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(Part 116)


August 27, 2016

Today’s readings:
1 Corinthians 1:26-31
Matthew 25:14-30

Yesterday we saw that God can use anyone. Today we see that God in fact delights in using the least among us. “Consider your own calling, brothers. Not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. Rather, God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong, and God chose the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something” (1 Cor 1:26-28).

Wow! That is foolishness according to the wisdom of the world! Even in the Church, people tend to look to, and choose as leaders, those who are intellectually more capable, those who have positions of power and prestige, and those who have social standing. God chooses the opposites!

One reason is “so that no human being might boast before God.” (1 Cor 1:29). Indeed, don’t those who are intelligent, powerful and with social standing end up looking to their own human capabilities and resources? And if in spite of this God still uses them for His purposes, might they not end up considering that it was precisely due to who they were that they succeeded? That ends in pride, which ends in being brought low by God Himself.

But the uneducated or not-so intelligent man, the powerless poor, the lowbrows of society -- are these not those who, when used by God, would readily admit it was not out of their own human wisdom or strength? They then point to God and give Him the glory that is His due. It is such a person who looks not to self but only to the Lord. “It is due to him that you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, as well as righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.” (1 Cor 1:30). Christ is our all.

If that is the case, how can we ever boast of our own capabilities? That would be foolishness and devoid of all reality. Thus, “as it is written, ‘Whoever boasts, should boast in the Lord.’” (1 Cor 1:31).

One more thing. As has been said, God can use anyone, and God wants to use everyone. But God uses them in different ways. He allocates resources as He wills. “To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one--to each according to his ability.” (Mt 25:15a). Though God can use anyone, all of us also have different abilities (which abilities also came from God). That is why in a CLS for example, one is a speaker and one a floor sweeper. Both are important and both are used by God to get the overall task done, but obviously the abilities are different.

What is important is to use what is given by God to accomplish His purposes. The one with five talents and the one with two talents both doubled the master’s possessions. And so both, even with different human value to their contribution, received the same citation. “Well done, my good and faithful servant. .... Come, share your master’s joy.” (Mt 25:21,23).

But the one given one talent did not even try to make use of it. His master’s words were harsh. “You wicked, lazy servant!” (Mt 25:26a). And his punishment was severe. “And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.” (Mt 25:30). For those called by God to serve Him, the worst judgment is to be called useless, and the worst sentence is to be cast out into the darkness.

A final word. We may have 5 talents or just 1 talent. What is important is to use what God has given us. If we do, if we prove faithful, then God gives us more. “For to everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich” (Mt 25:29a). So you grow from CLS facilitator to Chapter Servant. You grow in divine wisdom and godly values. You enlarge your territorial responsibility. That is how the Kingdom and work of God grow, and how we grow in service as well.

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