The Parable of the Talents

This sermon challenges you to ask what is my spiritual gift.

Brian Crook
Nov 25, 2018    42m
In this sermon Pastor Brian Crook uses The Parable of the Talents to teach us that God wants us to use the gifts he has given us to help others, and to bring glory to him. The sermon inspires you to ask the question, what is my spiritual gift. Once you know what it is, don't be afraid to use it, because you feel you aren't as good as others with similar gifts. He gave you the gift, and he wants you to use it. Video recorded at Clearwater, Florida.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Brian Crook: 00:11 Good morning, good morning to you folks on Facebook. Glad you're watching this this morning. Actually, that's probably the folks who are missing in these seats right here. You need to get on home. Work starts tomorrow. I get distracted easy don't I, I apologize for that. So yeah, we did travel north, and so you got together with some folks with Thanksgiving, right? I know we did, and we got with some folks that we probably won't see for a while. This happens just about every year, and so some of those folks we won't see even you until after Christmas, and so that we do the traditional gift exchange at Thanksgiving thing. You know, so it's Christmas gifts, but we do it at Thanksgiving. I got a puffy cammo jacket. A couple of you laughed, that's because you know me. You're looking at me, look, I'm wearing like slim fit jeans and leather shoes. Like I don't, you know, I don't hunt. I would love to, that sounds like fun. But I said there's not much occasion though for a guy like me, you know, in a's Florida, right? But anyway, that didn't matter. But you know when you get it, when you get a puffy cammo jacket, or any wearable gift. What's the first thing they insist that you do? Try it on. Oh, and they do it with food too, you ever gotten something in the description of it sounds like just be nice, it sounds nasty. And then they say they say go ahead, taste it, try it. You know, it's like, oh, I'm full, you know. It's this teeny little cookie come on, you know? And you have to do it anyway.

Brian Crook: 01:32 But you know, the right thing to do in these situations, by the way, hey, the right thing. Sometimes I'm disciplined enough to do this. You know, I receive a puffy cammo jacket, and I just go and put it right on before anybody says try it on. If you do it before they say try it on, your awesome, and that makes people very happy. But you should at least try it on. You should, by the way, at least follow up later with a texting a picture of you wearing it. Just to be, you know. You don't have to actually wear it out of the house, but put it on like you're going out of the house, take a picture. Same thing with the food. You taste it, it's nasty, you say it tastes good. Then later on, text and ask for the recipe, right? It's the right thing to do. But we're all let's face it, every one of us, in order for us to be fulfilled in the gift giving deal. We like to see that someone received the gift, likes it, uses it, right? Like that's important to us. In fact, I mean so important sometimes we're liable to give a gift, not hear anything back, and will actually pick up the phone and be like, hey, I just want to know I got you that jacket, right? You know, we want to hear somebody at least say, oh yeah the jacket. I love it. I've been wearing it every day, right? I mean we want to hear that, we want to know that what we gave was useful, that they like it, they're putting it to good use.

Brian Crook: 02:40 And today we find ourselves like right in between, not right in between, but we're in between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I mean last weekend here on the sides, we had pinned up cards, where we pin what we were thankful for, on either side of the stage here. And then we're heading into a season where we'll talk an awful lot about gift giving. And where I'm at today, is I'm going to talk about a gift giving as it pertains to God giving us gifts. You know, which by the way, we're thankful for. We all say thank you God for the gift that you've given us, and we praise him, and praise you for the gifts. All that. But the deal is, for us to actually say that we're thankful, and for us to show that we're thankful, are two different things. So today we're going to talk a little bit about gratitude, and how that reflects out interactions. Because if you think about it, when you say thank you, thanking is actually a verb, you know, like it requires some action. We're going to talk about what is the action.

Brian Crook: 03:30 When God gives us a gift, he's just like we are. He says, well, try it on. Right? He wants you to, when he gives you a gift, he wants you to put it on. He wants to see that it goes to good. use. That it just hits your taste buds just right, and you love it. He wants to know that you make good use of it, and so we're going to talk a little bit about that today. Today we are picking up in our Three Miles per Hour series. This series is simple, the average speed of a walking human being is three miles per hour. If we all were to get up and go walk right now, probably we would average out to about three miles per hour. Now, we oftentimes will take a look at Jesus, and the things that he taught from a way up 30,000 foot view in the Bible. And so I could, for 15 minutes, read like the entire life of Christ to you, right? But instead in this series, we're slowing down, to the folks that walked with Christ. The folks that looked at him, and saw his mannerisms and his gestures, and really got what he was teaching. We are slowing down to a walking speed, to walk with them, and to see what he was teaching and how it impacts our lives. And so we're going to do that today. Now, three miles per hour, by the way, just three miles per hours is the series, I can't go three miles per hour, right folks? It's going to go fast, and I require you to listen fast. Okay? Or we'll still be here when folks come back for next weekend. All right? So please, you're going to have to listen fast, alright?

