Don't Waste Your Life
// ILLUSTRATION //
Have you ever asked yourself if you are happy with the way you are spending your life?
Have you ever asked yourself if you are satisfied with the way you are currently living your life?
There was a moment for me when I was confronted with these questions.
At the time, I was going to college for Computer Information Systems. I had already earned an Associate’s Degree, and I was pursuing my Bachelor’s Degree. School was my main priority. I was working full-time, but school was my main priority. I was super disciplined with my time, and I wouldn’t do anything until all my school work was complete each day. And it was paying off, because I had a 4.0 GPA in college. My goal was to spend another 7 years or so in school, and eventually get a PhD, have a successful career, have a lot of money, and then worry about church and ministry after.
But one day, as I was driving home from work, I was completely overwhelmed by a series of questions – What if I die before I finish school? What would I have accomplished? Would I be happy with how I spent my life? More importantly, when I stand before God, will I hear “well done good and faithful servant”?
And the answer was “no”. And in that moment, I was reminded by the Holy Spirit of what I’m called to do – teach the Word and plant a church.
And I thought, this is what God has called me to do. Who am I to put it on hold until some later time. Who am I to even say I’ll be alive 7 years from now.
So I thought, what if I took all this time I’m putting into school, and invested it into learning the Bible, and pursuing ministry? How much growth could I experience? How much more effective could I be for the Kingdom?
And so I asked myself the same questions again, if I stopped going to school, and devoted my time to ministry and learning the Word, what if I die in the next couple years? Would I be happy with how I spent my life? When I stand before God, will I hear “well done good and faithful servant”? And on the flip side, I also asked what if my life lasted another 30-40 years, would I still be happy with my decision and how I spent my life?
It came down to this, I don’t know how much time I have on this earth, but whatever time I do have, I don’t want to waste it. I don’t want to waste my life.
// INTRODUCTION //
Have you ever felt that way?
Have you ever asked yourself, “what am I doing with my life?”
The reality is that many of us get so caught up in the everyday stuff.
We take the kids to school, we go to work, we come home, and we get ready for another day. And in between all that, we have to do the laundry, make breakfast, lunch, and dinner, wash the dishes, vacuum, sweep, mop, clean the restroom, make the bed, help the kids with their homework, wash the car, and probably a dozen other things.
And on top of that, if we are Christians, we have to go church, and if we’re really on fire, we read the Bible and pray every day.
It’s easy for our days to get cluttered with all kinds of day-to-day activities, and if we’re not careful we can spend our whole life just existing, just getting by.
Unfortunately, most of us live this way. Most of us, even as Christians, end up just existing, not moving forward, living with no real purpose, with no real destiny, with no real goals, just trying to get by.
- What if I were to tell you that the Christian life is more than that?
- What if I were to tell you that God has called us to more than just existing?
- What if I were to tell you that God has called each one of us to do more than just attend church on Sundays?
But for many of us, we just go through the motions as if it doesn’t matter what we do with our lives, as if all that matters is that we get by.
Is that the life God has called us to? I believe the Bible speaks to that in Matthew 25. So, let’s turn there.
// SCRIPTURE: MATTHEW 25:14-30 //
14 “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. 15 To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master's money.
19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’
24 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 scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest.
28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
// EXPLANATION //
So what’s going here?
1. The master entrusts his servants with some money.
Jesus is here telling us a story, a parable, about the Kingdom of God.
And he tells us about a master who is going away on a journey.
This master entrusts his servants with all his property, to be stewards of it, to take care of it while he is gone. He expects them to be faithful stewards, faithful managers, and look out for the best interest of their master’s money.
2. Each servant is entrusted with a different amount.
The master gave each servant a different amount of talents – a talent is essentially a large sum of money.
To one servant, he gave 5 talents.
To another servant, he gave 2 talents.
And to another servant, he gave 1 talent.
They were not entrusted with the same amount, but rather, they were each entrusted according to their ability, or capacity.
