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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Michael Youssef » Michael Youssef - Faithfulness vs Performance

Michael Youssef - Faithfulness vs Performance

Michael Youssef - Faithfulness vs Performance
TOPICS: Faithfulness, Performance, Judgment, Reward

Jesus taught many times about the importance of faithfulness, of diligence, of hard-work, faithfulness without resources, prudent with our investments of life; all of life. Not just money. Faithful worship, faithful stewardship with all of our spiritual and material assets. About moral and ethical lessons regarding hard-work and diligence and faithfulness. So, you can begin preparing by turning to Matthew 25, verses 14 to 30. Throughout life there're only to kinds of people. In the Christian life there are the saved and there are those who are condemned. Basically, no third. And in this parable Jesus teaches us that there are two kinds of people. There are those who are faithful and those who are not. Those who are diligent and hard-workers and those who are not. And thus, the faithful being rewarded and the unfaithful were not.

The other kind who are not faithful, basically Jesus called them lazy and they squander their stewardship. And therefore they judge harshly. This parable is gonna challenge some of us. I hope you're ready for the challenge, but I also know by the same token, it's gonna encourage many of you. Because I know many of you and I know how faithful you are. So, you will be encouraged. But the main point of this, is this: every single one of us has been given spiritual and material assets. Every one of us have been entrusted with the management of the spiritual and material assets. None of us can say, "Well, I really don't have anything to manage. I don't have anything to invest".

And so, the question is: how do you invest your life's assets? How do you manage your life's assets? How faithful are you, how faithful am I, in our stewardship of the resources and gifts that God placed on our hands? Including the very breath that we take, that's a gift from God. And the fact is this, every one of us is responsible for the management of these assets, spiritual and material, that he placed on our hands. I'm sure you found it already, Matthew 25. Everything in life is a stewardship. Everything in life has been given to us. We have nothing that has not been given to us. Everything in life has been entrusted for us to manage for the owner.

Therefore, faithfulness in life begins with and attitude. I'm gonna emphasize this over and over again, because you and I are either faithful or we are not. You cannot be half faithful any more than a woman can be half pregnant. It's an impossibility. Either you are faithful or you are not. In fact, those who are faithful in their walk with the Lord, they are faithful in every area in life, because faithfulness is an attitude. Faithfulness is a total job. As someone would say, "Well, I am faithful in church attendance, but if I'm honest with myself I'm really not faithful with my money. I'm not faithful with my employer's hours and work hours, and I'm not faithful here, and I'm not faithful here".

Now, that means you're not faithful. It just means that you have developed a habit of church attendance. Are you with me? You have to be faithful, because faithfulness is a total job or you're not. Look at the words of Jesus with me. He is saying, although assets may vary, five, two, and one. Stewardship size may vary, but in this parable we see this example, that either you're faithful or you're not. The two stewards, the first two, had two different amounts. They're two different size stewardship and it doesn't matter. The third one was not faithful. It really makes no difference whether he had one or he had five or he had a 100. But just in case somebody accuses me of being legalistic and I know some people do that in the social media, God bless them.

I don't think they know what legalism is, but be that as it may, I wanna be sure and I want you to hear me right on this issue of faithfulness. Far from legalism. Faithfulness does not mean that I don't fumble and stumble in life on occasions. Faithfulness does not mean that you do not get tired at times and you're not able to do some things that you would like to do, or you need a break. Faithfulness is not synonymous with performance. Did you get that? Faithfulness, and I'm gonna show you the difference, because a lot of Christians in churches, they mix 'em up. They think faithfulness and performance one and the same. They're not. In fact, I'll show you from this parable that that master is not checking on these three people every minute of every day or every week or every month or every year. But rather, he waited till the very end, because faithfulness is what? Attitude.