Brian Crook: 04:49 Now. We're going to rip into Matthew Chapter Twenty Five. If you have your Bible with you, go ahead and turn there. We're going to start in verse 14, and I won't have it on the screen, just going to read it real fast, and jump around a little bit. If you haven't noticed, I have ADD and I love it. I just embrace it, and so hopefully you have it or appreciate it, and we'll be good. All right? But it goes like this, Jesus has hit the scene. He was born, he's been raised, and now he's in his ministry. He's actually at the end of his ministry here on earth. Three years he's been walking around the Galilean countryside, he's been teaching, he's been healing, he's been breaking bread and multiplying fish and feeding thousands of people. He's called twelve guys who followed him, and watched him do this incredible thing, and listened to his amazing words. And they've seen the love that he gives people, and the freedom, and the hope, and the forgiveness, and so these guys had been walking with them for a while.

Brian Crook: 05:39 Now he is at this point that we call the triumphal entry. It's where he comes riding into town on a donkey. See how the way I set that up and made it big, and then it just went whomp, whomp, that's kind of what it did there. He comes riding into town, and it's going to be amazing folks. Jesus has come, and he's got a huge following of people, and people on this. And they're like he's coming, this was fantastic, let's make ready for him. And then he comes galloping, not galloping I'm sorry. He's just, you know, real slow into to town on that donkey, and people were looking like really? But it's exciting nonetheless, and they throw down palm branches, and say, behold, this guy comes to bring peace, to restore peace to Jerusalem, and this is going to be fantastic. So they throw down palm branches and everything, but instead he gets off of his donkey and he walks up to the temple, and he finds people doing terrible things in the temple. They're profiteering, they're making money off the sacrifices and such, inside the temple of God. And Jesus being God is upset about that, so he goes and he starts making it right. He starts turning all these tables over, and just giving them what for. And saying, this is not right, you do not do this in the temple of God, and he's talking to religious leaders and such. I mean these people have been charged with leading the people. They supposedly are more righteous than the people, and know God more than the people, and so he's just ripping into him saying, you don't do this in the house of the Lord, and he flips over all the tables and stuff, and then he leaves.

Brian Crook: 06:57 And he goes to Bethany, which is a little town where he's had some successful students before, and the people there have found life in him, and in the truth that he teaches. And so he's very much welcomed there, and he gets a great night's sleep in Bethany. Wakes up the next day, and heads back out to Jerusalem. He's heading towards the temple. He's walking with his disciples. It's getting really close to the time when Jesus would die. And so for these 12 guys that are walking with him that are close to him, and they're his best buds, he's really teaching them some pretty incredible things about the times to come and just opening their eyes to some stuff as they walk. When they show up to Jerusalem at the temple, now Jesus walks right on in. The disciples might've been like, hey, you remember what happened here yesterday? They're probably upset. Because if somebody came in here this morning, and started flipping over chairs, I would say, Mr. Dennis, can you please get up and take care of this? And he'd escort them out, and the rest of us would standing here going what in the world? You know, that guy is terrible, and we wouldn't want him to come right back at either. Right? But here Jesus comes right on back in, the religious leaders upset because he's mustered such a following. I mean they want the people to follow them, the religious leaders do, but no, they're following Jesus now. And now not only that, but he's coming, he's turned over all the tables and stuff, and for goodness sakes, they're not making a profit anymore. And then he's just going to come walking right back in the very next day, and he doesn't waste any time, you know, he just rips right into some teachings. And you can look in your Bible, starting, you know, Matthew chapter 18 or so, and track forward, you'll see a bunch of incredible teachings where Jesus is teaching right there in the temple, the day after he turned over all the tables, and he's teaching very poignantly to the religious leaders.

