To one he gave five
talents, to another two, to another one; to each according to his
ability (Matthew 25:15)
This verse contained in the long
prophetic sermon seems to summarize all the teaching of it; We must not
ignore in fact that the prophetic sermon is not only the announcement,
the anticipation of future events, of the things of the last times, but
it is also and perhaps above all a panoramic lesson of Christian life!
It is logical that this is so because if the sermon speaks to us of the
return of Christ, of the Bridegroom, of the Lord, of the Master, of the
Judge, it must also speak to us of the suitable way to receive and meet
Him. The lesson teaches us vigilance, fidelity, fervor, Service, love.
It is expressed with simple but decisive accents and repeats to us:
He returns, he can return at
night, as for the two who were together in a bed; he can return at dawn
as for the two women who were grinding together with the same one he can
return during the day as for the two men who worked side by side in the
fields, at the same time, he returns for one at night for the other
during the day, for all suddenly and those Christian will be taken and
the others left.
He comes back . you want to find
sober, balanced and attentive servants in his service; servants who do
not reput late 'the passing of years or centuries but who know how to
give food and guidance to their fellow men.
He comes back . it can come when
the shadows of the night have fallen and become thick, when, when
everything is an invitation to rest and sleep, when the cry of the
announcement: `` Here is the Bridegroom coming '' - it can resound like
a word that tears apart He comes and you want to find a small jar full
of oil, because those virgins who will be able to make the light of
their lamp shine and spread around the light warmth of them will be
welcomed in the quiet and bright rooms of joy eternal.
He returns and returns to call
around him the servants to whom he has entrusted his wealth; he wants a
relationship that speaks of their service, their dedication, their
activity and He is ready to reward, ready to punish, ready to praise and
ready to blame according to each one's work.
He returns to welcome men and
separate them; He is still and always the Shepherd, or rather the Good
Shepherd, but this time he divides the lambs from the kids: he returns
to put the kids on the left and the lambs on the right because the
former are the expression of hatred and indifference and the according
to the personification of love and sensitivity.
He returns He returns He returns
He returns He returns
Here before us are the five
aspects of a lesson that profoundly teaches us the importance of a
fruitful and exuberant life. The summary of the lesson is contained in
our text which states how God works towards us and how we must work
HOW DOES GOD WORK TOWARDS US?
Paul writes in his last epistle I
have finished the course ; it certainly also refers to the course of his
life, but he wants above all to speak of the `` course '' that God has
set before him, to fulfill the plan of his will and his service. Each of
us, our text seems to tell us, has a course which is a series of
opportunities granted by God to experience our Christian personality.
After being called by God, no one
is left idle because the divine plan provides for a `` course '' for
everyone, everyone must take personal responsibility in the presence of
the Lord and work, while they are in the body, in order to be paid in
the end . As believers as ministers as churches, as movements we have
received a program from God and in this are contained the works prepared
for us and the opportunities for our life. Let us remember: the
opportunities of the servants that are presented to us by the text of
our meditation are also our opportunities. But God not only prepares a
course, some opportunities, but also offers a capital; we cannot prepare
the works ourselves and much less we can operate them with our natural
resources: every sufficiency comes to us from God.He remembers that our
nature is weak that our poverty is profound.He sees that without him we
can do nothing indeed that we are not even capable of thinking anything
- our strengths, our armies without the Spirit of the Lord they could go
very far. Therefore, the one who offers opportunities also offers
capital, His capital. Grace, power, wisdom, authority and many other
names similar to these speak to us of God's capital; that is, of the
treasure that He entrusts to those who have been called to bear fruit in
the glory of His Name.We have testified and testify that our life has
been made capable of working the works of God only from the moment that
we have received God's capital :this testimony is a recognition of human
weakness and poverty and an exaltation of the divine power, that is, of
the capital of God.
The prophetic sermon also
specifies to us that capital is entrusted and divided in proportion to
the capacities of those called to service; no one is forgotten, everyone
receives, but each receives according to his ability. Perhaps this means
that the responsibilities of a minister differ from the responsibilities
of a simple believer, just as the responsibilities of a church are
different from the responsibility of a mission, but above all it means
that vocations and gifts from God they require a qualification on the
part of man.
