Craig Smith - The Faithfulness Paradox
Hey, welcome to Mission Hills on all of our campuses, including those watching us on Church Online. So glad you are here for the beginning of our Global Experience. We do this every year, and it’s one of my favorite times of year because it’s a reminder, really, of the purpose of the church. What we’ll focus on for the next couple of weeks is our global outreach. And the reason I say that’s the purpose of the church is because that’s really what the church is about. It’s about outreach. Outreach is not one of the things the church does, it’s really the heart of why the church is still in the world, and so when we think of outreach, just so you know, here’s how we define outreach: It is the work of connecting people to Jesus and to a Gospel centralized community. We want to connect people to Jesus because that’s where salvation comes from, so we want them to have eternal life in him.
We also want to connect them to the Gospel centered community because that is the context in which they can become like Jesus and join him on mission. So there is this constant engine that happens. We connect them to Jesus and the Gospel centered community to help them become like him and to join him on the mission in the world. Now we do that work both locally and globally. When we talk about local outreach at Mission Hills, what we mean is it’s the work of connecting people to Jesus in a Mission Hills campus. That’s local outreach. We have a number of campuses. We look to connect people to Jesus first and foremost, but then a Mission Hills campus to help them become like Jesus and join him on mission, but we also know there are a lot of people who are far from God who are far from a Mission Hills campus, so we still feel we have an obligation as a church to leverage resources we have been given to help those people, find, know and follow Jesus as well.
So when we talk about global outreach, global outreach is the work of connecting people to Jesus and a Gospel centered community other than Mission Hills. So for the next several weeks, you are going to get to hear from a number of our partners, we have 30 different partners working in 20 different countries that are looking to do this work of the church, and we love being able to leverage the resources we have to help that happen in part of the world that don’t necessarily have the resources that we do, so for the next several weeks you will not only hear those stories, but opportunities to be part of our global outreach work. Today, what I want to do is set the stage for why it is we consider what we do as a church in leveraging those resources globally so important.
Why don’t you go ahead and grab a Bible, make your way to Luke 12. We pick up in verse 35 today where Jesus teaches a parable that’s foundational for our thinking about global outreach work. It’s a parable that Jesus taught as he was going to be going away. He knew he would go away to the cross. He would be buried, but he also knew he would rise again, but he also knew that after he rose from the dead, he was going to go away for a while, and he was going to leave his followers to be his hands and feet. He was going to leave the church to be the place that the work of Jesus continue on in the world, so what he’s doing in this parable, he’s giving his followers instruction on how to live in the meantime, how to live between the resurrection and the return of Jesus which is still in the future.
So this is an instruction to us. In verse 35 of chapter 12, he begins a parable and he says this, be dressed, ready for service and keep your lamps burning. He says that’s the first thing. In the meantime between my resurrection and my return, here’s what I want you to do: be dressed, ready for service. I like the NIV translation, “be dressed, ready for service” because the original Greek is a little uncomfortable. It’s literally something like “clothe your loins” which I think we can all agree this is a much better translation, but what he’s basically saying, don’t be caught in your birthday suit. Don’t be caught in your pajamas. Don’t be caught in whatever little or maybe nothing that you would sleep in. You need to be dressed, ready to go about my business, okay?
He wants you to keep your lamps burning, when I come back, I want to be able to see where my church is. Oh, the church is there. There’s a body. There’s my church. He doesn’t want to be going, where’s the church? I can’t see them. They are not shining the light of the Gospel in the world. So he says, I want you to be dressed, ready for service, and I want you to be shining your lamps. And then he said something that rocked my world a by as I began to study it because it changed my view as I was thinking about the return of Christ. He says this, be dressed, ready for service, keep your lamps burning and verse 36, do that like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet. For the first time, I must have read this verse a hundred times in my life. For the first time as I was studying for this message, the wedding banquet thing grabbed my attention.
He said, be ready like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet. I have never thought about it like. That honestly, when I thought about the return of Jesus, and I don’t know if I was taught this in church, if I caught it from the other Christians I grew up around, when I thought about Jesus coming back, I don’t expect him to be coming back from a wedding banquet. I expect him to be coming back from the trip to the DMV, right? I expect him to be coming back from an IRS audit. In other words, I kind of had this expectation that Jesus is going to be coming back in a bad mood.