Brian Crook: 08:34 Now what he's teaching is really applicable to everyone that standing around, all the people who are following, and wanting to hear what he has to say. But it's very poignant to these corrupt religious leaders, and you'll see how that plays out in a little bit. Now we're going to pick up like a couple teachings in. Jesus has given us this parable, which is just a story to help us understand God better. It's not a true story, but it's a story that Jesus makes up to say, you know, hey, what if like this, think about it like this. And then by reading this story and understanding, you get a better, we get to wrap our minds around who God is just a little bit better. Right?

Brian Crook: 09:10 And so we're going to start up in Matthew Chapter twenty five, verses 14 to 29 is where we're going to be reading. And then we'll take a couple of those passages, a couple of those verses and just unpack them a little bit. So starting in verse 14, it says, "For it will be like a man going on a journey who called his servants and entrusted in his property to one, he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once, traded with them, and it made five talents more. So also had the one with the two talents, made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug a hole in the ground, and he hid his master's money. Now, after a long time, the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward bringing five talents more saying, master, you delivered to me five talents, but here I've made five talents more. This master said to him, well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little, and I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master. And he also, who had had the two talents came forward saying, master, you delivered to me two talents, but here I've made two talents more. And his master said to him, well done, good and faithful servant. You've been faithful over a little, I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master. 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. So I was afraid. Now I went and I hid your talent in the ground, so here you have what is yours. 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? 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. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For 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."

Brian Crook: 11:27 This feels like a harsh story when I read it. Just at the surface level here, it feels pretty harsh, even scary. This guy was given property to take care of and invest, and he got a little worried that he might lose some of it, so he just held onto it, made it safe and gave it back to his master. He didn't squander it, he didn't lose any of it, he gave the master bath the master had given to him. And yet, he was rebuked, reprimanded, if you will. You wicked and slothful servant, like you should've given me back what I gave you and interest. Like it sounds pretty harsh at the surface level. And we've got to look at this ourselves and say, what do we do with what God gives us? Right? And when you think about it in this context, it starts to get a little scary. Like what if God's going to treat me like that? Like what I do for him isn't enough, and then what if he's mad, what if he calls me wicked? I want to hear well done, good and faithful servant. But what if I don't measure up in the end?

Brian Crook: 12:35 And I'm going to tell you, I'm going to tell it to you like this. You know, every gift that we're given, every single gift that we're giving, it comes down from the father above. It's what James 1:17 says, it says that he gives us everything that's good, that the father of lights gives it, and he whom is in there is no variation of shadow due to change. We're given these gifts from God, and then we have a responsibility to do something with it. Like when somebody says, hey, try it on. God says, hey, what I've given you, the gift that I've given you, it's a skill. Try It on, use it, to do something with it. The money that I've given you, the monetary wealth that I've given you. Go ahead and try it on, use it, do something good with it. Right? The time that I've given you, use it and do something good with it. The relationships that I've given you, make use of those relationships and do something good with it. And we could kind of live in fear and say, what if I don't do well enough?

Brian Crook: 13:30 I'll tell you what grips us most of the time is when we look around at other people, and we compare our gifts. I've been there. You ever done one of those gift exchanges? Where you don't know what the gift is, and everybody opens them. And like you think you've got something good, you know, because it's, it's like chocolate. But somebody else got something good, and it's like a straight up gift card. And you're like oh, a visa gift card, and chocolate doesn't sound as good anymore. Right? But it's just in comparison though, but you've got some stinking Godiva here, that's awesome. Right? And we compare. I'll tell you what it's called, it's called a zero sum value. It's like this, there are these games. I'll give you a for instance, let's say we had a game here where we have 10 pennies, okay? And me and you are going to play against each other. We're going to flip for each penny that is, your heads and tails. If we flip a penny and it lands on heads, you get it, if we flip the penny and it lands on tails, I get it. Okay? And we're going to flip all 10 pennies and see who gets what. Right? But what this means is that if you get nine pennies, then I could only get one. Or if I get nine pennies, you could only get one. Now if you get all the pennies, that means I get none. Or if I get all the pennies, that means you get none. Right? But he bottom line is there's only 10 pennies at the end of the game, there's no more, no less, there's 10 pennies. And so in order for me to win, you have to lose. In order for you to win, I have to lose. Right? And there's a tendency that we have to kind of look at life in a zero sum value mentality. To say, you know in order for me to win, somebody else has to lose. In order for me to get a promotion, somebody else has got to stay put. Right? In order for me to have the best gift that the party, somebody else has to have the worst gift at the party. And as the way that we look at it, and it can cause us to kind of stay stagnant where we're at, not even use what we get. And especially if you've got a gift, like let's say the gift of music, and you picked up a guitar one day and just strummed it, and you found that the chords were not that hard to play for you. And so you decided you know what, I'm going to teach myself to play guitar, you know? But the problem is when you look around and you see other guys playing guitars, then you go, well I'm not very good. By yourself, you're like, hey, I'm getting pretty good. But then you hear other guys, and you're like, hm, not so much. They're really good, and I'm not. Right? There's a zero sum value here, that if they're good, then I must be bad. It can't be that they're very good, and I'm pretty good. Or are there like amazing, and I'm like, awesome. You know? I mean there's got to be a differential there, and that is if they're good, then I'm bad. So the zero sum value, can get us some times.