3. Two of the servants were responsible with what was entrusted to them.
The servant entrusted with 5 talents put those talents to work, invested them, and made 5 more.
The servant entrusted with 2 talents put those talents to work, invested them, and made 2 more.
4. One servant was not responsible with what was entrusted to him.
The servant who had one talent, hid his talent, and buried it.
5. The master returned to settle accounts.
After a long time, the master returned and settled accounts with his servants.
6. The servants who were productive with their talents were blessed.
To the servants who were responsible with what was entrusted to them, who put the talents to work, who invested the talents for the best interest of the master, the master commended them and blessed them – saying, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’
7. The servant who was not productive with his talent was rebuked.
To the servant who was irresponsible with what was entrusted to him, who instead of using the talent, or investing the talent, decided to hide and bury it, the master rebuked him – saying, ‘You wicked and slothful servant’. And the master took the talent from him, and cast the servant into outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.
// APPLICATION //
So what does this mean for us?
1. Jesus is the master. We are His servants.
In this parable, Jesus is the master who is going on a journey.
We know from scripture that Jesus ascended to the right hand of God soon after He was resurrected. And we also know from scripture that Jesus told His disciples that He would be leaving soon, but that He would send them the Holy Spirit to be with them.
So Jesus has gone to be with the Lord for now. He has gone to prepare a place for us.
And we are the servants in this story.
2. We have been entrusted us with things.
God has entrusted each one of us skills, talents, abilities, money, spiritual gifts, family connections, resources, opportunities, and more.
You and I have been entrusted with things. Everything we have, and everything we are, has been entrusted to us by God. We are stewards of these things.
- You have skills given by God. Maybe you’re good at cooking. Maybe you’re good at cleaning. Maybe you’re good at using computers. Maybe you’re good at playing an instrument. Maybe you’re good at organizing things or events. Maybe you’re good at fixing cars. Maybe you’re good at building things. Maybe you’re good at writing. Maybe you’re good at playing video games.
- You have natural talents and abilities given by God. Maybe it’s singing. Maybe it’s drawing. Maybe it’s teaching. Maybe it’s talking. Maybe it’s fixing things. Maybe it’s fishing.
- You have spiritual gifts given by God.
- You have family connections given by God.
- You have resources given by God.
- You have opportunities given by God.
And He expects us to use them responsibly for His glory, for His Kingdom.
3. We have been entrusted with different amounts.
Like the three servants, we have not been entrusted with the same exact things – or even the same number of things.
- Some people have been entrusted with a lot of natural talents and abilities. Others may have little natural talent or ability.
- Some people have been entrusted with a lot of money. Others may have little or no money.
- Some people have been entrusted with spiritual gifts of healing and prophecy. Others may have been entrusted with the spiritual gift of administration or helps.
The important thing to understand is that every servant is equally important. Every servant’s task matters.
The reality is that God has created all of us differently, and uniquely – and He has created us with different capacities. And that is okay. It doesn’t make anyone better than the other, it is just how God has made us. This is important because some people can look at those who have more money, or more natural talent, or a different kind of spiritual gift, and we can feel like we are less than. We can feel like we are not as important. We can feel like we don’t have as much to offer.
We must understand that we all matter, and we all have a role to play.
You don’t need to try to be anyone else. You don’t need to try to be like anyone else. Just be you.
You don’t need to be better than anyone else. Just be the best you can be.
4. One day, we will have to give an account to God.
One day, just like in the parable, our time will be up. One day, our time as stewards over our lives will be over.
That may be when Jesus comes back, or that may be when our earthly lives are over. Either way, our time is limited.
And when our time is up, we will give an account for what we did with our lives. We will give an account for all that was entrusted to us.
5. God expects us to be fruitful, productive, and responsible.
God expects us to take all that He has entrusted us with, and invest in the work of the Kingdom. He expects us to use all these things for His glory, for His service. He expects us to use all that has been entrusted to us to be fruitful, to be productive, to make disciples, to spread the Gospel, to make Him known all throughout the world.