But Jesus challenged that here. He said, no, no, no. Be prepared for me to come back like I’m coming back from a wedding banquet, and anyone coming back from a wedding banquet is going to be coming back in a good mood. That’s really what he’s saying. He says be prepared for Jesus to return in a good mood. That really rocked my world. Because I think the reality is, and I think it’s an unfortunate reality, and I think a lot of us struggle with it. We have the sense that what we are doing in the meantime, while we are waiting for Jesus to return, because we expect him to come back in a bad mood, we are trying to minimize his disappointment, right? We are trying to make it so when Jesus returns, he’s not as disappointed in us as he could have been. I’ll be holy so he’s not overly disappointed with me when he gets back.
I’m going to be faithful with what he’s entrusted in me so I don’t have to deal with how upset with me he could be. But what I’m really trying to do, I’m trying to minimize his disappointment, but Jesus challenges that here. He says expect me to come back in a good mood. Expect me to come back delighted. And I began to ask myself a really interesting question, and I’m still kind of wrestling with it. What would happen if I stopped working to minimize God’s disappointment, and I started working to maximize His delight? How would it change my life? How would it change your life? How would it change your faith if you weren’t anticipating Jesus returning in a bad mood, you were anticipating him to return in a good mood, and you weren’t working to minimize the disappointment he might feel in you, you were working to maximize the delight that he’s going to feel in you, that he’s naturally inclined to feel in you. What if God’s default setting isn’t disappointment? What if it’s delight? What if we have the opportunity, the privilege of living in such a way now that we get to maximize how delighted he is when he returns?
The very least for me, I realize, that would mean for me that I stop worrying so much about making mistakes, and I start being excited about opportunities I have. How would it change your life if you could just get rid of this idea that he’s in a bad mood, and you started working not to minimize the disappointment, but started working to maximize his delight. How much more fun is that? I don’t know, fun, faith; those are totally different things, right? He says he’s coming back from a wedding banquet. He’s been eating, drinking, dancing and partying, and it’s been awesome, and he’s coming back in a good mood. What if faithfulness is supposed to be fun? It says live like this so that when he comes and knocks, they can immediately open the door for him. I love that. Live in such a way that when the Master comes back in a good mood, you can’t wait to throw open the door. If you think he’s coming back in a bad mood, if you have been trying to minimize his disappointment, but you know you haven’t fully succeeded, when you see him coming, your back is against the door going, all right, breathe. It’s going to be okay. We’ll get through this.
He says, no, no, no. Live in such a way when he starts coming back, the moment you see him you throw open the door and why wouldn’t you because you anticipate when you see him everything is going to be awesome. He will be delighted in you. He says, verse 37, it will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. And I want you to pay attention. He doesn’t say “it will be better,” it won’t be as bad for,” he says it will be good. Literally it is, good will come or blessing will come to those that the master finds ready.
He says truly I tell you, he, that’s the master, check this out, the master will dress himself to serve, and he will have them, that’s the servants, he will have them recline at the table and the master will come and will wait on them. Does that make anyone else uncomfortable? I struggle with that. I don’t know what to do with it. I don’t know what to do with a God that says hey, when I get back, I’m going to be so delighted, I’m so anticipated in the opportunity to have you sit down at the table, and I’m going to serve you. I don’t know what to do with that. I’m going to be honest with you; I struggle with a God that loves me. I mean, in theory, like the God who loves the world, I’m okay, but when it gets personal, the God who loves me, not just tolerates me, but actually loves me? I struggle with that a little bit.
A God who is gracious to me, who looks at my sin and says, I’m going to take care of that. The Lord himself went to the cross and paid the penalty of my sin. All I have to do is put trust in him, when I put my faith in him I’m forgiven of my sins past, present and future, that nothing I do can separate me from the love of God, that sort of grace, I don’t know what to do with that. Now he says, yeah, I’m looking for an opportunity to have you sit down at a table so I can serve you. I don’t know what to do with that. I don’t know what to do with a God who is looking for that opportunity, and I know Jesus demonstrated this in his own life. The night before he went to the cross, he had his disciples gathered for a meal. He noticed that their feet were dirty, that nobody had taken the initiative to clean their feet, and so we are told Jesus took off his outer clothes, wrapped a towel around his waist, already getting awkward, right? And he went and washed their feet. If I had been there, I would have done what Peter did.
