Week 5 – Empty Pockets
CARING FOR TREASURES
- Treasures in heaven can’t be destroyed
- Treasures in heaven can’t be stolen
- Treasures will point to your heart
- God is in control of time (Psalm 74:16-17)
- Make the best use of time (Ephesians 5:16)
- Teach us to number our days that we may gain heart of wisdom (Psalm 90:12)
- Each of us have been entrusted/given gifts/possessions dependent upon our ability (Matthew 25:14-30)
- Use your gifts to serve others & glorify God (1 Peter 4:10-11)
- Your soul is more important than the treasure of this world (Matthew 16:26)
- Your life does not consist of an abundance of possessions (Luke 12:13-21)
- Give and it will be given to you (Luke 6:38)
Read Matthew 25:14-30, The Parable of the Bags of Gold (The Parable of the Talents)
1) Why do the men each get different amounts of gold/talents? What does this mean for us?
2) When we look at this parable, what do we see that is required of us as stewards?
3) What is the immediate response of the three men when they received their talents from their Master? What does this mean?
4) Why is the third servant described as a “wicked, lazy servant”?
Handle with Care is a 6-week series focused on studying God’s Word and responding with care. The six weeks of messages may sound like instructions for laundry care — but you will soon find Handle with Care beckons you to examine within, to gauge how you truly love God and love others, and to grow inward and outward. Caring starts with the heart and pours out into the community.
- Week 1 – Stain Removal – Caring for God’s glory
- Week 2 – Do Not Bleach – Caring for Truth
- Week 3 – Add Fabric Softener – Caring like Barnabas
- Week 4 – Fasten the Zipper – Caring for Unity
- Week 5 – Empty Pockets – Caring for Treasures
- Week 6 – Iron Low Heat – Caring without Complacency
The world tries to tell you that you are only responsible for yourself, and sometimes that even isn’t something that is taught. But the Bible speaks about an integrity the world does not understand. We have a great responsibility, as well as many responsibilities along the way. If we want to live for Jesus, we must be intentional. If we desire to walk in faithful obedience, we cannot ignore our responsibilities.
In Deuteronomy 22, we read about someone coming upon their neighbor’s wandering sheep or goat. The verse tells us that the person should take it and return it to its owner. This speaks of an expectation that consists of going above and beyond. It might require you to go out of your way. It might require you to spend some extra time to get it done. Part of you may justify just keeping the sheep, clinging to the phrase, “Finders keepers.”
Going the extra mile glorifies God. Not ignoring the opportunity to help bless someone glorifies God. Don’t ignore these opportunities that come your way. Consider this opportunity to be a gift. Go the extra mile and watch what happens.
“If you see your neighbor’s ox or sheep or goat wandering away, don’t ignore your responsibility. Take it back to its owner.” – Deuteronomy 22:1 [NLT]
Our words are very powerful. The Bible tells us that our words can kill. We have a choice with regard to the words we speak. We can speak good words, uplifting words. We can speak bad words, words that tear down.
In my lifetime, I have been hurt many times by words. I am sure you can say the same thing. Words kept me from doing things I considered stepping out and doing. Words kept me from writing for many, many years. Words made me think less of myself. Recently, I have witnessed words tear down my child. As a parent, it’s painful to stand on the sidelines and watch it happen. My child, who I see as a great Barnabas to others, was on the receiving end of harsh words rather than encouraging ones. I saw my passionate, free-spirited, sensitive child wanting to quit, wanting to be far away. Despite working so hard, doing so great, beating personal records, sacrificing so much—it didn’t matter. Despite encouraging others to do their best—it didn’t matter. All of the positive accomplishments were blinded by the cruelness of a few.
We all have to face the wrath of some harsh words from time to time. They break us. The devil loves to use them to keep us from doing what will glorify our Father more. Remember today the importance of the words you speak. Do you want to build up or tear down? Do you want to encourage or discourage? Do you want to grow or destroy? Speak words of love. Speak words of truth. Speak words of grace. There is power in your words.
“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” – Proverbs 18:21 [NIV]
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God carries us through. He carried the Israelites through the Red Sea and through the Wilderness. Just like He was with Joseph so He is with us. He promises to never leave or forsake. His Word tells us through Him we have victory. He is the love of your life and of mine. Boldly declare His Word today. Walk with confidence. #truth #Bible #GodsWord #Jesus #truelove
Here’s a sermon outline from a message I shared on the Slavery of Self-Reliance. You may download the outline below. Please note there was no illustration with this message but instead I spoke of King Asa of Judah from 2 Chronicles 16 giving the gold and silver from the Temple to Ben-Hadad King of Syria.
