5, 2 and 1
Things are getting ready to change in a pretty big way at Life Bridge. At least, that is what we believe God has set in front of us as a leadership team. There is hard evidence for how God has moved in just the first two years of our existence as a “thing” (a collection of individual lives worshiping and serving God together). And we believe that God is continuing to move in a big way both within and through us. You can check out the sermon video and our “big announcement” post for more specific details on the “big way” we believe God is leading — the bag, 2 bags or 5 bags of gold we believe we’ve been given. But let me continue with the parable Jesus told in hopes of illustrating and challenging what this vision also means for your life.
For the purpose of explaining what the kingdom of God is like, Jesus once told a parable of a wealthy farmer who was going away and entrusted bags of gold to three separate servants.
Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey.
To explain the kingdom (it is the “it” in the first verse above), Jesus tells a story (it was his favorite way to teach truth). Jesus knew the kingdom of God was not like anything the people of this world had experienced. It’s “rules” were not like the laws of their government, tribes and families. What their world taught them and how they acted based on that knowledge, was upside down compared to the kingdom of God. In their world, achievement and wealth meant greater position and power. In the kingdom of God, the weak are strong and the meek (the powerless and humble in spirit) will inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5).
The story continues…
The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’ “His master replied, ‘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!’ “The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’ “His master replied, ‘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!’ “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. So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’ “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? 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.
The first two servants went out and put their bags of gold to good use, and in the process, doubled their bags of gold and earned the master’s praise. The third feared losing even an ounce of the master’s gold and chose to bury it, drawing the master’s strong rebuke. The punishment for the third servant was swift and severe…
“‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. 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. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
Maybe you’re surprised by the master’s rebuke. “The servant was just being careful and he did return every bit of what was given to him,” you might say. But the currency and wealth of the kingdom is not to be hoarded and buried so as to protect it. The gifts, talents and resources we have been given as children of God may have been given TO us, but they are not only meant FOR us. God gives freely so that we may also give freely to others, without regard to protecting any measure of it for ourselves. Jesus says to follow him you must deny yourself and take up your cross, For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. (Matthew 16:24-25) Jesus tells the rich young ruler to, “sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” (Luke 18:22) The currency of the kingdom is faith, obedience, humility, selflessness, forgiveness, grace, mercy … it is not dollars, cents, possessions and titles.
So here is where this all lands. God has given you a bag(s) of gold and He has given the same to Life Bridge. What are you doing with yours? Whether it’s 1, 2 or 5, are you using your gold or are you hiding it? Are you serving others with it or have you buried it safe at home or under the same seat you always sit in on Sunday? Beginning with our commitment to the principles of Greater Than, Life Bridge has been using its gold. We believe we can do MORE. Will you join others like you who you stand next to in the Refinery, serve next to in Up Street or worship next to in the auditorium and begin generously using your gold? Will you join us in our mission to do MORE?