Peter stopped him. He said, no, Lord, you can’t wash my feet. If anything, I should be washing your feet, but you shouldn’t be serving me that way, and Jesus said, the son of man, his favorite title for himself, he didn’t come to be served, but to serve. I know that he said that. That the idea that God is hoping for, he’s anticipating, longing for a moment when he returns and finds us faithful, and he’s so delighted that he actually begins to serve us, I don’t know what to do with that God, but I do know this, that’s a God that I long to serve, right? Not a God who is always frustrated, always irritated, always disappointed, but a God who is actually looking for a opportunity to be delighted? That’s a totally different motivation for being faithful to him.
He says, verse 38, it will be good. Good will come to those servants whose masters find them ready even if he comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak. Not just better for, not just not as bad for, he says good will come for those that the master finds ready at any time. In verse 39 he says this, if the owner of the house had known what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready for the son of man will come at an hour you don’t expect him.
What happens here, we kind of think the mood has shifted. He’s kind of gone from servants waiting for their master to come back in a good mood from a wedding, to now he’s talking about break ins. Now he’s not expecting good things. Now it’s anticipating bad things, but that’s not what Jesus is doing. Jesus is saying, hey, guys, you don’t know when this will happen. You can’t schedule this. It is going to happen unexpectedly, I’m going to come back in a good mood, but at a completely unexpected time. In the same way you can’t schedule a burglary, you can’t schedule the blessing I’m offering. The point is, you have to be ready at any time because you don’t know when to expect him. Peter... I love Peter. As my grandma used to say, God bless him. Peter said, Lord, are you telling this parable to us, or to everyone?
Understand what he’s asking is, because he understands the context. He says, Jesus, when you come back you are going to be in a good mood. You are going to be looking to give blessing. You are going to be looking to serve us. Hey, are you talking to us? And what he means is the 12, the apostles, the close group, the spiritual elite, the professional followers of Jesus. You are going to bless us, right? Are you talking to us, or everyone else? He expects the answer to be, you guys. Verse 42 the Lord answered, who then is the faithful and wise manager? Who is the one I’m going to bless, Peter, whom the master puts in charge of their servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? Who is this one, Peter? It’s the one who does what I expect with what I entrust. He says, there is a manager, when the master goes away, he gives them resources. He entrusts food and beverage. He says here’s what I want you to do with this. Here’s what I expect you to do with what I entrusted to you, I expect that you will distribute it, you will take care of people, you will take care of folk, you will use it the way I expect, and when I come back and find you doing what I expect with what I entrust, there’s going to be blessing for you.
So Jesus says, Peter, it’s not for you. It’s not for the 12. It’s not for an elite group. It’s not for the pastors. It’s not for the church staff. It’s not for the missionaries. It’s for anyone I find faithful when I come back. They are the ones that will receive this blessing. It’s all about faithfulness, Peter. What is faithfulness? Doing what God expects with what He entrusts. Let me ask you a question. I think it’s really important. How many of you have been entrusted with something by God? That’s not nearly enough hands. All right, we are going to have to do it then. You have to look at the person next to you, and you have to say, God has entrusted something to you. Look at... God has entrusted something to you. Everybody needs to hear that word because He has. Maybe it’s money. Maybe it’s time. Maybe it’s skill. Maybe it’s professional knowledge you have, maybe it’s stuff, and maybe it’s cars. Things that we have. God has entrusted something to you. Understand what Jesus says, there is blessing coming. I am coming back in a good mood, and I can’t wait to find you faithful, and faithfulness is just this, it’s doing what God expects with what He entrusts... for everyone.
