“YOU SHOULD SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF (Can God Trust You With The Little Things?)”#ChurchOfTheUndead
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Listen to ““YOU SHOULD SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF (Can God Trust You With The Little Things?)”#ChurchOfTheUndead” on Spreaker.
IN THIS EPISODE: Can God trust us with the little things? The trivial stuff? It is difficult to respond to this question. Since most of us do not even trust ourselves, how could God trust us?
MENTIONS, SOURCES, AND LINKS…
(Over time links can and may become invalid, disappear, or have different content.)
Original articles: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/yckmsh9c; https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/4z2exahx
Parable of the Shrewd Manager: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/2k2cvh2r
Parable of the Talents/Bags of Gold: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/yadht9du
Darren Marlar is a licensed minister through the Universal Life Church: https://www.themonastery.org. Find his other podcast, Weird Darkness, in your favorite podcast app at https://weirddarkness.com/listen. “Church Of The Undead” theme music by Epidemic Sound.
“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” — John 12:46
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In the Kingdom of God, trivial matters matter, and one insignificant decision can build or break trust. This week our message is based on the topic of trust, where it is placed, where it is misplaced, and what can occur when trust is broken. Because trust is one of the pillars of life that helps keep the world going, we all have stories about it. We believe that there will be sufficient oxygen, water, and food and that the sun will rise tomorrow. When we drive through town, we trust that people will follow traffic signals and signs. Even though we do not often consider it, trust is a currency that we are all familiar with. Keeping that in mind, when was the most recent time you considered putting your faith in God? It probably has not been that long ago, given the chaotic and fast-paced world we live in. However, the real issue of the day is as follows: “Can God trust us with the trivial things?”
Hello, Weirdos – I’m Pastor Darren – welcome to the Church of the Undead.
Here in the Church of the Undead I can share ideas which are relevant to those who suffer with depression, need some encouragement, and for those who love (or are just curious about) the God of the Bible. And it doesn’t matter if you are a Weirdo-in-Christ or just a Weirdo – everyone is welcome here at the Church of the Undead. And I use the word “undead” because here we are DEAD to sin and ALIVE in Christ! If you want to join this Weirdo congregation, just click that subscribe or follow button – and visit us online at WeirdDarkness.com/CHURCH.
Full disclosure – I might use the term “pastor” because I’ve branded this feature as a church – but I do not have a theology degree, nor did I ever go to Bible college. I’m just a guy who gave his life to Christ in 1989 and has tried to “walk the walk” every since – and has stumbled a lot along the way – because, like everybody else, I am an imperfect, heavily-flawed human being. So please don’t take what I say as gospel; dig into God’s word yourself for confirmation, inspiration, and revelation.
That being said, welcome to the Church of the Undead.
Can God trust us with the little things? The trivial stuff?
It is difficult to respond to this question. Since most of us do not even trust ourselves, how could God trust us?
However, God’s plan was and is still, for some reason, to use human beings like us to build the church, spread the gospel, and serve as ambassadors of reconciliation to a lost and broken world.
He has been making use of imperfect people for thousands of years, and as it was 2,000 years ago, He has some things to say about why trust is just as important today.
“The Parable of the Shrewd Manager” is frequently used to refer to this question of being trusted with the small stuff. The parable’s first and most important lesson is that even trivial things matter. Here is the “Parable of the Shrewd Manager”… Luke 16:1-15…
Jesus told his disciples: “There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. So he called him in and asked him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer.’
“The manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do now? My master is taking away my job. I’m not strong enough to dig, and I’m ashamed to beg—I know what I’ll do so that, when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.’
“So he called in each one of his master’s debtors. He asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’
“‘Nine hundred gallons of olive oil,’ he replied.
“The manager told him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it four hundred and fifty.’
“Then he asked the second, ‘And how much do you owe?’
“‘A thousand bushels of wheat,’ he replied.
“He told him, ‘Take your bill and make it eight hundred.’
“The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.
“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.
It appears that this manager is in trouble and needs to provide some clarification. However, what do you believe he did, and how did the wealthy man become so enraged with him?
There is a good chance that it was not just one thing, but rather, it was the sum of many small things. The wealthy man probably reached a breaking point after hearing too many negative stories about his manager.
How many can recognize this? Has anyone ever felt this way about your children if you are a parent? Has anyone ever had an experience like this as a manager or business owner? Has anyone ever caused trouble for you? Has anyone ever overstepped a parent or boss?
We rarely reach the “end of our rope” with a single thing. Rather, it is frequently a series of minor issues.
In addition to introducing the main point, these first verses also provide some background and characters for the parable; trivial things matter.
Positively and negatively, they add up. We occasionally find ourselves asking, “What shall I do now?” just like the clever manager did.
