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
We all like to understand things. Some of us like to understand more than others. I remember when I was young and would take apart our VCR (remember that?) and see if I could put it back together. I learned how the VCR worked so well I was able to fix ours from time to time.
When it comes to life, we are to walk by faith. This means that we won’t always know what is going to come our way. We may not even understand some of it. But even so, we are supposed to press onward in faith. As today’s verse says, “The LORD directs our steps.” Since He directs our steps, there’s no reason to understand everything. We don’t need all of the whys because we know the Who and we can trust the Who, knowing that all the whys are for our best.
Today, understand that no matter how many times you dig into the Word, you won’t have all of the answers. But it’s okay! You may not understand everything along the way, but you will be walking with Him through it all. That’s so much better.
“The LORD directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?” – Proverbs 20:24 [NLT]
When my kids were little, I remember watching over them like crazy. I keep a watchful eye on them still today; however, things have certainly changed over the years. I remember when they were babies. I would stare at them as they slept. When they started to climb on things, I was worried they would hurt themselves so I would stand ready to catch them. I removed the coffee table from our living space to keep their heads safe due to a mishap. I had the oh so lovely outlet protectors everywhere. Most parents understand what it means to watch over their little ones.
Now consider how the Lord watches over you. He does! And unlike human parents who are limited by place and time (eventually we leave the room or fall asleep) God is always watching. He is always standing beside you as “your protective shade.” And unlike human parents who are limited in ways to help, we can trust that God is always in control.
Not only does He watch over you, but “the LORD keeps you from all harm and watches over your life” (Psalm 121:7 NLT). He not only stands beside you as your protective shade but He keeps you from harm. This verse says that He “watches over your life.” This doesn’t mean that you won’t go through pain or be harmed in some way. This means He keeps your soul. Remember, nothing can snatch you from His hand (John 10:28). Today, may you stand firm and live courageous, trusting that you are watched over, you are loved, and nothing will snatch you from your Father. You are never out of His reach. You are never out of His sight. You are watched over.
“The LORD himself watches over you! The LORD stands beside you as your protective shade.” – Psalm 121:5 [NLT]
As God shares His plan with Moses, He lets Moses know that Pharaoh would not let the people go when he would make the request. Even though Moses was being sent to make this special request, the numerous requests would never work. It was the mighty hand of God that would cause Pharaoh to release the people of Israel.
The “mighty hand” that “forces,” can be described as being “under compulsion.” God is saying that Pharaoh would not allow the people to go unless forced to do this at some point. Imagine being Moses. Imagine the request from God—to go and speak to Pharaoh with a promise that he would not listen. Doesn’t it seem crazy? Go ask this person to say “yes,” but understand he will always say, “no.”
If you are told that what you do will not be successful on your part, would you still do it? Would you be satisfied knowing that the mighty hand of God was going to handle it? Why would Moses even be needed at all if God’s strength was going to be what changed Pharaoh’s mind? All this points back to the glory of God. Remember, this was God’s power on display. Moses showed up and was used as a vessel, but at the end of the day, it was the mighty hand of God that caused Pharaoh to release His special people.
“But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless a mighty hand forces him.” – Exodus 3:19 [NLT]
Once a person is with Jesus, He doesn’t let go. He never lets go. Read today’s passage. Read this again, “And once that person is with Me, I hold on and don’t let go.” If you accepted Christ as your Savior—if you have given your life to Him—He has taken hold of you and He will never let go. It means that you were running to Him and now you are His.
Each day we face the world and all it brings our way. No matter what comes, Jesus is there. No matter the temptation. No matter the trials. No matter the bad things. No matter the sickness. No matter the stress. No matter what time of day. No matter who you are or the mess you have made. No matter what. If you have ran to Him, He promises that He won’t let go.
Remember this today. He is never leaving go of you. No matter how hard it gets. No matter what hardships come your way. No matter how horrible you think things are in life. He won’t let go. He is going to hold on and not let go. Trust Him. Feel the embrace. Understand that His firm hand is holding it all for you. The troubles may come but no one will snatch you from His hand. Never.
“Jesus said, ‘I am the Bread of Life. The person who aligns with me hungers no more and thirsts no more, ever. I have told you this explicitly because even though you have seen me in action, you don’t really believe me. Every person the Father gives me eventually comes running to me. And once that person is with me, I hold on and don’t let go. I came down from heaven not to follow my own whim but to accomplish the will of the One who sent me.’”
-John 6:35-38 [MSG]
Jeremiah mentions in Lamentations that he called upon the Lord from deep within a pit and was answered. God told him “do not fear.” True story. He was tossed in a cistern. Read Jeremiah 38 and see how this all worked out.
We each have different pits in life. We might have just fallen into a new pit or we might have been trying to dig out of a pit for months or years. Each pit is different. Each pit is a challenge. But no matter how deep the pit, no matter how wide the pit, God can hear your calls. We simply need to call upon the Lord.
God listens. God hears. God doesn’t want you in the pit but sometimes you need to be there for Him to rescue you out of the pit. Sometimes you need to be in this brokenness or imprisoned type situation for God to show you Who He is, Who is in control, and just how mighty He is—He can do all things. He can do the impossible. He can pull you out of that pit. Believe.
“But I called on your name, LORD, from deep within the pit. You heard me when I cried, ‘Listen to my pleading! Hear my cry for help!’ Yes, you came when I called; you told me, ‘Do not fear.’” – Lamentations 3:55-57 [NLT]