He says, verse 43, it will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. It will be good for you when God returns and He finds you doing what He expects with what He entrusts. It will be good. The keyword there is “finds.” What does it take for you to be found faithful? What does it take for you to be confident that when Jesus returns, you will be found faithful? He’s already told us, you won’t know when it’s going to happen. You can’t schedule a blessing any more than a burglary. It’s going to happen in an hour you are not expecting, which means that if you are being faithful, if you are doing what God expects with what He entrusts, every now and then, a couple of times a week, honestly, even a couple of times a day, if you are doing what God expects with what He entrusts a couple of times a day, there is still a much better chance that you are not going to be found faithful than you are because there are a lot more moments when it’s not true, which means to be found faithful, what we have to do is we have to begin to adopt a lifestyle.
It’s not something we do on occasion. It has to be part of the very fabric of our lives, it has to be a lifestyle. Readiness, listen to me, readiness is a lifestyle of doing what God expects with what He entrusts. It’s a lifestyle. It has to just be part of who we are. Not an activity we engage in, even on a regular basis. It has to be a lifestyle doing what God expects with what He entrusts. Then He says this, here’s the blessing, verse 44, truly I tell you, he will put him, the person he finds doing what he expects, the master will put him in charge of all of his possessions.
There’s a principle here. You might have heard it. This is the way we often say it, it’s the principle that when we are faithful with a little, God will entrust us with more, right? And I think that principle is there, but it’s amazing to me how often we misunderstand a couple of things about it, that if you misunderstand these, they can lead to discouragement. They can lead to disappointment and frustration and bitterness with God. The first way we don’t understand. We don’t understand the timing of it. We think is a right now promise. We feel like, what God’s saying, if you are faithful with little, if you do what He expects with the little He entrusts, then very shortly, He will give you more, right?
So you know, I’m faithful with my little paycheck. I expect within the next month or a year, certainly no more than two years, there will be a much bigger paycheck coming my way. God promised that to me, right? If I’m faithful with my little job, then the next couple of years will be a much bigger job, with a bigger paycheck by the way. Isn’t that great how that works out? If I’m faithful with my one kid, then he will give me eight kids. I don’t know why anyone would want eight kids, but I know some of you are looking for that. The idea, is if I’m faithful to one, he’s going to give me much, and it’s going to happen soon, be you what I want you to notice is that when the master returns, it will be true. It’s a promise with a maturity date.
I mean, get ready for a big word here. This is an eschatological promise. Everybody should go ooh. Eschatology, it’s the study of the end times. It’s the study of what happens at the very end of history, and what Jesus says, when I return at the end of history, here’s the promise. If you have been faithful with a little, I’ll put you in charge of much. It’s a little bit like when I was ten years old, my granddaddy gave me a $100 saving bond. When I was ten years old, the idea of $100 was crazy money. So I immediately took my savings bond to the bank, and I was like, I need to cash this, and the woman was like, okay, you will get like $25.12. I was like, no, no. It’s $100, right there. It says right there. She said that is the value of that, but that’s not going to be true until the specific maturity date. I said, well, when’s the maturity date? She looked. She said... 30 years from now.
We do sometimes the same kind of thing here. This is a promise with a maturity date. It’s going to be worth everything he said, but it’s going to be worth that when he returns. It’s not necessarily true right here, right now. The problem is we don’t get that. What happens is that we get discouraged. I don’t know why God’s not showing up. I don’t know why God hasn’t paid attention. I don’t know why God hasn’t fulfilled His promise. We get discouraged. We get disappointed. We get frustrated. Sometimes we get bitter with God, and we stop being faithful because we feel like God didn’t keep His end of the bargain. God is going to keep His end of the bargain, but He will do it in the timetable He’s given us.
The other way that I think we misunderstand this is we misunderstand what He’s promising. We tend to think if you are faithful with a little, He will give you a lot more to have fun with. That sounds really good, doesn’t it? If you are faithful with your little paycheck, He will give you a much bigger paycheck to spend on all sorts of fun stuff. That’s not what He says, is it? Did you catch it? He will put him in charge of His possessions, of all of His possessions. You understand what that means is, if you are faithful with a little, you are going to get an opportunity for more faithfulness, more responsibility, more opportunity for faithfulness. The principle is this. God rewards faithfulness with more opportunities to be faithful. I know a lot of us go, that doesn’t sound like that much fun.
