Sunday, April 9, 2017

Get Your Talent Out of the Ground

“Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed.  And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’

“But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.

‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ – Matthew 25:24-30

I woke up in Medellin, Colombia this morning complaining. It took several hours of praying, worshiping and reading God’s Word to get me out of the gloomy mood I was in. Why was I gloomy? Unlike many who will read this I don’t have the luxury of sleeping in late on a Sunday morning, getting my family loaded into the car and head down to the local church where I can meet with my friends and other church members, preach, pray and sing, and then get back in the car and head over to Furr’s Cafeteria for lunch.

With fond memories I remember going to the fellowship/breakfast time at the Evangelical Free Church that I attended in Grand Junction, Colorado. Those breakfast burritos and biscuits and gravy while visiting with fellow believers was a great way to warm up for a worship service in which our pastor taught sound Biblical doctrine and called us to use our gifts to better those around us. Like most who read this, I left stuffed to the gills with the Gospel, but did absolutely nothing with it. I don’t know if the term “spiritual gluttony” exists, but it should, because that’s really what it was.

I no longer have that luxury of spiritual gluttony on Sunday mornings. You see, I fell in love with a woman from Medellin, Colombia and chose to come live in her home. It’s also become my home. There are no First Baptist, First Presbyterian, First Methodist, Evangelical Free Church or any other Protestant Churches available for me to attend in Medellin and if there was, hopping in the car and going to one wouldn’t be the order of the day. There are thousands of Roman Catholic Churches, but joining myself to them is firmly against Jesus’ call on my life. My only spiritual fellowship comes from afar and it is often very limited.

As I prayed about this and lamented to Jesus this morning, He pointed out that He had spent more than 40 years preparing me for what I’m doing. He made me comfortable with being alone and silent when He placed me on the back of a horse on my family’s ranch in Colorado where you often spent hours without seeing any other human. He has grounded me in His Word and taught me to trust in it above the voice of the preacher. He’s given me a wife who prays and supports me in all that I do and her family who loves me and supports me. He has given me family and friends across the world who uphold me with their prayers and support as well.

I could have fought the enormous battle of trying to take my wife to the U.S. (where illegal immigrants receive amnesty, but legitimate ones aren’t allowed in without going through a mountain of red tape and a fortune in cash), but that’s not what Jesus had in mind for me. He brought me here to delivery me from unrepentant sin and for healing and He accomplished that in my life. He also brought me here to bring the Gospel to a people who are greatly deceived by the Roman Cult. He gave me wisdom and understanding concerning the errors, but He has forbid me from attacking those errors head on. He has given me one charge, just like He has given every one of you. He has asked me to exalt His holy name and present His gospel of salvation. He’s given me the skill to draw out the scriptures in a way that draws people to Him. I could attack and debate and prove the great wisdom that He has blessed me with, but that’s not what He’s asked me to do.

I have the understanding that not all who receive the gospel will be saved. I also understand that not all who cry out Lord, Lord will be saved, but it is not given to me or anyone else an understanding of who is and is not truly saved. It does not matter. Jesus did not tell us to sort the weeds from the wheat, He told us to help harvest the wheat. So, I awaken every morning at 4:30 a.m., I send out the daily devotionals that reach people from Malaysia and Australia who are halfway through their day and to those on the West Coast of the U.S. who have only been in bed for a few hours. These devotionals are in both English and Spanish (thanks to the help of my wife). They reach people right here in Colombia and around the world exalting the name of Jesus and drawing all who can hear His voice calling to them.

After I send out the devotionals, I spend time in the Word and praying for Jesus to be exalted in the lives of my friends, family and those who read the devotionals who I do not even know. It is usually 7:00 a.m. before I am finished with this work I’ve been given and I’m ready to start my work day.

I tell you these things not to boast, but to tell you that I am weary. Jesus feeds me enough daily to get me through the day, but I have no “spiritual gluttony.” I lie down at night exhausted and praying that Jesus’ voice will be heard by even a few of the 4 million lost and deceived who surround me in Medellin. I pray for the 700,000 people in Peru who are without homes and clean water and for the lives of the thousands of fellow Colombians who were made homeless, widowed, orphaned and had their children snatched away from them in Mocoa. What hope do you think these people have when they have been taught empty doctrine which calls them to pray to a dead woman, fashioned in the image of the goddess Ashtoreth, and long dead saints who have no power to deliver them? I pray with great earnestness that the Lord will give me enough time to reach the lost sheep that I am sent to minister to before such a catastrophe hits them.

Wealth was never given to me. Authority and position have eluded me. I have been blessed with one great gift and I have to use it to my very best ability. For too long, I buried my talent in the ground and basked in “spiritual gluttony.” Thanks be to Jesus that He did not allow me to leave it buried, because had I left it buried, I would have been just like the man in the parable of the talents above.

I’m calling out to you to dig up your talents and use them. At the very minimum, you can support me with your prayers and make certain that Quail Songs and Canciones de Codorniz are shared with anyone and everyone who might need to have Jesus exalted in their lives on a daily basis (I can’t think of anyone who doesn’t). You, your friends and your church can be of enormous support to me with your prayers and encouragement. As you’re basking in “spiritual gluttony” today, remember the command you were given, remember the parable of the talents and remember that there are those who are in desperate need for Jesus to be exalted in their lives.

Let he who has ear to ear and eyes to see understand that the big fish is swimming your way and Ninevah has need of a prophet. The field is white for harvest and the workers are few. Though I am weary and I long for those former days, I would not trade my exhaustion for them and hide my talent in the ground. Rest will come when I’m called home and weariness will be forgotten.

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