"Tools Not Toys"
Updated: Sep 28, 2022
By Drew Zuverink
“For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master's money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’"
The parable of the talents is pretty straight forward: God has given us (his servants and his children) certain gifts, talents, opportunities and abilities for us to use in order to increase his kingdom. Ever since Jesus ascended into heaven he has passed the responsibility of increasing his kingdom on this earth to his followers. Jesus is not going to come back in human form, or any form, to walk and talk and spread the good news of salvation. He tells us this, and so it is up to his followers to walk and talk and spread that news. Of course this would be far too great a task for mere humans to accomplish all by themselves and so he supplies us with the power of the Holy Spirit. And so as a team, if you will, the Holy Spirit and human beings work together to use whatever God given talents they have to spread the gospel and to increase God's kingdom here on this earth - or at least that is God's plan.
That is rarely what actually happens.
The sad reality is that God gives all of his followers various tools for them to use for his kingdom and his followers often take them and use them as toys to play with. It is the sad reality that the majority of Christians, at least in America, do not believe that their primary purpose on this earth is to spread the gospel and to increase God's kingdom. Instead many of them believe that the primary purpose of their life is to enjoy it - so long as they don't do anything immoral. And of course if a person does not believe that their primary purpose is to use all of their talents (which could be opportunities, relationships, skills, abilities, finances, time etc) to increase God's kingdom - they will use those things for something else. We must first remember that we are alive to spread the gospel and to be a witness of God's goodness through Jesus Christ because if we forget that - we will mistake our God given tools for God given toys for us to enjoy for ourselves.
Think of it this way: a father hands his three son's a hammer, some screw drivers, nails, screws and all of the other materials that they would need to build a little shed in their backyard. He tells them that he is going to the office for a while and he would like the shed to be put together by the time that he gets back. The father has given his three son's all the tools that they would need to put together a shed, he has told them that he expects them to use those tools with the exact purpose of putting together the shed and he has told them that he is coming back and would like it accomplished by that time. He has every reason to expect his son's to have built the shed when he returns.
Instead, when he returns he finds his son's playing pretend war. They have used the walls of the shed as bases and barricades and the hammer functions as a make believe gun if you hold it just right. Screw drivers are swords and daggers, the bags of nails and screws are now hand grenades and shrapnel and the shed is nowhere near put together.
The father calls for his three boys to come to him and he asks them why they haven't been building a shed while he was away. They answer him and say that they didn't know he wanted them to use the tools to build a shed - they thought they were toys for them to use to have fun.
I believe that most Christians live their lives like the three boys in the made up story above. Very few Christians that I know truly believe and live as if God expects them to be growing his kingdom. Some of us might say that we believe that, but few of us live that way. Few of us, if you examined our daily lives, order our schedules around the goal of impacting people with the good news of Jesus Christ. Something has to change - the soul's of the lost depend on it.
You know the devil is not blind to God's strategy of gifting his followers with tools that will enable them to faithfully spread his kingdom on earth. Satan has been brilliantly convincing Christians that the tools that they possess are really toys, and as long as they don't do anything immoral, they can go off and play with them with their friends. Why does this matter? Because while all the Christians are off playing with their "toys" who is left to bring the news of salvation to the people who are yet in the devil's grasp? Satan knows that Jesus isn't coming back to tell people about the gospel, so he doesn't target Jesus - he targets us! If he can convince us not to use our tools how God expects us to - then he could care less if we are moral people! "Sure go off and be moral so long as you aren't using your gifts to spread the gospel!" Friends we aren't alive to just be moral we are alive to tell people about Jesus!
I was reminded of this when I visited my grandpa this past weekend. My dear grandpa is nearing the end of his life. He recently called each of his grandkids on the phone and asked them, "I need to hear it from your own lips, do you know and love Jesus Christ as your Lord and savior?" He needed to know, if he passed away that day, that he asked that one question of all of his grandkids. He told me that as he nears the end of his life what is truly important has become so crystal clear - and that is living for Jesus. He told me to carry the responsibility of impacting others for Christ well and to never forget that that is my duty. I cannot tell you what a joy it was to sit and listen to a man who is so near to death talk with such love and clarity about what is truly important. I love my grandpa and I guarantee you that if you asked him he would tell you that he wishes he lived for Jesus even more. I guarantee you that he would gladly go back and use more of his God given tools to impact even more people with the gospel. And I guarantee you that if he could speak with all of you he would tell you:
"Don't wait until you are 75, reach lost people through your tools now!"