Honestly, it’s not always. I just spent time this past week with a pastor friend of mine who has been very, very faithful in small churches over the years. God has just moved him into a much larger church out near Seattle. We were talking this week, and it was beginning to dawn on him what his schedule was going to look like, and what his responsibilities would be, and how much pressure he was going to be under, and how do you manage a budget of that size? You could see this almost deer in the headlights look as he talked about it. This is scary. Yeah. Sometimes when you are faithful with little, he actually gives you much scarier blessings, but here’s the thing, and I want you to hear me on this. If you hear the promise to reward faithfulness with more opportunities to be faithful and you are like, that doesn’t motivate me. That doesn’t appeal to me, what you need to understand is that you have not yet experienced the fulfillment that comes from faithfulness. Then you have not yet understood how soul satisfying it is to be faithful, to experience the delight of God because you have been faithful and done what He expected with what He entrusted.
One of my favorite movies: “Chariots of Fire.” It’s an old movie about an Olympic runner, also a missionary to China. There’s a line in the movie, it’s really the only reason I like the movie, just this one line, and I really hope he actually said this in real life. Because when I get to heaven, I’m going to ask him and he says, no I never said that, I’m going to be crazy disappointed, because it’s the best line ever. Somebody’s challenging him. They are basically going, if you know God’s calling you to be a missionary to China, why on Earth are you running in the Olympics? And he said this, and he had this great accent, he says, “God made me for a purpose, and that’s China, but he also made me fast, and when I run, I can feel His pleasure.” Like that’s a killer line.
When I run, I can feel his pleasure. This is a man who understands the fulfillment that comes from faithfulness, that knows what it’s like to experience the joy of the Lord when we use what He has entrusted to us in the way that He expects. If you have never experienced that, often what needs to happen, there needs to be a breakthrough in our souls that we begin to fix our eyes on something different. In fact, on all of our campuses right now, including Church Online would you bow your heads? Would you let me pray over you right now? I’m going to pray for this breakthrough.
God, I lift up all of our church, all of my brother and my sisters. I ask that You would give us eyes to see us smile when we are faithful, that You would give us ears to hear You singing over us, that You give us hearts that are sensitive to the thrill of Your spirit, to Your joy, to Your delight when You are faithful, Lord, would You give us an experience of fulfillment that comes when we are faithful. May that drive us forward. In Jesus name. Amen.
He says, but suppose the servant says to himself, my master is taking a long time in coming, and he then begins to beat the other servants, both men and women and to eat and drink and get drunk. Not a faithful servant, right? He’s been entrusted with a lot, but he’s not doing what the master expected. How does the master respond to that servant? Verse 46, the master of that servant will come on a day that the servant does not expect him at an hour he is not aware of... you still can’t schedule it, and he will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers. Great. Just took a dark turn, right?
This is another of those verses that we can easily get derailed by. Christians battle over it sometimes. I want to deal with it, but I don’t want to get derailed by it. What happens is, some people go, he’s going to be assigned a place by the unbelievers, and some people go, that means you can lose your salvation. That basically what happened here was a result of their unfaithfulness. Because they were unfaithful, the result was they lost their salvation. They were assigned a place with unbelievers. Other Christians go, no, no, no. This wasn’t a result of their unfaithfulness; it was a revelation of the fact that they were never the Lord’s people to begin with. They were putting on the show, walking around kind of playing the game, going through the motion, but this isn’t a result of unfaithfulness. They didn’t lose their salvation. This is just a revelation that they were never the master’s people to begin with.
And I lean in that direction because of a number of other things we find in scripture. I lean in the direction that this is a revelation that they were never God’s people to begin with. But the thing is again, I don’t want to be derailed by this, whether you see this as a potential loss of salvation, or the revelation that they were never God’s people to begin with, understand that what Jesus is saying here, the thing that he wants us to pay attention to is this, how we use our resources matter a lot to him. How we use our resources is a VBD, very big deal. It’s a big HD, big hairy deal. Use whatever way you need to do it, but you need to cement this into our mind. When God has entrusted things to us, He has an expectation of what we’ll do with it, and it matters deeply to God. Listen to me; Jesus takes how we use our resources very seriously.