Now let's look closely and see what Jesus is saying here. He saying, "Two of the three servants had the right attitude towards faithfulness". The third one did not. And the one who had the wrong attitude about faithfulness lost everything. Did you get that? Lost everything. I pray to God that he will use this. His own words, his own parable to challenge some of us today and indeed encourage many of you. Jesus said, "The kingdom of heaven," he's been talking throughout the context of that chapter about the kingdom of heaven. What is the kingdom of heaven like? He said it's like a king or a wealthy person or a powerful person who went away for a while. His absence from his kingdom. And so, he assigns the management responsibility to three different people.

Notice, they don't all have the same level of responsibility. They don't have equal amounts. They don't all have the exact thing that the other one has. No, one got five, one got two, one got one. Don't miss this, don't miss this. The master does not tell them how to manage it. The master does not tell them when to manage it. The master does not tell them where to invest it, but all that the master was looking for is one thing: how faithful were they with what he'd given them? How thoughtful were they with what he handed to them? How diligent they were in investing what he gave them? Let me say it again? Faithfulness is not the same as performance.

Now, lots of churches filled with people who are into performance, but not faithfulness. You see, performance is trying to earn your way to heaven which you cannot anyway. But faithfulness is how to use what you've been given. Performance is trying to earn God's love which you cannot do. But faithfulness is recognizing that you are only a steward. That you're only a manager and not an owner. Performance is an outward expression. Faithfulness is in attitude. Performance is a competition, but faithfulness is a lifestyle. Now, with this brief introduction I get to the parable. There are four things here I want to share with you, from this parable. And they all begin with the letter R. Responsibility, reaction, reckoning, and reward. I hope you're impressed. That's my performance.

I was impressed with me. The responsibility that each of us has, the reaction that we exhibit towards that responsibility, and thirdly, the reckoning day which we all will face, and finally the reward that some of us are gonna get. First, the responsibility. Jesus is trying to tell us that everyone of us, every one of us, have been given responsibilities. We have been given spiritual assets, hello. We've been given material assets. We have been given time assets, which we all get exactly the same amount. These assets vary from one to one to one. God is not a socialist. Did you get that? He does not treat us all like we are cookie-cutters, being made by a cookie cutter. No, he knows you, and you, and you, and me, by name, by temperament. He knows everything about us and he treats us individually.

You see, God is a fair God. God is a just God and God will not ask us to be responsible for that which he has not given us. Are you with me? These three servants were given three different measures. Even the first two faithful ones were not given exactly the same amount. One was given five, the other was given two. And they both doubled what they were given. You notice the master never asked the one who was given two, "Why didn't you bring five"? That's not our God, that's not the way he will deal with us. Now, there's some Christians who literally waste their lives thinking about what they don't have, what they were not given, what they should have received, why they're not given what somebody else was given. Instead of being grateful to God, thankful to God for whatever he's given you.

Secondly, the reaction that each of us will have toward that responsibility that we're given. The first two represented faithful believers. Listen carefully, please. Those who are faithful know that their faithfulness is not a drudgery, but a joy and a delight. You see, those who are faithful, to them faithfulness is not a duty or something I gotta get it over and one with, but they can't wait to wake up in the morning and go to serve God in whatever profession he gave them; in order to glorify God in what they do. Those to whom faithfulness is not a chore or a burden, but rather a feeling of being honored and privileged. That is faithfulness. The first two immediately began thinking how to maximize the blessings that they were given. How to maximize what the stewardship that God gave them.

The last one spent his time moaning and complaining, sulking, and souring, and criticizing. It's like someone said, "Those who are busy pulling at the oars have no time to rock the boat". And I say, "Amen, belongs here". But the question is this: what is your reaction to what God has placed in your hands? Is it joy and gratitude and thanksgiving? Or is it a disappointment and indifference? Is it delight and diligence or deflection and disappointment? Your reaction to your God-given responsibilities is an indication of the level of your faithfulness. If your reaction is, "I don't have many gifts. I really don't have the right gifts. I don't have any important gift at all. I don't have the gifts that so and so has".