When I speak of qualification I do
not want and cannot refer to those natural or human capacities that
distinguish men from one another. If Jesus himself said: I praise you,
Father, that you have hidden these things from the wise and wise and
revealed them to little children, it is clear that earthly
qualifications have no value before God. God has loved and chosen a weak,
poor, uncultivated people because they wanted to put the excellence of
His grace in earthen vessels that would make their glory stand out even
more, but this most excellent grace, this divine power has been
distributed according to the measure of the gift of Christ on the basis
of individual capacities.
Before God, faith capacity,
consecration capacity, sincere humility capacity, submission capacity:
these things can also be found in individuals who do not have natural
and human capacities, but God will earth account of the spiritual
capacities and not of the natural ones.
It is encouraging to know that
even if we do not possess social positions and human wisdom we can still
have great abilities before the Lord for the service of the Lord. We do
not want to forget in fact that not all the fathers of the faith were
men of great culture or great wealth and even if we think of the
pioneers of Pentecost we remember many of them recruited by God from the
poorest and humblest classes of society.
HOW SHOULD WE WORK TOWARDS GOD?
How will we fulfill the task
received from God?
Working briskly and boldly for the
glory of God.
We have not been elected to
jealously and selfishly guard what we have received by holding it
tightly in our hand, in our heart or, perhaps in our churches. The
Christian is not a `` safety deposit box '', but a banking agent in the
service of the Eternal. Sterility is condemned by every page of the
Gospel because the seed of the Kingdom has been sown by the great Sower
so that it is fertilized and produces fruit.
The situation of those believers,
of those churches or of those movements that cannot present before God
anything other than what they have received from Him is very sad! They
have been enlightened, they present their knowledge; they have been
freed from the world, they present their passive separation; they have
been visited by His presence, they present their personal emotion.
They have nothing else to present
and believe they are giving enough to God by showing the experiences
they have had in Him. The fig tree cursed by Jesus, the barren tree of
the vineyard, the very vineyard described by Isaiah, remind us in a
highly dramatic way that God cannot be satisfied with `` seeing a plant
in His vineyard '' and with `` gazing at a tree full of foliage '' or
with counting `` branches that look as good as the others, but do not
bear fruit ''.
He has given a course,
opportunities, capital, now he wants the fruit and he wants it abundant
and permanent. A fruit is what we owe to God, but it is. attention - God
wants the fruit and also the capital. The worry of bearing the fruit
must not stop the concern of conserving capital so that if we presented
ourselves in the presence of the Eternal with the fruit, but without
capital we would be in the same condition as if we presented ourselves
with the capital yes, but without the fruit. .
The Lord approved and blessed
those servants who presented themselves before Him with double what they
had received because in what they had in their hands there was the fruit
and the capital. Let's imagine that the last servant, the unfaithful
one, had presented himself to say: Lord, I have a talent, it is what I
earned by trading with your capital, but unfortunately the capital is no
longer there, I have lost it. What would the Lord's response be? Surely
what we find in the message to the church of Ephesus contained in
Revelation 2: 4
I know your works, your fatigue,
your constancy; I know you have constancy, you have endured many things
for my name's sake and you are not tired. But I have this against you:
that you have abandoned your first love
You do not seem to hear the Spirit
of God saying: `` I have given you love and through that capital you
have produced many works and I see your works but no longer the love
that aroused and produced them '' ?
And when there are fruits without
the capital; when there are works without love, the work of the believer
is not worth much before God.
WHEN DOES THE FRUIT GET WITHOUT
Let's look a little at us, at us
Pentecostal Movement, to make the lesson a direct application that can
teach us profoundly the message expressed by this passage: We have
fruits or we only have what we have received, that is only the celestial
capital; or perhaps we no longer have the capital received from God and
are speaking only of the fruits?