Now I got some bad news, and then I’ll get to some good news. Verse 47, the servant who knows the master’s will, does not get ready, does not do what the master wants will be beaten with me blows. Don’t take this literally. Jesus is not going to show up and beat you up, but the point is there is discipline. He’s using a metaphor that the people he was talking to were familiar with. They know this happens. The point that he’s making is again, how we use our resources is a very big deal to Jesus. Now I got some good news, and then some more bad news. Verse 48, but the one who does not know and does things deserving of punishment will be beaten with few blows. There’s your good news. Like, that’s the best we are going to do today. He says the one who doesn’t know what God expects from what He entrusts is just going to get beat up a little bit. Just a little. Just a couple of punches here and there, right?
Ignorance is not innocence. For all people, whether we know Jesus or not, for all of the people that God has created, what we do with what He entrusts matters a lot. Some people don’t know what God expects from what He entrusts, so the discipline won’t be quite as severe. There’s your good news. The bad news? That ain’t you. Just by coming here today, just by tuning in today and hearing the Word of the Lord, you can’t play that card. You can’t play the card that says, I didn’t have any idea. I didn’t know God had any expectation. I have taken that away from you. I’m so sorry. You know, and listen to me, you are responsible to act on what you know. Kind of a sideline, I think one of the weird things I think the devil is doing in the world today, he’s taking this odd tactic. Instead of trying to hide the Word of God from us, instead of isolating us to not hear what God says and what He expects, he’s kind of taking another tactic, at least in the United States of America.
That is, let’s let them hear so much of the truth that they never do anything with any of it. What I have realized is the more content we consume, the less character we cultivate. You hear me? We come and listen to the Word of God in a place like Mission Hills, and then we have pod costs. We can listen to Andy Stanley and Craig Groeschel, and we can listen to these great messages, and every day, I’m taking in all of this content, but the problem is, the more content we consume, the less character we actually cultivate because we never do anything with any of it, and I want you to hear the Word of God today, you know. You know He has an expectation for what He entrusted in you. You need to push into that today, and in the hours and the weeks that come after this. He has an expectation. You know it.
The question is, are we going to act on the basis of it? He says, from everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded. And from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be... what’s that word? Expected. From the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be expected. The reality is, we have been entrusted with much. It’s so easy for us to lose sight of that, right? I don’t have as much as her. I don’t have what he has in this area, so we tend to fixate on these gaps that we receive rather than the foundation of grace, and the foundation of things God has entrusted to us. Let’s just talk money for a second.
We don’t talk about money a whole lot here, but I think it would be irresponsible for me not to talk about it. Do you know one third of the world’s wealth is concentrated in the United States of America, one third of it. We have 1/20 of the world’s population. 1/3 of the wealth, 1/20th of the population. We have been entrusted with much, right? You have been entrusted with much. The reality is, if you drove to a Mission Hills campus today? Just one car and gas in it puts you in the top percentile of the world’s wealthiest people. If you are watching on a device, if you have streaming video coming in with high speed internet, you’re wealthy.
Some families came, this was pointed out to me at the last service, some families came in two or three cars today. I’m not faulting. That’s not a bad thing. You need to understand what it means. It means we have been entrusted with much, and when we have been entrusted with much, much is to be... what? Expected. How are you using your wealth for God’s glory and His people’s good. I’m going to push in on this. We don’t do this very often, but I think this is important right here. Some of you have been coming to Mission Hills for a long time. You haven’t used the wealth that God has entrusted you in the way that God expects you to. I want to challenge you. If you are not giving something, I want to encourage you to start giving something. We’ll take an offering in a little while. I want to encourage you to use your wealth in the way God expects. By the way, just so you know, outreach is central to everything we do as a church at Mission Hills.