Brian Crook: 16:00 And God would have us do this, because in the Bible over and over, it just shows us that the things that are most valuable, the more we give them more, we receive of those things. It's the truth. Think about love. The more loving you are, the more you love folks around you, the more love you receive. The more grateful you are, the more gratitude you show to folks around you. That the more grateful they are, the more gratitude they show to you. The more peaceful you are to folks around you, the more peaceful they are to you. It's the way that it is. The things that matter the most, the things that are most valuable, the more we give them, the more we receive them. So it calls for this, first off, we must adjust our perspective, we've got to make sure we're not functioning on a zero sum mentality basis here. We're going to move the zero sum to a positive sum. We've got to move like the win-lose scenario, to like a win-win. Here's why, in this verse it tells us about the abundance. It says, for to everyone who has will be given, and he will have an abundance. An abundance isn't a measurable amount. An abundance is, basically just means more, right? They'll have more and more and more, and abundance can continue to give, and that's kind of what we function in.

Brian Crook: 17:10 Because see here's the deal, and this is why the win-lose, and why the zero sum values scenario doesn't work for us. Because we live under God, we live in him. And in him things are a little different, relationships are a little different. I look around the room, there's a lot of different folks in here. We looked different than each other, or our ages are different, our incomes are different, we live in different places, we came from different places, we're different. But after service we're sitting around a table eating lunch together somewhere, and people look and they think, oh, it must be a family. I mean, there's no other reason why all these people who are so different would be together, but what we know is we found unity in Christ, it doesn't exist outside of him. Folks looking in and have to say, what in the world? Like that's kind of weird when you think about it. I mean socioeconomic differences, everything's just different political. I mean and yet, here we sit, getting along. More than that, we're doing life together, and that's in God. Same is true with value, and the way we value things. Because we can assume that there's ten pennies, and at the end of the game there's still only 10 pennies, no matter who holds them.

Brian Crook: 18:20 That's not the case with God, that's the fact. The fact is that in him, and when we lean into him, and we pursue and him, and we use the gifts that he's given in a way that is his purpose, what happens is what's called abundance. We end up at the end of the game with more than 10 pennies. We've got ten guitar players, one is okay, and nine of them were really good. At the end of the game when we put them all in, and they all use their gifts for God together, the wild thing is it's abundance. It doesn't in the end look like, well, he's pretty bad compared to others. It doesn't end up like that, but instead he's using his gifts, and God is pouring into him, in fact much of the time his gifts are going to grow because of that. Like in in this passage we see were these guys who invested. Like the guy had two talents, he had two talents, he invested, and he gets two talents more. Now he's got four, he brings to the table, the man says, well done, good and faithful servant. But he doesn't just stop there, He says, guess what? You had a little, you made it a little more, now I'm going to put you in charge of much. It's more than the four now, so we went from two to four. Now it's more than the four, he's got more than that he's in charge of, and that's amazing.

Brian Crook: 19:27 Let's face it, if you've ever been in a situation where you worked for someone who did investing, you probably looked at that happening, at the investing happening. And said, you know what? I'd love to try my hand at that. I wish I had a little bit to do something like that, that'd be cool. What if your boss said, you know what? Here, why don't you do something with this? That'd be incredible. That'll never happen by the way. Right? But it happened to these guys. This is the kind of master we're talking about. This master that we're talking about, this story is about God, the kind of master that he is in our lives. By the way, he's a lot of things in our lives. The Bible describes him as our master, as our father, as our husband, as our good shepherd, as our priest, a pure, spotless, lamb. These roles or are in the Bible to show us a lot of different aspects of who God is to us, and they're all very important. But this one is, hey, this is the kind of master we're talking about. He's a master who would actually give you resource, in fact, he'd make you the resource. And then say, you know what? Invest, invest your life in others. And so the bottom line is to start out, number one, we've got to adjust our perspective. You mustn’t settle for a zero sum value perspective, realizing that in him there is abundance.