The manager makes a hasty decision to do some creative accounting with his bosses’ debtors after a quick review of his options for employment.
He uses his current network to ensure his own safety in the future. He goes by the presumption that if he makes enough deals and asks for enough favors, he will accumulate a backlog of favors that he can call on when things get tough.
It is interesting to note that his deceitful decision-making and cunning shrewdness were probably the same things that got him into trouble in the first place; however, he needs to tap into his skills and find a way out. Which he does, which is amazing, and even more amazing is that his wealthy boss praises him for it.
What a bizarre development. The dishonest manager steals his boss’s potential profits but is praised for it? Is it possible that Jesus mixed up his parables?
Is it possible that this parable does not resonate with Him in the same way as His other ones because He is worn out from traveling and teaching? Or maybe we are not getting the point, and we need to look at this one a little more closely.
Since Jesus frequently spoke about the Kingdom of God, it makes sense that this could be a parable. It could be a parable about using your worldly wealth for good in this life with an eye toward a hopeful future.
I doubt that any of us would want our children to look up to the shrewd but dishonest manager. However, the parable does show us how significant even seemingly trivial things can be in our lives. Small choices can have a big effect.
Doing someone a favor can pay off big eventually. We could lose our job for a few indiscretions. All of it seems to point to this, and Jesus is able to bring all of these “trivial” revelations together to provide us with the greater revelation.
With these few verses, Jesus brings it all together and gives us a fundamental life principle that we have probably all experienced at some point. We will not be trusted with a lot if we cannot handle a little.
The trivial things matter. Little choices add up. This is such an essential concept to acquire early on, and it applies not only to your faith life but to life in general.
Our relationships, occupation, way of thinking, monetary management, aspirations, and so forth, etc. This list could go on forever.
He told them another parable, which is written in Matthew 13:31-32: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”
Like a tiny seed, trust starts small. Additionally, like a mustard seed, we can expand its scope as it develops. As we take on more responsibility, others come to trust us.
All of this brings us back to the awkward inquiry at the outset, Can God trust us with the trivial things? Are we faithful even in the smallest aspects of life? Or are we complicit in sin? Are there things we are holding onto that we do not want to give to Jesus?
I think we can all admit that we still need to give God control of some aspects of our lives. We have been holding onto them, trying to control them, and hoping that they will “work themselves out.” However, as Jesus so eloquently states at the end of our passage, “You cannot serve both God and money” (v. 13).
To put it another way, we need to be ready to “go all-in” for Jesus in our lives. We need to be firm about removing sin from our lives, and we need to stop giving in to the small flaws in our character.
Song of Solomon 2:15 says, “Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.”
Once again, the trivial things matter. Tiny foxes destroy the vineyard. We cannot serve God and ourselves. We cannot serve God and money. Nor can we serve God and our careers with the same devotion.
He is urging us to live devoted, righteous, and faithful lives in everything from trivial things to the important things.
Another parable has a slightly different but similar meaning and outcome – and it’s a parable you may have already heard of, it’s The Parable of the Talents, or “The Parable of the Bags of Gold” from Matthew 25:14-30…
“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
“After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’
“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
“The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’
“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
“Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’
“His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.
“‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. For whoever has much will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
In this parable Jesus again used a story to encourage his followers to be faithful in all things – big and small… but it also acts as reminder to be ready for Jesus’ return as well. “Be on the alert,” he said, “for you do not know which day your Lord is coming” (Matthew 24:42).
In the parable, he describes a man who goes on a journey, entrusting his servants with his wealth and possessions in his absence. To one servant, the master gives five talents, to a second servant he gives two talents, and to a third servant he gives one talent. A talent, in this instance, refers to a unit of measurement, often used to weigh out silver or gold. It is different than the modern concept of a “talent” as a gift or natural ability, which is why this story is sometimes referred to as The Parable of the Bags of Gold – to alleviate confusion. Here, the master is entrusting his servants with a measure of his wealth, proportionate to each of their abilities.
The parable goes on to say that two of the servants, the one given five talents and the one handed two, were good stewards of their master’s money, investing it in such a way that when the master returned, they handed back double what he had originally given them. In this case, unlike the first parable, the servants were faithful with the larger things.
The third servant, however, was not so prudent. According to the story, “the one who received the one talent went away and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.” Not even faithful with the little amount he was given.
When the master eventually did return, the servants who were faithful were praised and entrusted with more of the master’s wealth. “Well done, good and faithful servant,” the master said to each of them. “You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your master” – and this also alludes to something we hope to hear from Jesus upon his return. We want him to look at us individually and say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
The servant who was fearful and negligent, however, was swiftly reprimanded by his master, who called him “wicked, lazy, and worthless.” His talent was taken and given to the one with ten talents, and he himself was thrown out of his master’s presence. That’s something the servant in the story wouldn’t want… and it’s certainly not what we would want upon Jesus’ return – to be thrown out of our master’s presence!
