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Weekly Encouragement

"How Do We Prepare for Jesus’ Return?"

Matthew 24:46, “Blessings on you if I return and find you faithfully doing your work. I will put such faithful ones in charge of everything I own!” (Living Bible).

Matthew 25 gives us an illustration of what we, as believers, should be doing on earth in preparation for Jesus’ return. Jesus gives three parables in this chapter, in which He describes the Kingdom of Heaven.

In the Parable of the Talents, the Lord, meaning owner, was well-pleased with the servants who sowed their talents, but He was highly displeased with the servant who hid his talents. The servant who hid his talents had a worldly mentality. He was afraid of sowing his talents, because he felt that the Lord would reap or take “his earnings”.

The word “earned” is used by the faithless servant in the Living Bible, which signifies that he believed his power and might—hard labor—would cause him to reap. And He did not want the Lord to take the profits of what he would “work for.” He was prideful because he believed more in self than he did his Lord. His life was all about himself. Therefore, he was selfish.

The other servants had a Kingdom mentality; they knew that what they were entrusted with were for Kingdom purposes. They took the focus off of themselves and off of what they would get out of it. They did not care that the Lord was the one reaping, or getting the glory, because they knew that they were only stewards, or managers of the Lord’s resources. Everything given to them was not their own; they weren’t even their own. The owner, the Lord, owned them and everything they possessed. They were considered faithful servants because they humbled themselves as vessels, doing the will of the Lord. His will was their priority, not gathering for themselves. Their lives were fully submitted to the Lord, and because of that they had compassion for the things the Lord had compassion for—feeding the hungry and thirsty, clothing the naked, providing shelter for the homeless, healing the sick, and ministering to those in prison. They were focused on advancing the Kingdom.

The faithless servant wasn’t fully submitted to the Lord. Self was still Lord over him. He was prompted by self and self’s desires. Therefore, he did not have a heart for the Lord. He was not compassionate for the things the Lord was compassionate for. He did not use his talents to help the “least of these.” He hid them from those that needed them. Basically, he sat on his talents. Therefore, he could not inherit the Kingdom of God.

It’s strategic that this parable is right after Matthew 24, where Jesus is describing the signs of his return. Chapter 25 is a continuation of the conversation taken place in Chapter 24. God wants us to be ready by preparing for His return. We prepare by doing His will on earth as it already is in heaven—that’s the Kingdom. But before we can do His will, we must crucify our flesh. The flesh is opposed to God’s will. The flesh is demanding and wants the glory for itself. So we must crucify self, that is submit fully to God’s overall plan and purpose for our lives, becoming willing vessels, realizing that our lives are not our own and are not just for our own personal enjoyment. We must present our bodies as living sacrifices for the Kingdom, using the talents, gifts, money, time, and other resources that He blesses us with to bless others. We must put aside selfish ambitions, and pour ourselves into others. It’s God’s Kingdom, but He gave us dominion and authority. He gave us the keys to the Kingdom; so it’s our duty to establish His Kingdom on the earth as it is in heaven—there’s no sickness, poverty, crime, depression, lost souls, etc. in heaven; so it’s not His will for it to be on earth either. So whatever talent and resources the Lord blesses us with, we must use to uplift, encourage, and minister to those in need. God wants us to bring people to heaven with us. God is in the sowing and reaping business. He wants us to sow our lives that we may reap more lives into the Kingdom. And we do it all to bring Him glory. We do not get the glory, because we can only do what the Lord gave us the skill, talent, resources, and anointing to do. We are only carriers of what He placed within us. So we, as Christians, must stop thinking like the world, by accumulating things for our own personal benefit. Let’s pursue our dreams so that we are able to gain influence to minister to the needs of others, because on Judgment Day, we will all give an account to how we used that which He placed under our stewardship. This is the will of the Father. This is how we prepare and be ready for the marriage supper. This is how we hear, “Well done, My Good and Faithful Servant.”

By Jasmine Alexis Cason

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