Brian Crook: 20:45 All right, now we're going to take this apart just little bit. We're going to start by looking at Matthew twenty five verse twenty four. This is the part where that one servant there, the two that made a profit, w we can skip those for now. Let's take a look at the guy that only had the one talent, the one that gets reprimanded, okay? And we're going to start by looking at his response, when he called to the table, and how he tells his side of the story. Like, here's what happened, right? So we're going to look at verse twenty four, it says, "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." I want you to hear this. He says, master, it's because of who you are, that I did what I'm about to tell you I did. Just hold on, before you start blaming me, I went real quick for you to know where the blame lies. Master, this is kind of sort of your fault, before you hear me out, this is kind of your fault. Okay? That's kind of what he's saying. He's saying, because I knew you were a hard man. I knew that you reaped where you didn't sow, and you gather where you haven't scattered seed, and so hear me out here. He's blaming God.

Brian Crook: 22:05 And here's the deal, let me just real quick say, there's a lot of times that things aren't our fault. You know, there's some times and some of us, many of us, have been dealt a certain hand in life. There's some circumstances we found ourselves in that we did not choose, and would never have chosen for anything, somebody else put us in that situation. It was their fault, literally. And so, if you want to start out your explanation here and say, listen, before you get good into this, let me just tell you what they did to me, and where am at because of it. Right? Here's the deal, this is a hard subject to approach, because the reality is that's true. It's not a lie, it's not a stretch, what you're saying is true. It wasn't your fault. You didn't choose it. You wouldn't have chosen it for anything. It's their fault. They put you in the situation, right? And they don't have to live with it, you do. Problem is it's their fault, no doubt, but it's your responsibility. That is, I understand that they did it to you, it's their fault, but it's your responsibility. At the end of the day they're not going to come and say, you know what? Yeah, that was me, let me fix all of that for you, and make it like it never happened. Most of the time, if you're thinking about a scenario in your mind, something somebody did to you, and a place that they put you because of that. It's not anything they could fix by this point. I mean an I'm sorry, or heartfelt letter of apology, something might help you feel better, but it's not going to fix it. Right? In fact, what happens is if you don't take responsibility, nobody going to take responsibility, and it's your life that's wrecked because of it. And so it's their fault, and your responsibility. Now this guy's looking and he's saying master, I know I didn't do what you wanted me to do. Real quick, hear me out, this is mostly your fault. Which I'm sure the master has to look back and say, dude, you can say it's my fault if you want, maybe it is. It's your responsibility, I put it in your hands, it was your money at that point, not mine. Alright? You needed to do something.

Brian Crook: 24:10 So, I'm going to challenge us, man, we've got to stop blaming. Particularly stop blaming God. And when it comes to the gifts that he's given, it's real easy for us to look around and say, well listen, I mean, yeah, there's things I would love to do in this world, and I wish I had the money to do it. But those folks, they have the money to do it, and they're not doing anything. Let me just tell you, when you look around, God gave you something. Start with what you've got. You know, the guy that started with two talents, ended up with four, and then he was put in charge of much more. Start with what you've got, and stop blaming God. And saying, well, listen, if God had given me more resources, then I would do it. Heck, we can't call ourselves under resourced, I'll just tell you that right now, each of us have more resources than most of the world, right? And so it may be resources, but it maybe your skill set, you may say, hey there's something I can do, but I don't do it that well. What I mean is that when I look around, there's people that do it a lot better than I do. And let me just, I promise you Brian, if I was the one that did it best at this church, then I would just step up to the plate and do it. Now I'm looking around. I'm sure there's people that do it better than I do, right? See, that's exactly the problem, we're blaming and saying, well God didn't give me what I need to do it. You gave them what they need to do it. Although he gave me a little something, it's not what you gave them. And so blame God, if I don't step up to the plate. Stop blaming God for circumstances, stop blaming God for under resourced mentality that says we don't have what it takes. Number two, just stop blaming God.

