If there was any one area of our lives that was most impacted by the events surrounding 9/11 it would be the area of finances. As a result of those attacks, the financial world was literally sent into a tailspin. Along with it were multitudes of peoples retirement and pension plans. This sudden change in the financial world seems to have spawned many new pundits with advice for how to survive in this uncertain climate. Once again we are reminded of the relevance of God's Word in our lives. The Lord has certainly addressed the topic of finances and investments a number of times in His Word. I would like to direct your attention to the Gospel of Matthew. In the 25th chapter we find the Lord teaching, by way of parables, principles that should govern our investment strategies. There are seven principles that we want to consider this morning.
Read Text: Mt. 25:14-30
I. Principle of Ownership
A. Everything we have belongs to God.
Mt 25:14 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.
B. We are simply stewards of 'His goods'.
C. Often the attitude that is presented is this: I have a right to do whatever I want to do with what belongs to me!
D. That would be fine if we actually owned anything, but in reality everything we have belongs to God!
Ps 50:10 For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.
E. That verse is where we get the little chorus that says, "He owns the cattle on a thousand hills the wealth of every mine…He owns the rivers and the rocks and rills… the sun and stars that shine"
F. God is the owner of all and what He has placed into our hands for a time; is done to allow us to prove our faithfulness to Him.
1Co 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.
II. Principle of Allocation
A. God has given us some talents.
Mt 25:15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
B. Usually when we think of the word 'talent' we think about someone who can sing, play an instrument, or exhibit some athletic ability.
C. That is true to an extent, but we need to understand that in the culture of the day, a 'talent' was a coin of a particular weight or money.
D. Now it represents all of the things that God has given us…
E. Some would say that God hasn't given them any talent, but that isn't accurate…note v15 "He gave…to every man according to his several ability…"
F. We are not all given the same thing, but all of us have been given something from God.
III. Principle of Accountability
A. God expects us to use what He has given us.
Mt 25:19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
B. That they would give an account was certainly understood in this parable, because two of the men immediately went to work investing what they had received.
Mt 25:16-17 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.
C. Although we will all have different gifts or talents, God expects for us to invest what He has given us.
Ro 12:6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;
D. Accountability isn't something that we necessarily look forward to, but we need to understand this principle.
E. Someday God will ask us, 'What did you do with what you were given?'
Ro 14:12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.
IV. Principle of Utilization
A. It is wrong to bury what God gave us.
B. We bury it when we refuse to use it as God intended.
C. Note the way that these men invested what God had given them.
1. The first man invested 5 talents and gained 5 talents.
2. The second man invested2 talents and gained 2 talents.
3. But the third man refused to invest his talent, instead he buried it in the ground.
4. The Master's reaction to the one who refused to invest was anything but positive!
5. He rebuked him calling him wicked and slothful telling him he should have done something with he had received!
V. Principle of Motivation
A. Fear will keep us from using our talent for God.
2Ti 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
B. There are three kinds of fear that we must deal with:
1. Self doubt … "I don't think I could every do anything for God"
2. Self pity … "I would serve God if He would bless me like He did brother so and so…"
3. Self consciousness … "If I served God, what would my friends or family think?"
C. We need to be motivated by what the Lord thinks, more than what others might think!
VI. Principle of Application
A. If we do not use what God has given us, we will lose it!
Mt 25:28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.
B. That isn't fair is it?
C. Don't forget that God is Sovereign…and that means He doesn't answer to what we may think is right or wrong!
D. God is Holy and righteous…He cannot sin…so our focus needs to be on using what God has given us rather than on questioning God's authority.
VII. Principle of Compensation
A. If we use it wisely, we will be rewarded!
Mt 25:23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
B. God promises eternal benefits for what we will invest for Him.
Mt 6:20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
C. We need to invest our talent, time, and money for God!
D. We cannot take anything with us when we go to heaven, but we can lay up some treasures if we will faithful use what God has given us, for His glory and His purpose.
1. Everything we have belongs to God
2. God has given us some talents
3. God expects us to use them
4. It is wrong to bury what God has given us
5. Fear keeps us from using our talents
6. If we don't use it we will lose it
7. If we use it wisely we will be rewarded
How are we investing for eternity? Message on the marquee, "Life has many choices, eternity has only two"
Do you know where you will spend eternity? If not we would love to show you from God's Word how you can know for sure and never have to wonder about it again. Christian, how are we investing what God has given to us? Are we being faithful stewards? We will all give an account before God for how we have invested our lives. Whatever your need might be today, may I invite you to come and meet God at this altar? If you are without Christ, you can be saved today. Believer, you can find everything you need in Christ right now. Will you come?