Then you will sit day after day like that third man in the parable, making excuses as to why you cannot maximize your responsibilities. The responsibilities we all have. The reaction we exhibit towards that responsibility and thirdly, the reckoning that we will all face, every one of us. Jesus does not tell us the length of the time in which the master was absent. He does not tell us how long he's been away, how long has he entrusted those three people. You say, "Well, why not? Why didn't he tell us, you know, if he's away ten years, 20 years"? I tell you why? It's irrelevant, it's irrelevant. Make no difference.

What is important is that sooner or later the day of accountability, the day of reckoning is coming to every one of us. Every one of us. When the master said to the first and the second servant, "Well done good and faithful servants," he was commending them, not for being faithful for a certain period of time where they labored hard more than others. He is not commending them for the times when they're more active than other times. No, no, no, no. He was commending them for their attitude of faithfulness throughout life.

You say, "Michael, how do you know that"? Well, glad you asked. It's verse 23, Matthew 25. I don't make up the stuff. He called them what? "Good and faithful," can you say those two words with me? Good and faithful. You see these are character traits for excellence. This is the attitude of excellence. An excellence of character and attitude is always expressed itself in service. Those who are into performance, those who are into the praise of people doing things so people can praise them. Those who are doing things that are supposedly charitable for self-aggrandizement. They're not gonna be praised, they already got their praise here from man. They're not gonna get it in heaven.

When the master handed out these talents he did not say to them, "Here, go and enjoy it and spend it all on yourself," or, "Here you go, go and play it safe," or, "Here you go, go and sit on it". No, no, no, no. He said, "Use it, invest it. Grow it, multiply it". But there's something else I wanna tell you about this third servant that I don't want you to miss. Please, don't miss this. This servant, the third one, he does not represent the atheists or the agnostics or the reprobates. Did you get that? No, no, no, no sir. You notice he recognized the master's rightful ownership. Yeah, sometimes I hear a lot of sanctimonious people who say, "God owns everything," but God gets very little of anything. Hello, God owns it all.

Well what are you doing with God's owns and... are you doing anything for God? He did not waste his talent that he was given on immoral lifestyle or even selfish pursuits. He didn't. He simply disregarded the stewardship that he's been given. Hear me out on this one, this man represents the professing Christian. The professing Christian. This man represents those in the Christian community who may be members of a church or members of a denomination, but they don't know Jesus on an intimate level. In reality, they have never understood what it means to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord.

Not only that, this servant insulted his master. This servant misjudged his master's character and motive. This servant never knew the master on an intimate level. This servant thought that the master was unfair and unjust. The responsibilities we all have. The reaction we exhibit to these responsibilities. The reckoning that we all will face. Fourthly, the reward or lack thereof that we will receive. Jesus often taught that in the church there are wheat and there are tares in the church. There are sheep and there are goats, because goats are the closest look alike to sheep. City-slickers might not even can tell the difference, but God can.

There are true believers who are faithful stewards with everything God placed in their hands and there are those who are not. Outwardly it's difficult to tell the difference. Outwardly it is difficult to tell them apart. Outwardly it is difficult to distinguish between them. Outwardly they all look alike. Outwardly they may behave alike. Outwardly they appear to be alike. But his faithful stewards will be rewarded by God himself. The counterfeit, the unfaithful will lose everything. And sadly, one day they will hear those detestable words, "I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness".

The faithful servants took what they were given and did all they could and doubled their investments, but the unfaithful one did nothing. He did nothing with it. He just dug a hole, wrapped it, buried it. I told you in the beginning God is not a socialist God. He is a God who sees into the very secrets of our hearts. He knows of our faithfulness and Jesus said, "He who is faithful with little, be faithful with much". I tell people if you're not tithing the dollar, you're not gonna tithe the million dollars. It's just that fact. I don't know where you are. Probably there are many situations as there are many people here, but I know there are many of you who are faithful. Whatever you are, as long as you have breath it's never too late to change. Let that be your decision. Lord I wanna be a faithful steward.
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