Brian Crook: 25:38 Now, let me real quick say this by the way. A talent is not a measure of value at all, it's not a currency, it sounds like it. All my life when I hear talent, I think of some coin or something. It's a measure of weight, a talent's about 75 pounds and the substance that they were weighing was gold. Meaning the guy that got one talent, they placed 75 pounds of gold in his lap. That's a lot of gold. Yeah, somebody got 150 pounds of gold, and somebody got five talents, that's just enormous. But at the very least, the one guy, got 75 pounds of gold. It wasn't like he had nothing. And I think a lot of times that's kind of where we lie at with what God's given us. Because you know what? We've got something to offer, and even while we think we have nothing, I don't have anything offer are you kidding me? Look around. That's a dumb statement when you think about it, I don't have anything to offer, look at them, that's comparing. But take a look at me, look at what I actually have would be the better way to put it. Because God has given us something like the guy with one talent, 75 pounds of gold, who thought he had nothing. When you look at the end of the story, it says to take it away from him. It says, for he who has not. By the way, I think this is why we do this. When we slow down at three miles per hour, I think if you were there in person, you would have watched Jesus throw his fingers up and do this. Okay? Because he would have said, but from the one who has not. Right? Because this guy thought he didn't have anything. The one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. See, he does have something, he 75 pounds of gold sitting in his lap, he could have done something with it, right? Except he blamed God instead.

Brian Crook: 27:22 Matthew 25:25 says, this is just him continuing, He says, so master, just so you know, this is mostly your fault. And because of who you are, it goes on and says, so I was afraid. I went and hid your talent in the ground, so here, take what's yours. He admits I was afraid, and he says mostly because of who you are, I was afraid. I was scared because I knew what kind of master you are. And let me just say fear doesn't usually lie in the circumstances, or in the thing we're afraid of. Fear is just already residing there, and then we've referenced it to inform us in our decision making. And I'll just tell you most of the time, fear says the best thing to do is absolutely nothing. If you're sitting in a job situation right now where you feel like, man, I need to step up and say something, I need to step up and do something. Or if you're sitting in any situation in life right now where were you just saying that I need to be the one to do something, but then you convince yourself, you know, no maybe I'm not the one. Maybe I shouldn't be the one to say that, maybe I shouldn't be the one to step up, maybe the time's not right. Yeah, the time's definitely not right. Alright? And you decide, you know what the best thing to do, would probably be to do nothing. Let me just tell you just about any time that we decided that the best thing to do is nothing, It's because of this factor right here, we're acting on fear. At the end of the day when we accomplished nothing, our excuse will be his excuse, I was afraid. I was afraid. You know, well, why didn't you say something? Well, I was afraid. At the end of the day, it doesn't make sense to say, well, I didn't say something because it seemed like the best thing to do is nothing. That doesn't make sense, it's fear, I was afraid. And so we say, I was afraid. And so number three, we got to stop acting on fear.

Brian Crook: 29:04 It's like the abundance that we've talked about, it's inside of us. If we act on it, if we allow it to inform our decision making, it will grow and grow. Just like the good things in life that the more we give, the more we receive. It's the more we act on fear, the, the bigger fear gets in our lives. We've got to stop acting on fear. Because see this, this master wasn't angry at this guy because of what he was unable to do. This guy didn't come and say, here's the thing, you gave me 75 pounds of gold, fact is, I'm not able to even move 75 pounds of gold. So I simply dug a hole, and kicked it over in there, so it wouldn't get lost. That is not what he said, he gave all the other excuses. He was completely able, the master wasn't mad at him because of what he was unable to do, he was mad at him because of what he wasn't willing to do. He's unwilling to get out, and take courage, and in invest what he had been given. Right? Make a difference with it, make it grow. Listen in Christ? Like I said, we function in abundance in Christ, life isn't static. At the end of the day the 10 pennies that we have, the only 10 pennies, it's not going to just be 10 pennies. Life is dynamic, that means that we effect change in it. When we can understand fault but take responsibility, when we can stop blaming and when we can stop acting on fear inside and do nothing, but instead take courage and lean into the power that we have in God. Then all of a sudden we aren't saying to the master, in this sense saying, listen, because of who you are, I failed, But instead we're saying, listen, because of who you are, I decided to step out of that mess. Because of who you are, I decided to forgive the person that did that to me. Because of who you are, I decided to take courage and to step into the next season of my life. Because of who you are, I decided to go to that person, and to have that conversation. Because of who you are, I decided to take a chance and then to invest that money in something that would change lives. Because of who you are, I decided, you know, be it I have the skill or not, I am going to do something.