Slavery of Self-Reliance
Everyone needs: Meaning / Purpose / Security / Safety / Significance / Worth / Value
Self-reliant / Self-determination / Self-Dependence / Independent / Self-Sufficient / Self-Contained
The world sees these as good things / the world applauds these things
The problem: These things enslave us. Burden of Self-Reliance à when all relies on you à Slavery
The solution: God wants to free us from ourselves
God is our: meaning / purpose / significance / security / safety / protection
- God provides you meaning and purpose
- Isaiah 43:7 – God has made you for His glory.
- 1 Corinthians 10:31 – Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
- Matthew 5:16 – Let your light shine before others to glorify God
- God provides you security
- Proverbs 3:26 – “For the LORD is your security. He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap” (NLT).
- God provides you safety
- Psalm 18:2 – “The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”
- Psalm 91:2 – “… He alone is my refuge, my place of safety…” (NLT)
- Proverbs 18:10 – Godly run to God and are safe
- God provides you significance and worth and value
- Genesis 1:27 – God made you in His image
- Psalm 139:13 – God created each of us individually – knit you in your mother’s womb with certain abilities & gifts – allows certain experiences – all so you can be of great worth to His Kingdom – YOU CAN DO GREAT THINGS! (John 14:12 – “… anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works…” NLT).
- Ephesians 2:10 – “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (NLT).
Only those who stand in need of a savior will look for and recognize one.
Proverbs 3:5 – “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” (ESV)
Jeremiah 17:5-8 – “This is what the LORD says: ‘Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their hearts away from the LORD. They are like stunted shrubs in the desert, with no hope for the future. They will live in the barren wilderness, in an uninhabited salty land. But blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.”
“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” – Matthew 5:16 [NASB]
There are so many people who are not saved. Christians received the “Great Commission” to spread the Gospel. It’s not something to take lightly. And yet, how many actually treat the responsibility as a true responsibility? It seems some get their “I am saved card,” store it in their wallet, and keep on keeping on. I find it’s important to remember that if someone didn’t invest the time to speak to you about the Gospel, you wouldn’t be saved. Is it not proper to invest some time to do the same? Is it not requested of us?
Most certainly, there is another angle to look at when discussing the spread of the Message. Some people simply look at the actually time period when a person is providing testimony to a non-believer; however, sharing the Gospel is a lot more than using your voice alone. You need to live the Message. People see your actions. Your actions share Christ or share something so un-Christ-like, that causes people to stereotype Christians and turn far from God.
This past week, I entered a convenience store to purchase some gasoline. As I stood in the line to make my purchase, one person stood before me. The cashier asked if the gentleman wished to purchase a candy bar for the local Y.M.C.A. Without hesitation, the man responded, “What do they do for me”?!? The cashier replied, “Well the organization keeps the kids off the street.” The man then said, “So, that has nothing to do with me,” and he left the store.
That man was a high school teacher. He’s a man who was entrusted to teach children. When he was hired to teach children, he thereby became a representative of the school district. Sadly, he didn’t see the importance in keeping the children he taught off the street. Simply put, his job was a matter of putting in the time and going home. As a representative of the school district, he surely causes one to question the school itself. His uncaring actions also may result in people believing he has a lack of compassion. In the same way as this teacher misrepresented the school district, we can misrepresent Christ.
People who know we are Christians and see us judging or acting inappropriately, may possibly see a Christ they don’t want any part of simply because of our actions. We may not even realize that we are causing people to turn away from Christ. People may see us get all dressed up for Sunday and have our moment of “religion,” and then go back to a life of anything not including Christ for the rest of the week. God isn’t a jack-in-the-box that we just wind up on Sunday for Him to pop into our lives for a day. If we expect to show people Christ, I think it’s important to let our light shine– because our light comes from the Holy Spirit. As we share our light, the light gets brighter.
Don’t be discouraged to share your testimony. Do walk in caution when trying to share Christ. Remember if you wish to share the Message, you should allow the Holy Spirit to direct you. Also, don’t forget if you are a Christian, that when you share the Message, it’s important to live the Message. How sad it is when we push a lost sheep further out to pasture, because it is much harder to get that sheep back. I like to steer clear of judgment, and always let a person know that I am a work in progress. If we humble ourselves and admit our faults, we don’t show the non-believer that we perceive ourselves to be perfect. If we say anything other than God is perfect, we leave open the possibility for future problems to arise. Shine your light– share your life.
“Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” – 1 Peter 2:12 [NIV]