“And no one having lighted a lamp covers it with a vessel or puts it under a couch, but sets it on a lamp-stand, that they who enter in may see the light. For there is nothing hid which shall not become manifest, nor secret which shall not be known and come to light. Take heed therefore how ye hear; for whosoever has, to him shall be given, and whosoever has not, even what he seems to have shall be taken from him. [Luke 8:16-18, Darby Translation]
One of my responsibilities as President of Charlotte Christian College and Theological Seminary is to lead the annual Graduation Exercise. This year Tiffany McBee, one of our honor graduates, had been selected to speak briefly. She stood before the esteemed assembly and led everyone in the preschool chorus “This Little Light of Mine.” During her seminary training, she had grasped the truth of Luke 8:16-18. She understood that ministers of the Gospel and parishioners who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, are each committed to letting their light shine for Jesus.
Every Christian is blessed with talents, time, and resources, and one or more spiritual gifts to help advance the Kingdom. Jesus does not intend that we hide our talents, time, and resources, nor our spiritual gifts. We are to use them to affect the Lord’s kingdom. The only Christians without spiritual gifts are those who have refused to use their gifts for the kingdom for so long that the Lord has taken them away. This is what we are being taught in this passage. If we do not use our spiritual gifts, the Lord will take them from us and give them to another person who will use them. How sad to know that the Lord gave you access to a precious gift and you did not use it to influence the Kingdom of God in a constructive manner!
I sat in the home of an elderly man making a pastoral visit. He looked at me and asked, “Pastor, do you know my biggest regret?” He went on to explain that God had called and gifted him as a teenager to preach the Gospel, but he had other plans. After a stroke in his mid-sixties, he tried to follow that long lost calling, but his body and mind no longer had the strength or ability. He knew that in the judgment, he would be asked to explain why he had not obeyed, why he had not used his spiritual gift, and he knew there was no answer to justify his disobedience. This was his biggest regret. You see, we cannot always put off serving Jesus until a more convenient time, for Jesus may take the gift, talent, and resources and lend it to another.
The spiritual gifts the Lord gives us in secret must be used in public or the Lord will take them away from us. Then one day, we will each stand accountable to our Lord for the gifts we have used and the gifts stripped from us. Such gifts will be manifested against us. As a Christian, we are to be lights in this world, holding forth the word of life to those who are lost. Jesus did not give us life, talents, and spiritual gifts for us to hide them. He gave them to us to use. Our light must shine before others; our light is not only to be good, it is to do good!
Spiritual gifts will either be continued in us or taken from us. The Lord will take said action based on what we do, or do not do, with them. He expects us to make use of them to affect His Kingdom and to edify the family of faith. This includes bringing the lost into the family of faith. When you and I stand before Jesus during the final judgment, we will give an account of how we lived and how we used our time, resources, and spiritual gifts. Will you be able to tell Jesus that you used all of your talents and gifts to advance His Kingdom?
Prayer: Lord, forgive me when I have failed to use the spiritual gifts you have loaned me. Help me have courage to use my spiritual gifts today, as well as my talents, time, and resources to affect your Kingdom today. Amen.