- It is not acceptable to take what He has entrusted us with and just put it on the shelf, and ignore it.
- It is not acceptable to take all that God has entrusted us with and hide it or bury it.
- It is not acceptable to take all that God has entrusted us with and use it for our glory, or for our benefit alone, or for our purposes.
The only servants who heard, “well done, good and faithful servant” were those who were responsible, productive, faithful, and fruitful, with all that the master entrusted to them.
The servant who chose to not do anything, the servant who chose to sit on his gift, sit on his talent, the servant who was irresponsible, unproductive, unfaithful, and not fruitful, was the one who was rebuked and cast into outer darkness.
When my time is up, I want to hear, “well done, good and faithful servant.” But that’s not going to happen if I just exist.
- It’s not going to happen if I just sit around and do nothing.
- It’s not going to happen if I just come and play church.
- It’s not going to happen if I just go through the motions.
- It’s not going to happen if all I care about are my normal routines in life.
It’s only going to happen if I am intentional about glorifying God in my life.
- It’s only going to happen if I am intentional about rearranging my priorities so that I can be more effective in my service to God.
- It’s only going to happen if I am intentional about using every skill I have, no matter how great or small, for the glory of God.
- It’s only going to happen if I am intentional about taking every natural talent and ability, and not just trying to get rich and famous with it, but using it to point people to God.
- It’s only going to happen if I am intentional about using every single thing God has entrusted me with for His glory.
// BOTTOM LINE //
The point of the parable is that we are to use whatever we have been given, whatever God has entrusted us with, for God’s purposes.
Listen, you matter. What you do with your life matters. Don’t waste it. Don’t waste your life.
- You have value.
- You have a purpose.
- You have a destiny.
- You have a role to play.
Your life, and all that you have, and all that you are, has been entrusted to you by God, so that you would bear fruit for His Kingdom, so that you would make an impact in this world for the glory of God.
In the end, what you do matters, so don’t waste your life.
You only have one shot at this. Don’t waste it. Don’t waste your life.
// CHALLENGE //
As we begin to wrap this up, I want to challenge you to spend a few moments this week, and think about what God has entrusted you with.
Think about what skills, and talents, and natural abilities, He has entrusted you with. And schedule a sit down with a pastor or a leader, and discuss how you can utilize these things for the Kingdom.
- Maybe you’re good at fixing cars, and talking with your pastor, you might come up with a cool way to offer free oil changes as a way to do an outreach.
- Maybe you’re good at just serving, you like to serve and help people, and talking with one of your leaders, you might come up with a cool way to run errands for senior citizens as a way to get an open door to share the Gospel with them.
- Or maybe you’re in church and you know you are called and gifted as a pastor, then get the ball rolling. Talk to your pastor, find out what you need to do. Find out what your next step is. Time is ticking. Don’t just sit around and waste your life. And in the meantime, start teaching people now, start making disciples now, start leading people to the Lord now. Use your gifts now.
The point is, find out what God has entrusted you with, and use it for His glory. Now. Don’t just think about using it for His glory someday, or one day. Use it for His glory now. Use it for His glory today.
All we have is today. Tomorrow is not guaranteed. Live today like it matters, because it does.
// CONCLUSION //
Imagine how much more effective our churches would be if just us in this room were to take this seriously.
Imagine the impact we could make in our cities if we all lived like faithful stewards of what God has entrusted us with.
Imagine the difference we could make if we lived like our lives mattered, if we lived like what we did with our lives mattered.
Imagine how much more exciting and fulfilling our lives would be.
Imagine how many more disciples we could make and how many more people we could reach if just everyone in this room decided to use everything they have – every skill, every talent, every ability, every resource, every opportunity – for the glory of God.
What you’ve done with your life up to this point – it is what it is. You can’t change the past. But you can change your future.
One day we will stand before God and give account for our lives. That will be either a tremendous thing or a tragic thing.
The choice is yours.