Matthew 25:24-26 "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 did not winnow; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.' But his master answered him, You wicked and slothful servant! You knew ...."
In a stewardship sermon you would probably led to examine your use of your time, your treasures, and your abilities. These 3 things, time, treasure and abilities are a good summary of things that God gives to us, and to all. Many of us do fairly well in using 1 or 2 things to the glory of God, but there is generally at least one area where we can grown, it is good to have a personal plan as to how you hope to grow, say in giving time, or in giving of you abilities; the old proverb is worth considering - those who fail to plan, fail to grow. The planning may be something as simple as writing it down so you can remember to bring it to God in prayer.
In a stewardship sermon, we might spend alot of time comparing the servant with one talent who did nothing to a gold brick, to gold brick means to do nothing, and thatís what this servant did with the treasure with which he had been entrusted. Having a gold brick may be something we all think would be nice, but if you only were using it as a doorstop, then any other brick would do as well. How do you know what to do with the treasures God entrusts to our care?
And that is the subject of this sermon. How can you know what to do with your talents? It would be quite unfair if God were to give us something, and then not tell us what it was, or how it could be used. But the gift of God is neither a puzzle or a parody, it is clear, present and useful. And while many people are searching for peace with God, since it is God who comes to us, we cannot use the excuse of we couldnít find him - an excuse that might work if we were looking for the portable skyhook, the left-handed monkeywrench, or the checkered paint. For while people may go one a wild goose chase or be sent on a snipe hunt, God does not leave us to fend for ourselves or to find our own way. God comes to us, and the salvation he brings is something which is immediately useful, for we all sin much, and we all desire peace with God, and forgiveness of sins.
And God doesnít leave us wondering what he is doing, for from the beginning he has set down his will and his way. God has clearly revealed his will: He wants all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. All of the parables of the Kingdom, have shown us God at work all around us bringing life forgiveness and salvation, as the Spirit working through the Word works faith and sanctification in the lives of those whom he has called.
The final thing that remains is the fear and doubt that may assail us, for the devil is in there saying, its a great treasure, what if you make the wrong choice? Its a princely price, what if you should loose it all? And if the Holy Spirit had not worked faith and regeneration in us, this would be a reasonable fear, but we have been born again, no longer sinners, by grace through faith, we are the children of God. Do you believe that you are a child of God? I want to remind you of the great promise that we have been given.John 14:12 "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father."
That is a big promise! Greater works than Jesus did... Now, now the text comes back and begins to make sense: "reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not winnow"
How can this be? Simple, our God is the creator, he can create a field ready for harvest. In in trusting us with the treasure of salvation, God is saying to us, be creative, bring life out of death. And know that as you seek to do my will, and to live as my children, know that I will be with you to bless your labors. Know that as nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus, so also nothing can take away the treasure that is in our care. Donít be afraid, but live by faith, knowing that you are a child of God, and the God will enable you.