Our youth ministry is doing outreach. Our women’s ministry is reaching out. Our student ministry, kid’s ministry, men’s ministry... everything we do is outreach. We are so committed to connecting people to Jesus and in a Gospel centered community that in spite of the fact that all of our ministries are outreached focus, we peel off 15% of every dollar to go exclusively to outreach to support both local and global work to connect people to Jesus in a Gospel centered community. When you move from giving nothing to giving something, you can know that you are allowing your wealth to be used as God expects.
So if you are giving nothing, start giving something. I’m going to challenge you. Maybe you are giving something. I’m going to challenge you to give something significant, maybe a percentage. I’m going to give 2 or 3%. Maybe that’s your next step of faithfulness. Maybe you are already giving something and you go to tithe. Tithe is 10%. Years ago my family decided we were just going to do that. It was just going to be our practice. Everything that comes in, 10% just goes directly to my local church. Some of you are giving tithe. That’s awesome. You are desperately hoping you are off the hook at this point, right? I’m going to say, there is another step of faithfulness you might take. That is the step of what I call spirit-led sacrificial giving where you give 10% to your local church and the work of the Gospel in that church, and beyond that, begin praying that the Holy Spirit would give you opportunities to continue using what God has entrusted to you in the ways that God expected. My family gives 10% to the church, but we have a number of other missionaries we support from all over the world. We tend to focus on missionaries because we know a dollar in certain parts of the world, a dollar in Mexico, a dollar in Poland goes so much further than it does here.
So above and beyond our 10% we give to... we have seven or eight different missionaries we support to a significant degree. Maybe that’s your next step. The thing is, we have wealth. Faithfulness means we do what God expects with what He entrusts. Maybe it’s technology. A lot of you right now are watching on a computer that you carry around in your pocket. A computer that has more computing power than what we used to put men on the moon. Like we all have those, right? So many of us have them, and what do we do with them? We watch cat videos. I’m not saying that cat videos are bad... they are, but that’s not my point. Just so you know, it’s because it’s cats, right? If it’s dogs, it’s okay. It’s cat’s that’s the problem. The point is we have this technology, and again, we consume and consume and consume. You know, you can use that to connect with missionaries. You can use that to be encouraging to people all over the world, brother and sisters in part of the world you will never set foot, but you can be an encouragement to them. You can hear from them about their prayer needs on a regular basis. You can be praying for them.
You can leverage technology to really support the cause of Christ around the world. That’s an incredible opportunity. Are you doing what God expects with what He’s entrusted, or it’s time, right? You are like, I’m off the hook here because I’m so busy, and I know we are a busy nation, but here’s the thing. We have brothers and sisters, we have followers of Jesus all over the world that it take almost the whole day to get clean water and food for the day, assuming clean water and food is available, takes the whole day to get a hold of it. That is not our problem. We have a wealth of time, and to whom much is entrusted, much is what? Expected. Here’s what I want you to do. This week I want you to do this, two things.
First one, simple. Second one, scary. Here’s what I want you to do, step one, each day this week I want you to identify one thing that God has entrusted to you. I want it to be a different thing each day. You can keep going beyond seven days, but for seven days, beginning of each day I want you to say, God, just show me something that You have entrusted to me. Write down one thing. Maybe it’s a thing. Maybe it’s an ability, maybe it’s some time, one thing, whatever it is, what has God entrusted to me. That’s easy. Here’s the scary one. I want you to pray. It’s a dangerous prayer. Each day I want you to pray, God, what do you expect from this thing You have entrusted? I can tell you right now, it’s going to mess you up, but it’s going to make your God smile. As He opens your eyes to the opportunities, and as you are faithful to do what God expects with what He has entrusted you to do, you are going to feel God’s pleasure. Would you pray with me?
Jesus, thank you for your generosity. Your generosity is expressed to us in your grace that you died in our place. You paid the penalty of our sin. It’s forgiven past, present, future, it’s forgiven as far as the East is from the West, we are free from it. Lord, beyond that, and that’s enough, Lord. It’s enough. We don’t need anything beyond that, but you just keep pouring into us. You keep entrusting us with mercy and grace and gifts. Lord, thank you. Would you stir our hearts to faithfulness, to do what you expect with what you entrust, and let us feel your pleasure. In Jesus name. Amen.