Hello, my name is Geoff Sewell, and I am the senior youth and young adult ministries director for the Southern California Conference. Today, I am going to be discussing one of the SCC core values: stewardship. It says: “We are spiritual contributors not spiritual consumers. The church does not exist just for us; we exist for the world. We will give and manage our resources with excellence for this mission.”
Our stewardship discussion today is going to focus on how we use our time and talents. Let’s start with prayer. “Jesus, please come and be with us as we discuss how to use the talents you give us for your glory. Holy Spirit, please speak to us today we pray in Jesus name. Amen.”
In Matthew 25, starting with verse 14, there is a well-known parable of the talents: five, two and one talents given to servants and then a reckoning with the Master when He returns. The servants given five and two talents go out and immediately double the money for their Master; this is impressive! However, in verse 18, it says that the person given one talent was scared and buried it in the ground. When the Master comes back, in verses 26-28, He says to that servant, “You wicked and lazy servant…you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to the person with 10 talents.”
Did you notice that Jesus said, in Pastor Geoff translation, “Hey, I’ve given you talents to use for me, if you don’t know what to do with it, don’t bury it or don’t ignore it, go find someone—a banker—who can develop you.”
God is the Master in this parable, and He gives talents to be used for Him. From a money perspective, each talent is about 1 million dollars in today’s value—an incredible amount for God’s work. Even though the topic of money is important, I want to focus on the role of the banker. Did you notice that Jesus said, in Pastor Geoff translation, “Hey, I’ve given you talents to use for me, if you don’t know what to do with it, don’t bury it or don’t ignore it, go find someone—a banker—who can develop you.” You see, bankers are good at managing money. They know how to use it and get returns for the investor. In my life, I have been blessed to have bankers invest in me and help develop my time and talents for Jesus.
Recently, Pastor Jon Cicle and I went on a ShareHim evangelism trip to the Dominican Republic with two young adults from the Eagle Rock church: Ivana and Maks. Each participant had a church where we preached 11 evangelistic sermons in La Romana. Everyday, Pastor Jon and I would meet with Ivana and Maks and other young adults from Kentucky, Boston, and Indiana to help them prepare for their sermon. We acted as bankers, helping them develop their Biblical understanding of topics like “What did Jesus do on the cross?” “How did evil begin?” “What happens when we die?” and “The importance of the Holy Spirit.” It was great investing in Ivana, Maks, and others, watching them grow in Jesus.
Speaking of growth, Maks answered the call to use his talents to share God’s Word in the Dominican Republic even though he wasn’t baptized yet.
You see, in using our talents for God—in the doing—all of us are touched and blessed.
After preaching the sermon on baptism, our group members asked Maks if he was going to get baptized. God was working in Maks and impressed him to give his life to Jesus right there at the end of the week. Ask Pastor Jon about the joy of being a banker in Ivana’s and Maks’s lives, and he’ll give you a huge smile and tell you what a privilege it is to be a banker guiding people in their walk with Jesus. You see, in using our talents for God—in the doing—all of us are touched and blessed.
My senior youth and young adult friends, Jesus has given talents to each one of us to use for His mission, sharing the good news of the gospel. If you aren’t sure what your talents are, find a banker. Our One House team will be hosting events to help you develop and use your talents: community service projects, seminars, retreats, international mission trips, and evangelistic campaigns like ShareHim. Please prayerfully consider and make stewardship (your time, talents, and money) one of your own personal core values—being a part of God’s mission in Southern California and around the world. May God richly bless you.