The master of this parable is clearly meant to represent Jesus. The servants are Christ-followers. Similar to the parable, Jesus has also given responsibility to his followers, and similar to the parable, he, the master, has promised to one day return.
Before Jesus ascended into heaven, he told his disciples, “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:3). But just because Jesus is physically absent from the earth, doesn’t mean his followers are given the freedom to sit back and do nothing. We must be faithful with everything we have been given – big and small!
Just like the master in the parable, Jesus has entrusted us, his servants with:
• Spreading the gospel (Matthew 28:16-20);
• Forgiving those who have wronged us (Matthew 6:14-15).
• Loving others (John 13:34-35)
• Caring for his church (John 21:17).
• Being an example to the world (Matthew 14:13-16)
• Feeding the hungry and thirsty (Matthew 25:25)
• Caring for the poor, the prisoner, and the sick (Matthew 25:36)
• Being hospitable to foreigners and outsiders (Matthew 25:35)
• …and more.
Jesus has made Christians participants in his ministry. They are also stewards of the things Christ values most. It’s like a parent handing his kid the keys to the car or a boss entrusting the management of his company to his valued employee. Can you be trusted with the responsibility, time, abilities, money, forgiveness, grace, and mercy you’ve been given – big or small?
Jesus has entrusted his followers with his greatest treasures, making us caretakers of his ministry and commissioned ambassadors of his mission. This is an incredible responsibility; one Christ-followers should take seriously.
A wise and faithful steward will be faithful with his master’s money and take care of what he’s been given because he knows the master will eventually return. They know that they are only borrowing the car or temporarily managing their master’s business. But more than just protecting their master’s wealth or possessions, a good steward will also find ways to grow and improve it.
For the Christian, this can apply to their time, their money, their body, and even their abilities. A believer who sees these things as a borrowed investment belonging to God and needing to be returned will be motivated to treat them with care and intention – big or small.
In the parable, the wise servants knew that their master would return and were motivated to grow his investment with the time and money they were given. Big or small, they made it count and were eager to hand back all they had earned.
Fearful of his master, the lazy servant did nothing with his master’s money and buried it in the ground. He saw his master as a cruel taskmaster, not a generous, gracious lord. He didn’t take joy in the promise of the master’s return but instead wasted his time, wasted his opportunities, and wasted his master’s money. He saw no growth and no return as a result.
Scripture promises that Jesus will one day return, and when he does, he will ask his servants to give a report of how they spent the time and opportunities he has given.
• Did they care for those they were instructed to protect?
• Did they provide for those in need?
• Did they share the good news of Christ’s salvation and forgiveness with others?
• Did they further the kingdom of God in their ministry?
• Were they faithful stewards of all God entrusted them with?
As Jesus said, “To the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me” (Matthew 25:40).
Those who are faithful with what they’re entrusted with, big and small, will be trusted with more, and Jesus said that they are the ones who will “enter into their master’s joy” and share in the glory of his presence (Matthew 25:21).
Those who are not may face the harsh reality of being called a wicked and lazy servant. Worst of all, they may not share in the joy of their master’s presence when he returns.
Both outcomes should motivate Christ-followers to become more intentional with their time and master’s “talents.”
One day the master will return, and when he does, he’ll want to know what we’ve done with this precious life we’ve been given. Were we good stewards of what belongs to him? Did we grow his investment?
Or did we bury our time, talent, and opportunities? It’s up to us to decide, but we better decide quickly. The master is planning his return and will be back at any moment.
Like I said before… He is urging us to live devoted, righteous, and faithful lives in everything from trivial things to the important things.
So, if this seems to be what you are dealing with today, I would like to extend an invitation to dedicate ourselves (I’m including me too in this) to the trivial things this coming week. Get rid of those tiny foxes from our homes. Be deliberate when making decisions.
And… if we must make amends somewhere, do so. When necessary, ask for forgiveness and offer it in return. We are all familiar with the value of trust, and God expects us to be trustworthy in the big and the small as we obey and submit to Him.
If you like what you heard, share this episode with others whom you think might also like it. Maybe the person you share it with will want to join this Weirdo congregation too! To join this Weirdo family yourself, find us on Facebook, listen to previous messages, even find out how to join me in my daily bible studies, visit WeirdDarkness.com/CHURCH. That’s WeirdDarkness.com/CHURCH. You can find the sources I used for this week’s message in the show notes. I’m Darren Marlar. Thanks for joining me, Weirdos. Until next time, Jesus loves you and so do I. God bless.