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Dick Wiedenheft
Jan 31, 2009 Men’s Breakfast @ Community Bible Church

“An investment that pays”

Matthew 25:14-30

(Some of the insights here are thanks to a talk I heard by Michael Breen recently at a 3d ministries training event – http://www.3dministries.org/)

(Image courtesy of http://www.netminsitry.com/)

I recently learned a new insight on this well-known parable which really opened it up.

Just a few observations about the story. Then a few questions for us to discuss. Then draw some practical conclusions.

Observations.
1. This master was very rich.
1 talent = 10-30 years wages. Between $1/2 million and 3 million.

2. This master was trusting and generous.

The fact that God includes us in his business of advancing his kingdom at all is a huge honor and responsibility.

And everything we receive is by God’s grace.

Granted the servants received money according to their abilities, but it was still God’s choosing to give it to them.

3. Nothing we have is ours to keep.
We’re stewards for a time.

4. It was not hard to double your money in that day.
Interest rates were up to 50% at that time.

5. But there is risk involved.
It’s a lot of money to be risking (as the third guy reminds us).

6. There is a day of reckoning where
God will want to know what we’ve done with what he’s entrusted to us and then we give it all back.

7. God gets the return, but those who invest get a huge reward –
they gain the rich master’s confidence and get huge responsibilities.

They’re set for life.

Encouraging in a day when banks are failing and investments are unsure.

Dick Shares his Story
We had a bunch of money from sale of house in Canada. Don’t own a house now to reinvest it. Lost money on exchange rate bringing it to US. Hard to get much interest on it now. So I’ve experienced a bit of the pain and uncertainty of this economy.

This Bible story gives us perspective. This story is talking about an investment strategy which pays well and is sure.

Bottom line: God has generously given us a lot
and he fully expects us to invest it in a way
that will give him a return.
And he’s coming to settle accounts.

Questions:
1. What do you think the talents represent?
Answer: left purposely vague. (more then just money)
Jesus wants us to apply it everywhere.

But if we think what else we know about Jesus and what he thought, a clear primary application emerges.

One way of seeing this is looking at Jesus’ own example.

2. What did the Father entrust Jesus with?

3. How did Jesus primarily invest that?

I want to suggest to you that the primary way Jesus wants us to invest what God has given us
is by investing in the lives of other people, to help them be better disciples of Jesus.

After all, those were Jesus parting words to us:

“All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations teaching them to obey everything I thought you and baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and lo I am with you even to the end of the age.”

Key take-away: I suspect one of the main things Jesus will be counting on judgment day will be how many disciples we’ve invested in.

I submit to you:

Jesus is not interested in counting
-The money in our bank accounts.
-The cars in our driveway.
-Not even the numbers who show up to our church.

As much as he’s counting.
The disciples we’ve invested in, by teaching them to follow him.

Practical Conclusions:
Some kinds of capital that we can invest in other people (in order of importance)?

1. Spiritual capital
2. Relational
3. Physical
4. Knowledge
5. Financial

Spiritual – our need to spend time with God to have something to share with others.
Relational – opening our hearts and lives / befriending.
Physical – (related) being there / just making time.
Knowledge – Sharing what we know.
Financial – actually sharing what we have. Generously investing in others, even with our money.
So, two questions to leave you with:

A.) What men has God put in your life whom you could be investing in? Maybe sons? Maybe other men?

B.)What training do you need to get going?
(Maybe you need someone to invest in you first so you’re one step ahead).

Implications for Men’s Ministry
Some guys who have a heard for leading this men’s ministry were talking the other night.

We felt one of the keys – is that the ministry is not just events.
It’s about discipling one another. In this sized group, but also smaller groups and one-on-one.

Men growing spiritually. Investing in one another.

Now, if you don’t know how to do that, and sense that you really need to know, and you’re willing to put in some time. One thing God has put on Terence and my heart, is to provide the training. Talk to us.

Exercise:
There are a number of barriers that can prevent us from disciplining.

TIME – I’m too busy to invest in others.
CAPITAL – I’m not sure what capital I have to share with others.
TRAINING – I don’t know how to invest in others.
PRIVACY – I don’t know who I can trust to get close to/open up to.
CONNECTIONS — I don’t know who I could invest in.
AWKWARD – It feels awkward to set myself up as someone who could disciple another person.

1.) Pick the barrier you believe is paramount in your life?
2.) Read passage again. How does it equip you to overcome this barrier?
3.) What’s one step I could take to lower this barrier?
4.) Pray for one another.

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