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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
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His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
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[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
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This post contains nothing that is of any use to me. What were you thinking? Anyway, it's probably the best I've read all day.
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Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
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There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
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Wednesday, March 04, 2009
Talents and Barns and Living Application.
1 Corinthians 2:3-5, 3I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, 4and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God. - [NASB]

1 Corinthians 4:19, 19But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I shall find out, not the words of those who are arrogant but their power. - [NASB]


Let's do a thought experiment together in the wake of these verses.

Pretend there is a fellow who was born with a brilliant and confident intellect coupled with a profound insight into the human condition. Later when this same fellow becomes a Christian he is found to be the recipient of spiritual gifts that complement his natural ones: discernment; the ability to preach and teach, and a love for God's church.

In the imagery employed in the parable of the talents, we should expect that this fellow I am describing would likely represent a man who has more talents than others.

Let us keep this same fellow in our thinking as we consider another parable, the one about the rich man whose barns could no longer contain the abundance of his land's produce. What did that rich man do with the excess of his wealth? Recall, he planned to build bigger barns, not having understood the purpose of his surplus. We was called a fool because he didn't realize that he had not been given a surplus to furnish ease in his own life, it was given to him, in order that he might employ it on God's behalf.

The link between the two is not one of interpretation, but of application, for there is some crossover in application between the two parables - both are describing what we do with what we have received.

The standards our pretend fellow had to meet in his pretend public school were geared towards the middle of the bell curve, and being nothing more than a trifling to him, he never had to apply himself to make the grade. Through this he learned that he didn't have to apply himself to anything in order to meet the standard, and this great intellect becomes the seed of procrastination, and laziness. When he becomes a Christian, the word of God opens to him immediately truths that take others decades to see. He quickly is recognized as a teacher, and because he understands scripture better than most is welcomed into the ministry, as a senior pastor.

But in spite of all his gifts and abilities, he ends up being a very poor pastor.

Why?

Because he has learned when you can get by doing the minimum, it leaves you more time to do what you want to do, and being in bondage to sin by default, he falls prey to this snare. His intellect, his gifts, every good thing that he has received from the Lord is being co-opted by sin, to serve self. He preaches Sunday mornings and evenings, and gives counsel, and visits - but his heart isn't even half in it. He is sincere, and loves the Lord, he just loves himself more, and doesn't see it.

You see, everything that God gives us is meant for service. Not just our money, but our time - our every resource. Has God given us five talents - let us use all five in his service, and not reserve some for ourselves. Has he given only three? Let us use all three. One? Let us use it to full advantage. Every moment, and every effort that is spent on self is a moment or effort not merely wasted, but stolen from God. We were bought, we are slaves, we cannot live our lives anymore for they are no longer ours - we have died, and are supposed to be living out new lives in Christ's service.

That isn't to say that everyone is supposed to be a missionary, or a pastor - but it is to say that everyone is to serve the body in the fullest capacity they are able to. Don't be fooled into thinking that God has opened your eyes and heart in order to give you ease and comfort in it - don't regard your Christianity as the sort of blessing God wants you to build bigger barns to contain - it's not for your ease brother, it is for His service.

Which brings us back to the opening scriptures. Note that Paul was not threatening to come and preach good sermons to these people. He wasn't threatening to give them a good tongue lashing. He was threatening to evaluate their faith and see if it was the kind that overcomes sin, and self, or the kind that just talks a good talk. Living faith, or blind arrogance.

When we encourage one another to examine our faith let us not simply examine whether we believe the correct arguments - let us instead examine our selves and see if we have a faith that is changing us, driving us to abandon the self life, and cling to Christ. Do we see progression or stagnation - power or just words?

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posted by Daniel @ 9:02 AM  
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