Saturday June 6, 2009 Lesson for Sabbath Afternoon ( Introduction page )
I like the memory verse " 'Everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance' " (Matthew 25:29, NIV)...This verse will be cover in detail on Sunday portion, June the 7..we will study more later.
I find that the intro lesson did not lay on details or define the meaning of "stewardship" but it only cover words like Caretaker , Manager ,Custodian ,Agent , Ambassador , Warden or Guardian , all these words doesn't describe the beautiful real meaning of stewardship, what God has for us....
Stewardship is not limited to caring for financial resources and to making sure that God gets His ten percent. Though that's certainly part of it, so much more is involved.
So..my real problem is "What is then stewardship?" Can you help me friends...TQ
Please help me out...inputs are very much appriciated as we study Sabbath School lesson ahead of time and will discuss the lesson as a daily aspect by day or dates...
In order to understand stewardship first we have to understand the owner of the things given to a steward and in the lesson we have already discover that the owner is God. This gives us the clear relationship between the owner and steward. In Christian concept the owner is God the creator according to Genesis 1:1 and man is the manager or administrator. From this concept of wasness and self sufficiency of God is were we get the definition of stewardship.
In seventh day Adventists believe stewardship as been define as the responsibility for a man in use of everything entrusted to him by God life, physic al being ,time, talents and abilities, material possessions, opportunities to be of service to others, and his knowledge of the truth.
Thus stewardship involves the relationship between God and man. Man can only be a good steward if he understand the owner.
1. Read Matthew 25:14–30.What basic message about stewardship do you take from Jesus’ words here?
God has given talents to every man according to each person’s ability
We will be judged according to the usage of our talents
We do not earn salvation by usage our talents.
Notice verse 14, the Master gave them “His goods”
“His goods” are the talents. See verse 15
Therefore when the servants “went and traded” the talents, they were doing good works.
We do not do good works in order to be saved.
So then what is the attitude of the servants that used their talents? Before we can answer this question we need to ask the following question. Is it possible conclude that their attitude was opposite from the attitude of the servant that hid his talent? I think so.
What was the attitude of the servant that hid his talent? Why did he hide his talent?
See verse 24 and 25, “I knew thee that thou art an hard man…And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent”
He was afraid. This means that he did not know the Master. He did not know the Master because he did not love the Master (1 John 4:8 says, to know Him is to love Him). And he did not live by faith because faith works by love (Gal. 5:6). And without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6)
Therefore the other servants that used the talents lived by faith, loved the Master, and they knew the Master’s character. They were doing the good works because they had a loving relationship with Him.
Read Matthew 25:14-15. On what basis did the master give more money to one servant than another? Was it just favoritism? (No. The servants varied in their natural abilities. He gave the servant with more natural ability more money.)
Was that unfair? Shouldn't everyone get the same amount of money?
Or, was it unfair to the servant with more natural talent because he now had a greater challenge?
Read Matthew 25:16-18. Is there any argument in favor of the approach of the "one talent" guy? What about the recent fall of the stock market? What about the worries over our banking institutions? Might not a hole in the ground be the safest way to conserve capital?
Is there any reason to believe that the one talent fellow was not proceeding in good faith? (Yes. If the master wanted his money preserved by hiding it, he could have hidden it himself - and not taken the risk of letting the one talent guy know where it was.)
Read Matthew 25:19-23. Why does the guy who only produced two more talents get the same praise as the guy who produced five more talents? Is that fair? (They both doubled what was given to them. This shows that, since the master allocated the money based on natural ability, the master does not impose a penalty for a lack of natural talent. The question is not what talents you have at birth, the question is what you do with your talents.)
Read Matthew 25:24. This reveals the mind-set of the one talent fellow. Why does he call his master names ("hard man")?
Isn't it true that one person should not make a profit from the hard work of another person? Isn't this called "exploitation?"
Read Matthew 25:25. Wait, has the one talent man changed his story? (Yes! He is now claiming he was fearful. First he claims his master is a capitalist, and then he claims fear.)
