Bible reading: Matthew 25:14-30
‘Do they have two heads?’
If you grew up in a typical African parent’s household, odds are that you’ve been asked that question. If not, then you’re probably one of the ‘they’ being referred to.
I think I’ve had my fair share of hearing that question. Fault the methods of African parents all you want, but I think this question is significant. If we could do a track on it, it would look something like this:
Do they have two heads?
Language of origin: African parent’s lingua
Meaning: I send you to school, I feed you, I provide for your needs to the best of my ability, are you being faithful? Are you being fruitful?
(By the way, if we’re being honest, some people actually just have ‘two heads’. There really isn’t any other explanation for the sort of wizardry they perform)
Going by this definition of ‘Do you have two heads?’, I think we might find that God also asks us that question.
Imagine God saying to you: ‘It’s December 2020- I gave you lots of resources, opportunities, talents and relationships this year. Were you faithful, were you fruitful?’
Would you ponder on that for a moment?
You know, the first command God ever gave man was ‘be fruitful and multiply’ (Genesis 1:28).
Of all the possible things that God could command, the first thing He chose to command is for us to be be fruitful? Wow! There must be something about our fruitfulness that is very close to God’s heart.
It’s easy to peg the lazy servant from our text today as a bad guy. I mean, what excuse did he have not to multiply his talent. At least in our context, we have had to survive through a pandemic, be at home for 6 months and unable to do many things! I’m not lazy, but what could I possibly have done?
I don’t think unfruitfulness has so much to do with the circumstances around us as it has to do with our understanding of God’s heart. This servant’s big excuse for unfruitfulness was ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed’ (vs 24)
I would have thought he would say; ‘I had only one talent and it wasn’t enough or that the economy was hard, or onion is now expensive, or ASUU is on strike, or some other performance affecting excuse.
But unfruitfulness, more often than not, stems from a misunderstanding of the father’s heart.
Whatever your 2020 has been like so far, but I’m grateful that we can come around these moments to rediscover God’s heart as we close out the year and position ourselves to be even better stewards going forward.
If we asked God what His heart is about what He has gifted us with, I think He would say these three things:
- Look up!–Be faithful. God brings the increase.
I think that many times we forget that God has empowered and graced us to do the work that He expects of us.
Paul writes ‘I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase’. (1 Corinthians 3:6).
I remember so vividly Pastor Tolu preaching that ‘God is still in the business of amplifying steps’.
I think God looks down at us and screams ‘look up and do the work! Stop being overwhelmed by your circumstances! Stop thinking of me or life as unfair! Don’t be lazy! Do the work, I will bring an increase! Stay faithful in the place I have called you, I would do the multiplying!’
- Look in!–What You Have is Good For A Start
In Acts 3, we see Peter & John at the temple gate where they meet a lame man who is asking for alms, which they don’t have.
Every time I come around this story I remember those moments when I’m broke and a random person looking really good and speaking proper walks up to me saying ‘I’m hungry, please help’. My first thought is whahala for all us wey never chop. I’m hungry too, my brother.
Maybe you’ve been in those moments of really not having. I have been there quite a lot. Maybe there’s that amazing business idea, but you need money mehn or rather, freaking mannyyyy.
There’s _______ but I don’t have _________
I wonder what’s in the blanks for you. Whatever it is, I believe God is saying to you, would you look in for a moment. Would you take your gaze off all that you don’t have and look in for just one moment- because God has given you what to start with! He put it in you. You have enough to not sit in an ‘I don’t have’ pity-party. You have enough to start a journey of fruitfulness!
Because Jesus lives in us and we are empowered by the Holy Spirit, we are never without a what-to-do or a where-to-start.
I love Peter & John’s response to the lame man, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” (Acts 3:6). If you would look in you would realize that there’s a bigger miracle inside of you than there are limitations outside. You would see that God’s plan and purpose for you was never going to be subject to your limitations. Look in!
- Look beyond!–Its more than just you
Our social media culture has warped the perspective of our generation. We live in a “me world” where everyone seems to be consumed with themselves. So we think of all that God has given us and we narrow it down to creating a good life for ourselves, building our empire so our generation will never know poverty again.
Sounds noble but it’s warped. It’s not the father’s heart. In the famous words of Pastor Tolu, ‘God is doing one thing on the earth, just one- He’s building His kingdom.’ And he invites us out of our smallness to the largeness of his purpose.
“You also are like living stones. You are being built into a temple…” 1 Peter 2:5 WE
When we embrace this perspective, we realize that our gifts are not ours. We are only stewarding them to serve a larger purpose of God that is beyond ourselves.
No wonder the master called the lazy servant wicked. God reckons that it’s wickedness to take all that He has given you and make it all about you. It’s wicked to rob someone of their miracle because you didn’t have silver and gold. It’s wicked!
God’s gifting on us is stewardship. We hold it on behalf of and anything short of fruitfulness is wickedness.
As you close out this year, I hope that you would be deeply aware that God has gifted you with so much. He’s put resources at your disposal, He’s given you amazing talents, opportunities and relationships. How does that make you think as we look to 2021?
We will look up because God brings increase, we will look in because we have enough to start and we will look beyond because it’s not about us.
Bamise serves on staff at Sycamore