May 19, 2022 | Silver Spring, Maryland, United States | Ted N.C. Wilson, President, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists

TW: Greetings, friends! Today, my dear wife Nancy and I will be talking about something I think everyone enjoys receiving–gifts! Whether it is for a birthday or some other special occasion, I think we all enjoy receiving something special—especially from someone we love.

NW: In fact, even more important than the gift itself, no matter how wonderful it may be, is the person who took the time and effort to prepare and give the gift. This personal relationship, this thoughtfulness, is what is by far the most special–because it tells us that someone loves and cares about us!

TW: In Matthew 25, Jesus tells a story of a man who entrusted valuable gifts, or talents, to his workers. We read, in verses 14 and 15: “For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey.”

NW: Continuing on in verses 16 to 18: “Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money.”

TW: Of course, we know the rest of the story–when the owner returned, he commended those who had used their talents wisely, telling them, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord” (vs. 21).

NW: But sadly, one man didn’t use his talent, and just buried it in the ground. And even worse–he blamed the man who gave him the talent, saying, “I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed!” (vs. 24).

TW: Let’s notice, for a moment, that these workers were not asked to do their work without any resources! They were not asked to “make bricks without straw,” as the cruel Pharaoh asked the Egyptian slaves to do, as recorded in Exodus 5:7. No, these servants were given the resources they needed to do the job they were asked to do, and those who used them wisely were richly rewarded.

NW: And how wonderful it is that God gives each of us gifts, or talents, to use for Him! And He shows His great love for us by giving us these gifts so that we have the joy of reaching others for Him. And there is no greater joy than seeing someone respond to the prompting of the Holy Spirit as He works through us. He has given each one of us just what we need to do the work He has called us to do! We read about it in our Seventh-day Adventist Fundamental Belief #17:

TW: “God bestows upon all members of His church in every age spiritual gifts that each member is to employ in loving ministry for the common good of the church and of humanity. Given by the agency of the Holy Spirit, who apportions to each member as He wills, the gifts provide all abilities and ministries needed by the church to fulfill its divinely ordained functions. According to the Scriptures, these gifts include such ministries as faith, healing, prophecy, proclamation, teaching, administration, reconciliation, compassion, and self-sacrificing service and charity for the help and encouragement of people. Some members are called of God and endowed by the Spirit for functions recognized by the church in pastoral, evangelistic, and teaching ministries particularly needed to equip the members for service, to build up the church to spiritual maturity, and to foster unity of the faith and knowledge of God.

NW: “When members employ these spiritual gifts as faithful stewards of God’s varied grace, the church is protected from the destructive influence of false doctrine, grows with a growth that is from God, and is built up in faith and love.” If you would like to learn more about Spiritual Gifts and Ministries, we invite you to visit the URL shown at the bottom of the screen [www.adventist.org/spiritual-gifts-and-ministries/].

TW: In the wonderful book, Christ’s Object Lessons, Ellen White reminds us “The talents that Christ entrusts to His church represent especially the gifts and blessings imparted by the Holy Spirit” (p. 327). Further, she writes, “The special gifts of the Spirit are not the only talents represented in the parable. It includes all gifts and endowments, whether original or acquired, natural or spiritual. All are to be employed in Christ’s service” (p. 328).

NW: Have you ever felt that God is calling you to do something that stretches you? Something that is beyond your reach? Remember–He will never ask you to do something without giving you the power to do it! We are given this wonderful promise: “As the will of man cooperates with the will of God, it becomes omnipotent. Whatever is to be done at His command may be accomplished in His strength. All His biddings are enablings” (Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 333).

TW: Friend, today, I invite you to consider what talents the Lord has given to you. Are you willing to use those talents for Him? He is willing and able to provide everything you need to accomplish the work He has given to you at this very time. Let us pause just now as we dedicate ourselves, and the talents He has given us, to Him in prayer. Father in heaven. We thank you for the many gifts you have given to us. Everyone has received talents and gifts to use. Then in service to you. Lord, we pray that you will bless every man and woman, every child, every young person, everyone, regardless of age, to realize they are valuable and important, and that you wish to magnify and multiply the talents that you have provided to them. We entrust ourselves now into your care. Thank you for hearing us and giving us this opportunity. Of rededicating our time, our talents, and our abilities to you as we see the coming of Jesus approaching in Christ name, we ask it. Amen.

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