God in the end by telling Him about all the things you did not do….you are in for a surprise. God will not be asking about what you did not do, He will be asking about what you did with your life. The Lord desires a return on His investment in your life.
Someone once said, “The Christian life is not to be lived in the negative column of the ledger; it is to be lived on the plus side… the positive side of life.” There are a lot of people who feel very superior to other people because they do not do what other people do… while at the same time they have never thought about getting busy doing something good for the Lord. They sit at home with a pious posture and folded hands criticizing others. Their lives never register positively on the world in any way. If you ask these folks what they believe… they will start off by telling you what they don’t do and what they don’t believe.
Hey listen…. Being critical is not a spiritual gift. If you are not doing anything, don’t stand back and criticize someone who is doing something, even if it isn’t perfect in your eyes. Critical people never attempt to serve God by helping someone else. It never occurs to them to get up off their “blessed assurance” and go out to visit someone who is lonely or help someone financially. But they sure feel called to be critical of people who look, act, or talk differently… and call it religion and faith. It never dawns on them to love, help, and pray for others outside of their doors.
Unfortunately, we define the Christian life in negative terms. Christianity cannot be defined by recounting what it is not. Believers are called to believe. We sometimes hear people remark, “He is a Christian man. He does not smoke, drink, curse or chew and neither does he run around with girls who do.” But Christianity is not a matter of what we do not do, it is a matter of what we do. If the only way people can tell that you are a Christian is by the things you do not do, then you need to take a second look at your life.
When Jesus Christ returns as King and you stand before him, He will not say, “Well avoided, good and faithful servant.” He will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:21).
It is a Matter of Trust
You are not going to be rewarded by God for avoiding sin and doing nothing. His rewards only come to those who faithfully work at using their God-given abilities to make a difference in this world. Please notice the Master displayed great trust in His servants. God is a Sower! He gave them His own resources — He did not keep checking on them. He did not stand over them and watch their every move. He didn’t even leave instructions on how they were to invest. Here is the rub with God – He trusts us enough to not interfere. Wow! If we need further instructions… we can ask!
As Rick Joyner echoes…. “It is the best and worst thing about God. The best thing about God is that he gives us freedom. It is also the worst thing about God…. He leaves us to our own devises. We can live life any way we choose, but we also know that there is a day coming when we will have to give an account of what we have done with our lives.”
How have we used what God has given us? God’s trust is God’s test. He gives us complete freedom and then watches what we do with it. He guides us but never forces us. That means we are responsible for the choices we make.
Blessings – From God’s Incubator,
Pingback: Counting the Cost | Beltway Outsiders