Brian Crook: 31:07 Because of who you are. It's a different twist on the same phrase, isn't it? And so at the end of the day we don't want to be the guys that say, hey, because of who you are, I did nothing because I was shaking in my boots. But we want to look God in the face and say, because of who you are, it empowered me to do what I did, and look how you showed up. Because here's the deal. I've had those folks, I've sat in that seat, where there's somebody that needs help. They need a conversation to happen, somebody is going to have to have it, or it's going to just continue to go south. And I'm just saying, God look, I see that they need help, but please not me. I don't want to have anything to do with that. And God says you have the relationship, you are aware, you've been given the awareness that there's a problem, and that it needs to be addressed. You've got one talent, don't bury it. He says, get up and go have that conversation. And when I have the conversation, I walk in thinking, you know what, to be completely honest, this is hopeless. I get that on the one with the relationship. I get that I'm aware of the situation, but I don't think anything's going to happen. I don't think the conversation is going to mean anything. I don't think ten conversations are going to do anything.

Brian Crook: 32:25 And then you watch the abundance factor kick in. Because the gift that I've been given. The relationship, the awareness, and even my particular gifts.. I think they're going to add up to make a difference here, but when step in, and I put them to work, and I try them on, and I take a taste all of a sudden God shows up. And His power, and his purpose, is made known in this situation, and I just walk away dumbfounded. Glad I didn't say no, glad I didn't bury the talent. Right? But just dumbfounded that what I thought was true, was just fear speaking. And what I thought I didn't have, and it just was God didn't give it to me, and I could never do this. Then God showed up, he used what I did have, what he had given to me, for the purpose that he had made for me. It made a difference, it changed a life. And that's what I'm begging us to do at Cypress.

Brian Crook: 33:28 Because do you know what? Listen to this. There's at the end of this passage, it's just a harsh tone. It's just, it's weird. I'm going to read it real quick. Matthew 25:25-26, it says, "But his master answered him." The guy's already given all his excuses. He's come forward and said, I have what you gave me, I protected it, let me just tell you that. I know who you are, and because of who you are, I was afraid and I protected your money. Here's your money back. "And the master says, you wicked and slothful servant. You knew that I reap where I've not sown and gather where I scattered no seed. You ought to have invested my money with bankers, and at my coming I should've received what was my own with interest." It's crazy to me, he starts out with you wicked and slothful servant. The reason it catches me off guard is because when I think of wicked, I think if somebody's doing something. You know, this guy, he didn't hurt anybody. He didn't lie, he didn't cheat, he didn't steal or anything, he just protected what was given, and he gave it right back. That doesn't sound wicked to me. But this passage points towards something different, that wickedness isn't always in what we do, sometimes it's in what we failed to do. When we were going down the street, and we see somebody in need, and we don't stop because the light changed already. Or you know, there's lots of people around, somebody is going to help, and I'm late and I got the kids in the car. And God would say, listen, you do something wicked. It's not like I think you got out of your car and punched the guy in the face, but it was wicked that you passed right by. It was wicked in what you failed to do, it was wicked. And I think you can look at as the same, his namesake, right? We're Christians in this world, and yet we're onlookers to some of the worst things happening on this planet in all of history. People dying of starvation, children being sold into slavery, just despicable things. And we can sit on the sidelines and say something needs to be done about it. I would never do that to a child, who would do that to a child. We look at it, but you know, we didn't do it all right, we didn't do it. God would say the fact that you didn't get off the bench and do something about it, your failure to do something is wicked, it's slothful.

Brian Crook: 36:00 You've been given existence in this time in history for a reason. You've been given the resources that you've been given for a reason. You've been given the passions that you've been given for a reason. When you watch what's happening, when you hear what's happening in the world, and it grips you to your core. So much so that you just have to kind of like try to put it away, and pack it away, and forget about it. That's the best you can do. That's not for no reason, it's a passion that he's given to you, that he means for you to invest. Because Jesus is teaching the religious leaders, the religious leaders who've been given charge over the people. They're supposed to be leading the people, and he's looking at them and he's saying, your life is a resource and you are not investing it. Because you believe this zero sum value mentality that informs you, and tells you, that if you're going to be wise, it's because they're going to be stupid. If you're going to be righteous, it's going to be because they're wicked. If you're going to be powerful, it's going to be because they're weak. And he's telling the religious leaders, step into my abundance, take what I have given you, and invest it in the lives of these people. And God's put people in our lives, just the same. And he wants us to take stock and say, what do I have, and how do you want me to use it? How can I make a difference in the lives of people? Because each of us are connected to people, start with those people, and watch the zero sum value change. Watch abundance happen when you start to invest what you have, when you start to invest your life in people.