The fruits are there, it is
possible to review the wonderful progress and colossal achievements of
our churches, of our Movement.
Pentecost has taken steps forward,
gigantic steps that impose the esteem and admiration of Christianity; in
short, Pentecost appears today in the splendor of the results of his
work; of its traffic. The fruits are here and they are evident but have
we guarded and kept the capital?
Let us also contemplate and
admire the many and beautiful Bible Schools that have sprung up in
America, in Europe, in Asia, in Africa; we also contemplate and admire
the myriad of missions that have begun in the world: these are the
fruits born of the `` Passion of Christ '', that is, from that divine
fire that the fathers of the faith felt coming down again many years
ago, when the awakening has come.
The Passion of Christ was given to
us from heaven as divine capital and from that priceless treasure the
missions were born, the schools were born; that consuming ardor kindled
in the soul by the love of Christ aroused a warm, enthusiastic
evangelistic service: the need to conquer the world; to bring the lost
to salvation, sinners at the foot of the cross pushed Christian workers
to every place and missions were born in the most hidden places, in the
most inhospitable countries among the most hostile populations.
That same passion has brought into
being the Bible Schools, that is, those Christian gymnasiums necessary
to satisfy the desire for spiritual or ministerial formation of the
young groups; the need for more and more workers, for more and more
trained workers was felt by the `` passion of Christ ''.
Today there are missions and
schools and we can review the immense and stupendous work accomplished
that is the fruit of Christ's passion, but I ask almost with agony: ``
The fruit is here before us and above all before God, but the capital
where? Is there still that burning passion that produced these
stupendous results? Is the passion of Christ still in our hearts, in our
life in our churches, in our Movement?
I seem to see that today the
passion is lost and few are those who still know how to agonize for the
lost; that burning fire that made every Pentecostal a missionary seems
to be covered by the ashes of indifference and even if you want to
proselytize, you no longer see or rarely see yearning to tear a sinner
out of hell.
It is not enough to work to
increase the number of churches, it is necessary to suffer for the real
salvation of the lost. There is a difference between conquering and
adding people to the church even without having had an experience of
regeneration and pulling souls from the abyss. In fact, how many
missions today represent only a center of Christian culture and how many
Bible Schools have been transformed into professional training
Because the fruits are there, they
are evident, but the celestial capital is perhaps no longer there.
Warning! The presence of the
fruits, of the results, the evidence of the work done could veil our
eyes to the point of not letting us see that the capital is lost.
attention because He who calls us to examine us wants the fruits but
also the capital. Let's briefly consider another talent that has been
entrusted by God to His people in this generation: love!
From the love of Christ fraternal
communion was born, but above all, in Christian practice, from the love
of Christ social and welfare works were born. When the Pentecostal
Movement was constituted into an ecclesiastical organism it was poor,
inorganized, devoid of any resources, but under the thrust of love great
and wonderful works were accomplished in a few years and it is
beautiful, in this Conference, to talk about the orphanages of the
houses. of rest, of the schools of culture; that is, it is nice to
inventory all those activities that have been able to heal wounds and
sufferings or that have met the most imperious and urgent needs of the
Today these social and welfare
works stand before us as the fruit of the love that God, for the Holy
Spirit, has poured into the hearts of his people, but does capital still
exist? Is there still that divine love from which these works were born,
did they come into existence? Isn't there a danger that these fruits too
will become the fruits of an artificial plant, of artificial roots?
Where is the ardent love human
characteristic of Christianity and the main manifestation of the
Pentecostal awakening? Are we still a single family as in the beginning?
Do we still know how to love each other up to the deepest respect and
the most epic sacrifice?
Do you remember when we entered
the Pentecost awakening: we received the same sensation that one
receives physically when one enters a hospitable place, after having
struggled with the storm and the cold outside; the sweet warmth of love
enveloped us with its miraculous breath and awakened in us the life
extinguished by the cold of sin and the world.
We immediately saw that we were in
the midst of the disciples of the Master; we saw it from the intense
love they brought to each other: that true affection, that sincere
concern, that authentic familiarity, that readiness in helping, in
comfort, in consolation; that communion in joy, in suffering made us
clearly recognize that we had met a people who had received the
patrimony of God's love.