Read Matthew 25:26-27. How does the master analyze the problem? Is the one-talent guy fearful? Does he have a legitimate complaint about capitalists? (The master calls him "wicked and lazy.")
Is the master right about him being "wicked?" I thought the one-talent guy was claiming a moral objection. (So much for the idea that capitalism is evil in God's eye! The "wicked" term no doubt has to do with the servant having an obligation to advance the cause of the master. "Lazy" applies because he did almost nothing.)
Read Matthew 25:28-30. Why should the ten-talent guy get the little money that the one-talent guy has? Now, the ten-talent guy has "an abundance" while the one-talent guy has nothing. Is this fair? (We will compound the mystery in the next section when we read Matthew 25:34-40.)
Let's step back a minute and consider this story. What is Jesus teaching us? Is it about money, talent, and time? (This is a "kingdom parable." All of the stories in this chapter have to do with the means of getting to heaven.)
When the "stewardship guy" comes around, my reaction is that he will end up with more and I will end up with less. What does this story teach us about stewardship? (The story refers specifically to money, but I think it symbolizes all kinds of natural talents. The means to "more" is to put your money and talents to work ( Matthew 25:16). The great thing is that it does not matter how much talent you are given at the beginning. What matters is what you do with it. If you are faithful, you will be rewarded with more. Stewardship is about having more.)
Considering the Poor
Read Matthew 25:31-40. Would the one-talent guy, especially after he had been thrown out by the master without his money, qualify as (verse 40) "one of the least of these brothers?"
Let's assume that you are the (now) eleven-talent guy (the master just gave you the talent of the lazy and wicked guy), and you bump into the (now) no-talent guy. Does Jesus teach that you should give money to the no-talent guy?
Would that not veto the decision of the master?
Do you think it makes a difference that the story does not mention money? The hungry get food, the thirsty water, the stranger an invitation, those needing new clothes got clothes. Why does no one get money? (The preceding talent story specifically mentions money. This story mentions money not at all. If we are right that giving the(now)"no-talent" guy money after the master took it away would be a problem, then supplying the needs of the no-talent guy would make sense.)
Is it possible that even though Jesus refers to money in the first parable, it is symbolic and has little to do with money? (If you look at Matthew 13:12, you will find the same "give more to the diligent, take from the lazy" statement in a clearly spiritual context.)
Is it possible that when the eleven-talent man gives help to the no-talent guy that he is still investing his talents? (We are not told how the talents were invested. If this has a spiritual application, then it makes sense that the talents are invested in kingdom business.)
I've asked several questions to make you think about what Jesus is teaching us. What lessons can we be sure about in these two parables? (That God wants us to be diligent in working for Him. That a part of our work is helping those in need.)
Nature of Talents
We have found that Jesus told parables that equate our talents (about which we must be diligent) to money and goods. Do our talents also include our natural abilities? (Look again at Matthew 25:15. "According to his abilities" must refer to natural abilities. The natural abilities were key to the amount of money given by the master.)
Read Matthew 24:45-51. Here is another traveling master story. What resource is the servant required to account for here? (Responsibility and time. Because the "master is staying away a long time" the servant believes he has time to abuse those within his care and to waste his own time.)
Is time a talent about which we have to be good stewards?(Yes. However, the fact that God created a need for humans to sleep shows that some balance between work and rest is required.)
What percentage of your time is spent promoting your interests as opposed to the interests of others?
What percentage of your time is essentially wasted and helps no one?
How does abusing others and wasting time work out for this servant? (Not well. Another "weeping and gnashing of teeth" ending.)
Friend, we see that diligent followers of Jesus prosper and the lazy, wasteful followers cry and gnash their teeth. I'm going to interpret "gnashing" as regret for the decisions made in the past. You have decisions to make for the future, will you decide to be a faithful, diligent servant of Jesus?
1. An abundance. Good stewardship implies a close walk with God and that, in turn, seems to contain a promise for material and physical blessings (Matthew 25:29). Have you ever known a devoted Christian who was miserably poor? Or who was crippled as well and lived in pain? If so, what happened to that person's abundance? What are some of the ways we can describe the "abundance" God bestows upon us besides material wealth or physical health? Should we assure those facing hard times of the promised abundance? If so, how might that be done?
