USING OUR TALENTS FOR GOD
Scripture: Luke 19:11–26; John 1:19–28; 1 Corinthians 15:58; 2 Timothy 2:1-2
Memory verse: 1 Corinthians 15:58
"Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain."
Each person has been given different abilities. One might be good at sewing, another at math; another might do well at saying things that help others feel better when they are sad. God can use each person to help someone else if the person is faithful to use his abilities for God.
(Emphasise that it is important to be people on whom others can depend. Let volunteers share the disappointment they felt when someone failed to keep a promise or something quit working as it should. Point out that being dependable means keeping promises or doing what we know is right even when it is hard to do.)
Dependability is part of our Christian witness. Others should be able to depend on us to use the abilities God has given us. (Encourage the students to listen to how some men used the abilities they had.)
Hearing God’s Word
Jesus wanted people to understand what He was trying to teach them. That is why He told stories about things familiar to them. A parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.
Jesus’ Parable of Ten Pounds
Jesus told a story about a man who depended on some helpers to do a job for him. This wealthy nobleman decided to go on a long trip to receive another kingdom.
Before he went, he called ten of his servants together and gave hem each an amount of money called a pound. He asked them to use his money wisely while he was gone. Since he would not be around to invest his money in business, he trusted his servants to do it for him.
When the man returned later, he called all his servants together for a meeting. He wanted to find out how much each man had earned for him by trading in business.
The first servant said, “Your pound has gained ten pounds.” His master was so pleased he put the servant in charge of ten cities.
The second servant reported that his pound had gained five more pounds. That wasn’t as much money as the first servant earned, but at least he had been busy trying. After all, some business ventures simply do not do as well as others. The master was pleased with this servant too, for he had done his best. He gave this servant charge over five cities.
The Bible does not tell us about all ten of the servants. We can only assume they earned at least a little money for their master. That is, everyone except one. This servant came before the nobleman, holding his pound in a cloth. He had been so afraid of losing his master’s money, he had kept it hidden and had not invested it at all.
The master was angry. This last servant had showed he was not dependable. He could have at least put the pound in the bank where it would have drawn interest. But instead the servant had done nothing. The master took the pound away from the man and gave it to the servant who had earned ten pounds.
All of Us Have Work to Do
Our memory verse this week says we should always give ourselves “fully to the work of the Lord”. Jesus left us with work to do and He has given each of us talents to use in that work. It would be easy to sit back and hope others do the job. Yet this is a command for all of us who follow Jesus. None of us is exempt from God’s commands. (Repeat the memory verse several times.)
What it Means to be Dependable
Ask: “What does it mean to be dependable? Finish this sentence: ‘If a person is dependable, he is….” (Write the student’s responses on the chalkboard.)
(Listen to the following situations. What do they teach us about dependability and using our talents for God?)
“Why did I tell Aunt Naomi I would walk to the post office and mail her letter? It is too hot. Besides, I really need t do my homework. I will walk down this evening before supper. Aunt Naomi said to be sure the letter is mailed before three o’clock, but what difference can a couple of hours make?”
Ask: “How did this person use his talents? What was his attitude about dependability?” (Allow the students to respond.)
This area of dependability is doing what we have agreed to do unless it is not possible.
Ask: “Which would be better, refusing to do something a friend wants us to do, or agreeing to do it and failing to do so?” (Allow responses.)
Sometimes things come up that need attention whether we have agreed to do anything about them or not. Being dependable involves doing what we know is best even if it is inconvenient. Perhaps it was inconvenient for the servant in the parable to invest the money. Maybe he kept intending to, but just never got around to it. He may have had lots of reasons why he kept it in the cloth. But the fact is he was not dependable.
Besides doing what he has agreed to do and doing what his conscience tells him, a dependable person will be faithful to do the jobs given to him by those in authority over him.
Ask: “Who are some people in authority over us?” (Allow responses.)
A dependable person does the job given him, whether he likes it or not. He does not shirk his duties, nor does he try to take over someone else’s job. He uses the talents and abilities God has given him for the benefit of all.
John the Baptist Shows Faithfulness
(Instruct the students to scan John 1:19–28.)
Ask: “Would John the Baptist be considered a dependable person? What do John’s actions tell about him?” (Allow responses.)
John the Baptist didn’t pretend to be someone special. He didn’t get jealous of Jesus when he realized Jesus was greater than he was. John was content to be busy doing the job God had given him—to prepare the way for Jesus.
Paul Urges Us to be Faithful
The apostle Paul was a dependable, faithful Christian who spent the time from his conversion to his death spreading the good news of the gospel. He lived a life worthy of the name Christian. Paul encouraged others to be faithful just as he was. (Ask a student to read 2 Timothy 2:1, 2.) Paul urged Timothy to teach faithful people so they could in turn teach others. Paul knew the importance of leaving God’s work with those who could be depended upon.
Are We Doing Our Part?
Our purpose in life is to be witnesses for Jesus. Can you imagine Jesus saying He would do something, then forgetting to do it? Can you imagine Jesus ignoring someone in need even though He had the power to help them? In the same way God has given us talents and abilities that can be used to bless others and help them when they are in need. God is looking for servants He can depend on to do their part. Are you doing your part for Him?
Accepting God’s Word
People and things will sometimes prove unreliable. (Emphasise that Jesus is always dependable.) We can depend on His love for us and on what He has done for our salvation. (Explain the plan of salvation and ask if there are any who have not yet received Jesus but would like to today. Pray individually with each one who responds. Then instruct them in the basics of Christian living and encourage them to share about their decision for Jesus with someone this week.)
Casting the Net
The day began with a tour of St. Louis, Senegal, via horse-drawn cart. Our guide was skilful, weaving through traffic until we reached the beach. Offshore, a Russian freighter was waiting for small boats to receive its goods.
Lebou Wolof fishermen lined the beach as they offloaded the night’s catch and cleaned their nets. The 166,000 Lebou live in villages along the coast from Gambia to Mauritania.
One fisherman was in the process of preparing his catch for the market. The fish were cleaned, salted and placed on a wooden table to dry for four days, after which they would be sold across the entire country.
The harbour was filled with colourful Lebou boats, docked until nightfall when their owners began fishing again. Each boat costs between $2,000 and $3,000 and is launched with a special naming ceremony comparable to the naming of a child.
The Lebou Wolof are Islamic, but perhaps 20 have accepted Jesus Christ as their Saviour. May the Lord raise up messengers to be “fishers of men” among them.
REMEMBER TO PRAY!
Pray for Wolof Students
1. The classroom to be the venue, the way through which each student may look beyond Islam,
2. Christian teachers to seize the opportunities to share an open witness of the gospel whit those whose lives they touch on a daily basis,
3. Teachers to utilize home Bible studies to lead students into a personal relationship with Jesus and become "fishers of youth."
"I chose you and appointed you...so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you" (John 15:17).
Study 13 | Jesus is Worthy/Witnessing | africaatts.org/go-teach