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  "That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;"
 . . .  Colossians 1:10  . . .
 
Living Up To Your Potential
Suggestions For Helping Christians To Be Faithful Stewards

Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.
Sermon Delivered 5/22/05

Matthew 25: 14-30

I do ot want you to confuse what I am going to be telling you with the New Age Human Potential Movement that teach we have extraordinary human potential within ourselves that is largely untapped, we just need to unleash it. Rather, I am referring to the fact that our Lord expects us to use whatever strength we have been given (both mental and physical), whatever talents and gifts we have been given, to their fullest potential to the glory of God. Turn with me to 1 Corinthians 4:2 "Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful." n

We are going to look at the following suggestions, that if implemented, will help you be a faithful steward or live up to your God given potential.

Outline

Bloom Where You Are Planted; Donít Wait For Everything To Be Ideal Before You Do Your Best

Use The Gifts, Talents, Intellect, and Abilities You Have, Donít Complain About What You Lack

Donít Give Up, Even If You Make Mistakes

S-T-R-E-T-C-H Yourself, Reaching Toward Excellence

Focus

  • Bloom Where You Are Planted; Donít Wait For Everything To Be Ideal Before You Do Your Best

Turn with me in your Bibles to Ecclesiastes 9:10 "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest."

One of the great problems of our day is that people excuse themselves from doing their best or getting involved because the circumstances are not ideal! But God wants you to be diligent, use your gifts and talents, and do you best even if the circumstances are not ideal. Why? Because, if you claim to be a Christian the Godís testimony is on the line.

The Bible teaches that God is sovereign. Therefore, regardless of the circumstances you find yourself in you need to be a faithful steward, or manager of the gifts and abilities God has given you. Donít sluff off, bloom where you are planted! Joseph of old is a good illustration of this (see Genesis 39). His brothers sold him into slavery. He was purchased by Potiphar. Now, being a slave was certainly not the ideal situation. But Joseph lived for the Lord and used the gifts and talents that God gave him to serve Potiphar. Yet, Joseph landed in prison because of a false accusation by Potipharís wife. So, did Joseph pout and rebel and decide that he would just wait till he got out before he really applied himself? NO! Joseph ended up being the prison manager. Ultimately, Joseph, the slave, prisoner, ended up being the vice regent of Egypt.

We need people who will be faithful stewards and live up to their God given potential here at First Baptist! We need people who will be faithful stewards and live up to their God given potential in their home and where they work.

The first point is, bloom where you are planted; donít wait for everything to be ideal before you give your best.

Letís move on to the second suggestionÖ

  • Use The Gifts, Talents, Intellect and Abilities You Have, Donít Complain About What You Lack

There is a song titled Ė Little Is Much When God Is In It. It is hymn # 433 in our hymnal. Look at the second verse Ė

Does the place youíre called to labor

Seem so small and little known?

It is great if God is in it,

And Heíll not forget His own.

Little is much, when God is in it!

Labor not for wealth or fame;

Thereís a crown-and you can win it,

If youíll go in Jesusí name.

The key example of this is 1 Kings 17:8-16.

Some people spend so too much time fretting about what they do not have that they never live up to their God given potential. If you compare your abilities with the abilities that God has given someone else, that is not wise. Paul warned the Corinthians, "For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise." 2 Corinthians 10:12. Peter says, "As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God." 1 Peter 4:10

God does not hold you responsible for what you do not have, or what you wished you had, but what you have! So, get busy being a faithful steward or manager of intellect, abilities, gifts and talents that the Lord has given you. (Read 1 Corinthians12:12-27).

  • Donít Give Up, Even If You Make Mistakes

Proverbs 24:16 "For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief."

I would have never learned to walk, if I would have quit trying the first time I fell. I would have never gotten a college education if I quit the first time a got a bad grade. I would have never owned a successful printing business for seven years if I had quit because I made a mistake! I can remember printing an order of 10,000 for a mission agency. I printed in large 30 point type "Help Us Loose Weight." I missed the misspelled word, which should have been lose. The job was printed, folded and delivered, and to my embarrassment they discovered the error. While it was a costly error for me, reran the job with the appropriate correction. They were pleased and I continued to do all the missions printing for many years.  

Years ago I read an article about Thomas Edisonís efforts to perfect an electric light bulb. Edison tried 1,000 time without success, but kept on trying. He tried 2,000 time without success, but he did not quit. 3,000Ö 4,000 and 5,000 times without success. Then, after 6,000 failures he found the material that worked for an incandescent light bulb.

Listen friends, some of the greatest lessons are learned from our mistakes. If you fail, get up, dust yourself off, and move forward. As one preacher put it, "The bumps are to climb on."

  • S-T-R-E-T-C-H Yourself Reaching For Excellence

Donít be content being a run of the mill Christian. Too many Christians just meander aimlessly throughout content being a mediocre Christian when excellence is within their grasp. Paul presented this concept to the Corinthians. We read in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. 25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. 26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: 27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway."

Christian friends, God is seeking believers who will live up to their God given potential for His glory. He is looking for believers whoÖ

Will Bloom Where They Are Planted & Not Wait For Everything To Be Ideal Before They Do Their Best

Will Use The Gifts, Talents, Intellect, and Abilities They Have, Not Complain About What They Lack

Will Not Give Up, Even When They Make Mistakes

Will S-T-R-E-T-C-H Themselves

 

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First Baptist Church of Oak Creek

10550 S. Howell Ave. - Oak Creek, WI 53154

Phone: 414-762-7575

Pastor: David L. Brown, Ph.D.

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