January 29, 2012 – February 4, 2012
The Christian’s Calling
“How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship.” Luke 16:2.
Study Help: Christ’s Object Lessons, 325–365.
“Every gift, every talent, every ray of light, is ours as a sacred trust, bestowed upon us that we may win souls to Christ.” The Review and Herald, February 27, 1894.
1 THE GIVER OF ALL GOOD
- Why was God’s greatest gift bestowed upon us—unworthy as we are—and how should we respond to it? John 3:16, 17; Romans 5:6–10.
Note: “The gift of Christ to the world was beyond computation, and no power could compete with God by giving a gift that would bear any comparison to the value of heaven’s best treasure. The greatness of this gift was to furnish men with a theme of thanksgiving and praise that would last through time and through eternity. Having given His all in Christ, God lays claim to the heart, mind, soul, and strength of man. Looking upon the treasure which God has provided in the full and complete gift of Christ, we can exclaim: ‘Herein is love’ [I John 4:10]!” Our High Calling, 18.
- What must we consider about our accountability toward the One who bestows every good gift and talent? Romans 14:10, last part, 12; James 1:17.
Note: “If you are true disciples of Christ, you will consecrate every talent, and be able to reach out for the unconverted, by ways and methods that will be effective. You will be active, working agencies for Christ.” The Signs of the Times, May 29, 1893.
“Every human being will have to give an account to God for the way in which he has used his entrusted talents.” This Day With God, 318.
2 AWAKENING TO OUR ACCOUNTABILITY
- How does our standing in the hour of judgment involve all that we have ever received from God? Luke 16:1, 2.
Note: “To every man God has entrusted talents for wise improvement. If rightly used, these talents will reflect glory to the Giver. But the most precious gifts of God may be perverted, and thus become a curse rather than a blessing.” Our High Calling, 218.
“We must train and improve our ability that we may not disappoint our Master, but reach the highest possible standard, and thus influence others to follow in the footsteps of our Example. We may say, ‘Neither society nor intimate companions must have their ideas of Christian character cheapened by my course of action.’ ” Ibid., 290.
“Why have you been so passive? Why have you done so little? … What have you gained by serving self at the sacrifice of the best interests of God’s cause?” The Review and Herald, December 5, 1907.
“The talents of God’s people are to be employed in giving the last message of mercy to the world.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 494.
“If we do but one third of that which we have entrusted talents to do, the other two thirds are working against Christ.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 439.
- When we consider the abilities and talents God has given us—whether small or great—what is our continual duty? II Corinthians 13:5, 6.
Note: “Every energy, every endowment, is a talent that should contribute to God’s glory by being used in His service. Our God-given capabilities should not be made to serve selfish ends. We should always be willing to impart, letting others know all that we know; and we should rejoice, if they in their work develop an energy and an intelligence superior to that which we possess.
“God’s gifts are not to be used for the exaltation of self, but are to be put out to the exchangers, so that He shall receive His own with usury. Let not one attempt to secure greatness, happiness, or self-gratification by diverting from their proper use the powers with which he is endowed; for by so doing he dishonors the Giver, and fails of fulfilling the purpose for which he was created.” This Day With God, 132.
“As a people we have had great light. Oh, that we were awake to the purposes of God and to our individual responsibility! Then would we use every gift, every talent, in the work of giving to the world the truth for this time.” Pacific Union Recorder, August 28, 1902.
3 BETWEEN EACH SOUL AND GOD
- What did Christ say concerning Peter’s curiosity about John? John 21:20–22.
Note: “We have a personal work, an individual responsibility, a personal account to render, and it is our own salvation we must secure, for it is a matter of individual concern. … The piety and obedience of others will not save us or be doing our work. Their efforts will never be registered against our names as ours. …
“God has left to every one of us our work—not the temporal labor as planting, sowing, reaping, and gathering in the harvest, but to build up His kingdom, to bring souls to the knowledge of the truth, and to regard this as our first and highest duty. God has claims upon us. He has endowed us with capabilities and given us opportunities, if we will see them and improve them. These obligations to God none but ourselves, individually, can meet.” Our High Calling, 303.
- What should we consider when tempted to compare ourselves with others? II Corinthians 10:12.
Note: “The delinquencies of others … will be no excuse for any one to follow their example, because Christ is lifted up as the only true Pattern—faultless, pure, uncorrupted.” Our High Calling, 303.