Brian Crook: 37:39 Now, real quick, before I close this, I don't want us to have the wrong idea about this master. Because it can be scary, and sometimes it is scary. I'm getting ready to write this teaching. I was sitting, and I was praying, and I was asking God, just do this sometimes saying, hey, what's next? How do you want to use me more? What have you given me, and how do you want to use it? I want to know God, how do I please you? And I'm just going to admit when I asked it in that way, it's a stressful thing. I'm not like, this is cool God, how do you want to use me? It's more really a stressful like burden, like how do you want to use me God, how can I please you? And in this moment God just kind of gripped me, and turned my attention to something. I showed you these different roles that he uses to show us who he is, the master, the father, husband, good shepherd.

Brian Crook: 38:27 A couple of them that really just jumped out to me because of who I am, is the husband and the father piece, I'm a husband and I'm a father. And there's something about being a husband for me, when my wife is stressed, I hate it. There may be nothing I hate in this world more than when my wife is stressed. I don't care if it's finances, parenting, relationships outside our home that are conflicted, if my wife is stressed, it hurts so bad. I kind of feel like that's the way God made me is that he made me so that she could walk through this life light, worry free, carefree, without a burden in this world. And when she is, when she's lighthearted and things are well and she's not stressed about anything, I'm the man. I'm serious, that's how I feel, I feel really, really, really good about that. Secondly, I'm a father, and when my wife is light, burden, free, carefree without a worry in this world, and she is investing her life in our children, pouring into them, developing them, shaping them, and making them who will be one day. When she's doing that, man this is absolute perfection. I love it. My favorite sound in all of this world is this. You know what that is? That's my wife burping our baby, I love that. I love it when I hear her burping one of our babies. It's just special to me to see my wife lighthearted, without a worry, pouring into my kids.

Brian Crook: 39:53 God turned my attention to this real quick. You want to know how you pleased me, I've given you gifts, and I expect you to be lighthearted, worry free. In fact, there's a place in the scriptures where Jesus himself says, come to me if you're carrying a big huge weight on your shoulders right now, come to me because the burden that I have is easy, and the yoke that I have to put on you for you to carry is light. You can just take that big weight off right now, and carry this, it is so easy. Because God himself says, listen, you are my bride. I desire that you walk through this life, lighthearted, stress free, carefree, without a worry in this world, and I want you to invest in my children. I want you to pour your life into those that matter to me, those that I laid my life down for, that's what I want. It doesn't need to be a stressful thing. This guy with the 75 pounds of gold, didn't need to freak out about it. He misunderstood what kind of master he serves. He serves a master who's not only a master to him, but a father to him. Who looks at him, and cares for him and his needs and his provisions, like a husband for a bride. He didn't understand that piece.

Brian Crook: 41:03 And so we need to grasp the whole picture and say, God you have given me gifts, and not in comparison to others, but the gifts you've given me, I will use them. Show me how to use them, and I'll walk it out, lighthearted, burden free. But I'll invest what you've given me wisely.

Brian Crook: 41:25 Let's go ahead and pray, I'll pray for just that. Father, thank you so much for all the gifts that you've given us, especially the gift of son Jesus. God, we thank you today that you do have a purpose and a plan for our lives. God, thank you that you love us, that you care for us, that you want to provide for us, that you want us to feel safe, secure, and provided for. And God, we want to know how we can be used by you. What you've given us, we want to employ our resources to make a difference in this world, we want to impact lives. We want to invest ourselves in the people that you love. So God, thank you, thank you for making us a resource. And we just ask, search our hearts, and point us in the direction of how we can be best utilized, to make a difference in the lives of others. We intend to give you all the glory, in your great name we pray. Amen. You all have a great week.

Recorded in Clearwater, Florida.
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Cypress Meadows
2180 North McMullen Booth Road
Clearwater, Florida 33759
(727) 725-4570