2. Talents of gold. A talent was a measurement of weight used in Bible times to define the value of gold, silver, and other precious metals. Even so, have you ever heard the story Jesus told about the ten talents as a story about money? Or have you mostly heard it presented as a story about various capabilities (talents) that people have been given? Were some of the talents of money in Jesus' story worth more than others? Could any of the servants have increased the value of a talent? Does the story of the ten talents apply as well to abilities as it does to money? Why or why not?
3. Time. Have you ever felt that if only you had another hour at the end of each day, things would be so much better? Do you believe that God lives outside the boundaries of time? If so, why is it that for us humans time is probably the most important dimension of our lives? What are some activities that are truly hard to squeeze in to our schedules but are essential for our spiritual growth? How did Jesus manage His time while on earth? Did He work ceaselessly, an example to us of a 24-7 worker in God's cause? Or did He teach us that other things besides work are important? What are some of those things?
4. Our bodies. Have you ever explained your dietary habits by saying that you believe that God wants us to live healthy lives? Why does the Bible say far more about the need for being sexually clean than it does about people who eat too much? Outside of the dietary laws of the Israelites, what does the Bible actually say about matters of food and diet? Did Jesus say anything about food we should or shouldn't eat? Does this relative silence mean that it doesn't matter what we eat? What about exercise? What about sleep? Does the lack of Scriptural commands in specific areas of life mean that they don't matter? Did God give His end-time people a strong and stirring health message for a specific reason? What could that reason be?
5. Waiting and watching. Are we waiting for the Lord to come? What should be our highest priority while the years before His coming roll by? How can we wait for the Lord to come and work to hasten His coming at the same time? What about that single talent you and I may have? Suppose for a minute that it represents basic Bible principles and beliefs. Does anything matter besides holding on to the talent that we feel God has entrusted to us?
6. Availability over ability. The lesson closes on the note that as talented as we may be, it doesn't make any difference unless we give our talents to God. Again, the authors are using the modern definition of the word, "talent," to mean capabilities rather than the actual meaning in Matthew 24 of the word "talent" as money. Do money and abilities both have something to do with finishing the gospel commission? In what way are the two qualities related? What good does a $100 bill do in your pocket? How wonderful is a violin lying in its case but never played? Do you think we should spend more time asking God to help us use capabilities and possessions He has given us? Is there a more important work to do than sharing God's love with others?
This week's lesson begins with a short passage by R. Scott Rodin about Stewarship. He states that stewardship is not just about caring for financial resources—it is more involved. He makes the point that the term steward is misunderstood because our modern vocabulary doesn't have a term that carries the richness of this word's meaning.
The companion booklet, E.G. White Notes for the Sabbath School Lessons, features a three-paragraph quote from Testimonies to Ministers.
I have no issues with the brief explanation of Stewardship by R. Scott Rodin. The problems in today's lesson are found in the Ellen White quote in the Notes booklet.
"God has not given talents to men capriciously, but according to their God-given ability to use them." Ellen G. White, Testimonies to Ministers.
God does not give talents according to our ability to use them! The Bible says:
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone... All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills (1Cor. 4-6, 11).
God gives gifts "as he wills." The gift and the amount is the sovereign act of God. Another quote from today's passage in the Notes booklet is equally in error:
"God requires every human agent to consult the living oracle, and become thoroughly acquainted with His expressed will in all matters, that by diligently using the talents lent him, he may gain others." Ellen G. White, Testimonies to Ministers.
Nowhere in the Bible is this supported. As stated above in 1Corinthians, God gives as he wills. When we are faithful in the use of God's gifts, the increase is not for us, but for the kingdom of God. In the parable of the talents, the faithful servants didn't keep their increase, but it was all returned to their master.
The last paragraph of the Ellen White quote is even worse. Here is part of it:
"God would have us learn the solemn lesson that we are working out our own destiny. The character we form in this life decides whether or not we are fitted to live through the eternal ages..." Ellen G. White, Testimonies to Ministers.
