Luke 12:41-44 A Wise and Faithful Servant Jesus spent a lot of time talking about serving God. In fact, I suppose if we were to sort all of the words of Jesus into categories, we would find that He spend more time teaching people to serve God than He did teaching people that they needed to be saved. Why would that be the case? I don’t think that is because salvation is not important for it is the most important act a person will ever do. I think it is the case because salvation is a decision that only needs to be made once, but surrender and service to God is a decision that must be made daily. In this Scripture, Jesus offers only two options for the Christian life. Either be wise and faithful or be lazy and unfaithful. Let me share some thoughts with you about being used by God. I. The giants of the Bible were nobodies until they chose to be used of God. A. We think of the great giants of the faith. Without exception, they were nobodies until God used them. 1. Noah - We have no knowledge of who or what Noah was until God called him into His service. 2. Abraham - Abraham was just another Arabian until God called him. 3. Esther was just another orphaned girl. 4. Ruth was a Moabites, cursed by God as one of Israel’s enemies. 5. David was a mere shepherd boy, the least of the sons in a large family. 6. Matthew was a tax collector, obsessed with making money. 7. Nathaniel was just a man goofing off under a fig tree. 8. John and James were a couple of short-tempered young men. 9. Paul was just another Jewish hater of the Christian way. B. And so it goes, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Amos, Barnabas, Silas, Timothy, Titus—all nobodies until they were made somebody by God. C. Get this - even people who appeared to be somewhat before they were used of God were still nobodies until God used them. 1. Maybe some of them had money, had power, had position. 2. I’m sorry to tell you that all of that means nothing in the scope of eternity. a. This is what some people just don’t get. b. Once you’re dead… (1) …you might as well have been homeless as to have lived in a mansion. (2) …you might as well have been penniless as to have a fortune. (3) …you might as well have lived in isolation as to have the world know your name. 3. Everybody is nobody until God uses you for His glory. II. There are two ways you can be used of God. A. One way is to be passively used by God. 1. To be passively used is to be used like a carpenter uses a nail or a baker uses a skillet. 2. God will use every human being in one way or the other; but those passively used of God have no desire to be used and make no choice to be used. 3. This is what Paul wrote about in Romans 9. Romans 9:21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? 22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: a. Saved and fitted for heaven or lost and cast into hell, every human being will be used by God. b. God will use every person for He is God, the Creator of every human being, and He will be glorified in everyone and everything He has created. 4. The Bible gives us examples of those God passively used. a. Pharaoh was passively used by God. (1) Before Moses ever got to Egypt, God told him Pharaoh would be a problem. Exodus 3:19 And I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not by a mighty hand. 20 And I will stretch out my hand, and smite Egypt with all my wonders which I will do in the midst thereof: and after that he will let you go. (a) God did not say He made Pharaoh that way. (b) This man and his family had been making choices long before Moses got there! (c) And he continued to make the same kind of choices after Moses arrived. Exodus 5:23 For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in thy name, he hath done evil to this people; neither hast thou delivered thy people at all. (2) God’s reply was that it was going to get even worse. Exodus 7:4 Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you, that I may lay my hand upon Egypt, and bring forth mine armies, and my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments. (3) But in the end, Pharaoh would literally drive the Jews out of his land. Exodus 6:1 Then the LORD said unto Moses, Now shalt thou see what I will do to Pharaoh: for with a strong hand shall he let them go, and with a strong hand shall he drive them out of his land. (4) Indeed, God told Pharaoh that he had been given his position so that he could be an unwilling object lesson the world! Exodus 9:16 And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth. b. Nebuchadnezzar was passively used of God to show that God sets up and takes down kings. (1) Nebuchadnezzar, by his own testimony, was a hard- hearted, arrogant man. (2) Daniel 4 details his own encounter with God. (a) \\#Daniel 4:4-18\\ Nebuchadnezzar had a dream which troubled him. i. He knew it had some kind of significance but could not find anyone to explain it to him. ii. So he called in Daniel. (b) \\#Daniel 4:19-27\\ Daniel explains the dream is God warning Nebuchadnezzar to turn from his pride or God would remove his kingdom. (c) \\#Daniel 4:28-33\\ Nebuchadnezzar didn’t listen and one year later he was afflicted with a madness which caused his kingdom to be removed from him. (d) Nebuchadnezzar was turned loose into the fields like an animal until his fingernails were like claws and his hair matted to his back like feathers. (e) \\#Daniel 4:34\\ After seven years, God gave Nebuchadnezzar enough sense to repent, which he did. (f) Once he did, his reasoning returned to him and God even gave him back his kingdom. (g) God’s point had been proven. i. God sets up kings and tears them down. ii. \\#Dan 4:35-37\\ But Nebuchadnezzar decided he never wanted to be passively used by God again do he made the choice to follow God. B. The other way is to be actively used by God. 1. To be actively used of God is nothing like being passively used. 2. To be actively used of God means it is your \\desire\\ and \\choice\\ that God would use you. a. I find it interesting that not very many people in the Bible were seeking to be used of God when God first offered to them that opportunity. (1) Moses was tending his sheep - no thoughts of being used by God. At first, he even resisted being used. (2) David was visiting his brothers on the front lines - no thought of being used by God. (3) Paul thought he was being used of God when God offered him the opportunity to serve. b. I would think that if God can take a person who has no real desire to serve and uses him greatly, those who really want to be used ought to be miles ahead in the game. c. In fact, the Bible says God is looking for someone who wants to be used. 2Chronicles 16:9 For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him…. 3. To those traits of desire and choice, you must also add \\availability\\ faithfulness. a. It has been my case to meet some people who claimed to want God to use them but then they were always too busy with other things to be used. (1) God afforded them the opportunity knock on doors…. (2) God offered them a Sunday school class… (3) God showed them a need they could do… (4) You will never be used of God if all you have is desire but no time. b. And again, I have met some who were quick to take responsibilities but seldom, if ever, finish them. 1Corinthians 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. III. It is not the size of the task that God gives but the size of your determination that impresses God. A. Without doubt, big works impress people, but I am not so certain they impress God. 1. I am not against a big work. I have a desire to so more for God than I have so far accomplished. 2. However, I have come to understand that it is not the size of what I do but the devotion I give to it that is important to God. Zechariah 4:10 For who hath despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice…. Job 8:7 Though thy beginning was small, yet thy latter end should greatly increase. Proverbs 4:18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. B. Truths about Big and Small Works. 1. God has more small works than big ones. 2. Typically, God can make a smaller work more pure than a bigger work (mostly through one-on-one training). 3. If you operate a smaller work correctly, God can always built it into a bigger work. 4. If you don’t give yourself wholly to doing the small work, you wouldn’t give yourself wholly to a big one. Luke 16:10 He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. IV. \\#Luke 12:41-44\\ The servant that does what he or she can with what he or she has is promised a reward and a rule by the Lord. A. \\#41\\ Peter actually asked the Lord if the things Jesus was teaching were for the apostles only or for everyone. B. Jesus’ answer is that anyone who is faithful when the Lord returns (and those disciples are long since gone) will be made a ruler over all. 1. I don’t do what I do because of a future reward. 2. I do what I do because I want to serve Him today. 3. But it doesn’t hurt to know that one day, God is going to reward us for serving Him. The Green Pond Baptist Church may be a small church and our VBS may be a small church, but it is what God has built in this place to date and I think it deserves the best its people can give it. Will you be a good and faithful servant?
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