“What shall be said of those who, having had many years of experience in the truth, and many precious advantages for growth in grace, are yet inclined toward the world, and find pleasure in its amusements and display? Instead of going on from strength to strength, they are, little by little, departing from God, and losing their spiritual life. …
“Talent can never take the place of piety, nor can the applause of men recommend us to the favor of God.” Ibid., 218.
“The knowledge of the truth is altogether too precious to be hoarded up, and bound about, and hid in the earth. Even the one talent entrusted by the Master is to be faithfully employed.” Ibid., 290.
- In Christ’s prayer to His Father, what task did He entrust to His followers? John 17:18.
Note: “We are individually responsible. We ourselves should be our concern. Are we in all our words and actions building up the kingdom of Christ, or are we tearing down?” Our High Calling, 303.
4 AVOID THE CURSE OF MEROZ
- What sobering thought comes to mind when we consider our talents during the times in which we are living? John 9:4; Judges 5:23.
Note: “Could the ledger of Heaven be opened before us, we would be greatly astonished at the large proportion of professing Christians who really contribute nothing toward the upbuilding of Christ’s kingdom, who put forth no efforts for the salvation of souls. Such are slothful servants. Many who are satisfied not to do much good, flatter themselves that they are doing no harm so long as they do not oppose the earnest, active workers. But this class are doing much harm by their example. …
“The slothful servant was not condemned for what he had done, but for what he had not done. There is no more dangerous enemy to the cause of God than an indolent Christian. An open profaner does less harm, for he deceives no one; he appears what he is, a brier, a thorn. The do-nothings are the greatest hindrance.” Our High Calling, 302.
- In this busy age of constant struggle for economic survival, what should be foremost in the mind of all who profess to believe the present truth? Mark 8:36–38.
Note: “The heavenly Guest is standing at your door, while you are piling up obstructions to bar His entrance. Jesus is knocking through the prosperity He gives you. He loads you with blessings to test your fidelity, that they may flow out from you to others. Will you permit your selfishness to triumph? Will you squander God’s talents, and lose your soul through idolatrous love of the blessings He has given?” The Review and Herald, November 2, 1886.
“We are living in a time when there should be deep thought and solemn consideration. What shall be the end of these things? What profit is there under the sun?” Ibid., March 6, 1894.
“What shall we say, what can we say, to arouse those who know the truth, both ministers and lay members, to a sense of their responsibility? How can they be led to feel the burden of imparting to others the truth God has imparted to them? O that they were awake to the purposes of God and to their individual responsibility! Then would they use every gift, every talent, in the work of giving to the world the truth for this time. The number of laborers would greatly increase, and the work would grow in influence and extent. God’s people would be light bearers, shining amid the darkness of this degenerate age.” Australasian Union Conference Record, August 1, 1902.
5 IN THE SHORTNESS OF TIME
- How do the signs of the times relate to our talents? Matthew 24:32, 33.
Note: “Am I [Ellen White] so familiar with the ‘sure word of prophecy’ that I can see in the events transpiring around me positive evidence that the coming King is even at the door? Do I sense the responsibility that rests upon me, in view of the light God has given? Am I using every talent entrusted to me as His steward, in well-directed effort to rescue the perishing? or am I lukewarm and indifferent, partly mixed up with a wicked world, using the means and ability God has given me, largely in self-gratification, caring more for my own ease and comfort than for the advancement of His cause?” The General Conference Bulletin, April 1, 1897.
“If ever there was a time when men and women should have an assurance that they are co-partners with Christ in the saving of the world, it is now.” The Review and Herald, April 9, 1895.
- What inspired declaration should echo in each heart? Galatians 6:14.
Note: “Call every talent into exercise to copy the Pattern. Christ died to save man, and He calls upon us to live as seeing Him who is invisible, that we may save souls. Then seek the Lord most earnestly. Eternal life at the right hand of God is worth a lifelong, persevering, untiring effort. Look to the cross of Calvary, and be no longer half-hearted. It is either life or death with every one of us; and when we surrender all, then Jesus will open ways that we may serve Him with every power of our being. The Lord would have us gather up the rays of light, and be witnesses for Christ.” The Signs of the Times, November 28, 1892.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 What example did God demonstrate in giving us His Son?
2 In what ways may I be misusing the talents God has given me?
3 Why is competition to have no place in the Christian experience?
4 Why does the mere struggle for economic survival fall short of God’s plan?
5 As we consider Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, what should we do with the talents entrusted to us?
© 2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.