We are not saved by how well we form characters. This is salvation by works! We are saved by trusting Jesus' finished work that was accomplished by His substitutionary atonement. We rest from our labors because He did all the work required.
Have you trusted Jesus? Are you resting from your works?
God does not give gifts according to our ability to use them.
God gives us gifts according to His sovereign will.
We are not saved by forming good characters. We are saved by trusting Jesus
The Parable of the Talents
14"Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. 15To one he gave five talents[a] of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. 17So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. 18But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money.
19"After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.'
21"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'
22"The man with the two talents also came. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.'
23"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'
24"Then the man who had received the one talent came. 'Master,' he said, 'I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.'
26"His master replied, 'You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.
28" 'Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. 29For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 30And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'
We learn that God use talent as object lesson to teach us that He gives us different talents for different individuals.
These talents only multiply as we used them. God is not happy to those who don't use them.
1)What are the talents in our Christian lives?
2)Are all skills a talent. Example can we use a gifted profesional expert in dancing to glorify God?
3)What are your gifts? Even more important, what are you doing with them? Are you using them to serve only yourself and your own desires, or are you using them also in service of the Lord? Why is this question so important?
CRITICAL THINKING DAY 2
Day 2: Sunday, June 7, 2009
Today's lesson is titled "Talents" and covers the parable of the talents found in Matthew 25:14–30. Here Jesus tells of the man who gave his three servants different amounts of money. Each "according to his ability." Through "trading" two of the servants doubled their master's money, but the one who had recieved the least hid his master's money and did not even invest it for interest.
The automatic assumption is made that Jesus is teaching this parable to give a lesson on the use of talents or abilities. Since the parable is about money, maybe Jesus is really teaching something about money. Regardless, what the master gives to each of his servants belongs to the master and is not owned by the servants. Each servant traded the masters' money to increase wealth. The servants did not use any of the principle or gain for themselves—all was saved to be given back to the master when he returned. Not having an increase was grounds for being cast into "outer darkness."
All that we have been given belongs to our Master. We are to invest everything with the goal of gain only for Him. What we have is not for our use—it is all for Him.
God gives to each person according to his/her abilities.
What God gives belongs to Him. We are entrusted to use what God gives to create increased value.
We are not given assets for our own use. We will be required to give all back to God with an increase.
In today's stressful world the example of Jesus is as refreshing as it is worth imitating. Jesus worked hard and was fully committed to His mission. But He made sure that He did not miss the blessings of the Sabbath. The Gospels make it abundantly clear that He had time for His Father, for His friends, for relaxation, and for a good meal. This type of time management (or rather: time stewardship) will prove a blessing for all who practice it.
The Bible does not praise workaholics, nor does it have any commendations for those who always take it easy. As always, there is a balance, one in which we get done the things we need to get done, while at the same time we don't burn ourselves out emotionally or physically. God has the first claim on our time. We manifest this in our keeping of the Sabbath and our daily time for prayer and worship. Our loved ones also are entitled to a fair share of our time. Then there is time for work, for leisure, and for a host of other things. The church also claims a substantial part of our time. But there must always be a balance so that we don't fall into one trap or another.
Where do you lean, toward doing not enough or doing too much? How can you live a more balanced life in regard to the stewardship of your time? Why it is important that you do?
In my opinion, we need to prioritize the things we need to do. God is the center of our use of time. Use the time we have to glorify God. It is very important to meditate since we live in a world full of hatred and challenges. To face it, we need to depend totally on God's power. God are willing to show us His power through us if we keep calm and give our time to the Lord every day.
1. What do we learn from the Gospels about Jesus’ use of His time?
Matt. 4:23 – Jesus was busy helping people physically, mentally, and spiritually.
Mark 1:21-35 – Jesus was busy all day Sabbath teaching and preaching. After sundown, Jesus healed more people. Next day morning, Jesus still got up early enough to pray!
Luke 4:16 – Jesus went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day. Jesus did not forget to keep the Sabbath day holy.
John 2:1-11 – Jesus did not neglect an innocent feast and celebration.
John 12:2 – Jesus spent time with those who are close to Him.