Brothers, from that patrimony,
from that love, welfare and social works were born and today I come out
here in front of me the works, the fruits, but is the patrimony still
there? It seems to me that our relations have cooled considerably; our
communion has become somewhat superficial and formal and as far as
familiarity is concerned, I find that it does not extend beyond the
circle of personal friendships and this too is more inspired by social
conveniences than by the charity of Christ.
Can today's converts find among us
the patrimony we have found? Can they feel the same beneficial warmth
that enveloped and enlivened our souls when we entered Pentecost?
Brothers God wants the fruit, but
also the capital! I think now of another wonderful talent entrusted by
God to the Pentecostal Movement: power! My words cannot illustrate the
glory and grandeur of this celestial capital, but you who have received
it, who have touched it, who have also trafficked it, know well of its
Spiritual power has been the
richness of the Pentecostal Movement from the earliest days and if men
without means, without positions, sometimes without culture were able to
turn the world upside down again, it was precisely because power came
down from Above once again. .
Power of speech, power of ministry,
power of works - do not you too remember that power that overwhelmed the
reasoning of the opponents of Pentecost, that power that resurrected the
gifts of the Spirit in the church, that power that even made doctors and
medicines superfluous for the people of God?
An impetuous river has come down
from the Throne of God and rivers of living water have gushed from the
bosom of a believing people and these celestial waves have widened and
manifested the glory of heaven. Just as in the days of Pentecost crowds
were attracted and conquered by this power and from those crowds
communities were born, local churches and just as in the days of
Pentecost offices, tasks and organization came from this power: you
remember the first ordinances of Jerusalem, the first elections among
the saints of Jerusalem, the first deacons, the first meeting As then,
so in these days, the communities came from Potenza, the organization
and the flourishing and numerous communities were born Accurate and
effective organization are presented before us as the fruit of power The
fruit is here, before us, beautiful,suggestive. but have we kept the
Can we present to God the income
of the talents and together with that also the talents that he has
entrusted to us?
There is certainly no shortage of
eloquent preachers in these days, and skilled ministers are not in short
supply; it also seems that there are numerous healers yet many are
forced to declare Brothers we have lost power!
Oratory art or psychological
methods, the technical training of the ministry, have nothing in common
with the power of the Holy Spirit and we we did not receive art and
technicality from God, but divine power.
In the days of the Pentecost
Fathers, a healer was not expected to experience the virtue of sound
because in every group, in every family they knew how to exercise faith
and realize the power necessary to be healed. Attention, I do not want
to pronounce a negative judgment on the gifts of healing, but I only
want to show the absence of a patrimony entrusted by God to the church.
Don't you remember when in a simple, very simple Christian life,
everything was glory, everything was miracle, everything was power? The
fruits of power are beautiful and we remain in admiration in front of
the thousands and thousands of communities that have arisen, have been
strengthened, grown and even enriched. But if these communities, with
all their wealth and organization, are about to become a denomination
like many others,resting on a foundation that no longer exists with the
glory of a past that has now irremediably faded, then I say: This fruit
cannot compensate for the biblical loss of capital.
The fruit is beautiful and
tempting, but the power where? Where is that fire, that rushing wind,
that divine authority that was yesterday in Pentecost? God want to see
the capital, His capital!
Brothers, perhaps you will find
that this message sounds like a lamentation, but who knows that
Jeremiah's ministry is no more necessary and more appropriate than any
other ministry at this time?
No! We cannot feel at ease if in
our life the fruit of the talents received from God is absent: a sterile
life is not approved by heaven, but we cannot even feel at ease if we
present ourselves with arms full of fruit and we no longer have what we
need. Was entrusted from the beginning. When the Eternal calls us to
appear before His examination, we must respond with the joy of the
faithful servant who knows that he has done his utmost in a life and in
a fruitful work, but also respond with the gravity of the steward who
has been able to jealously preserve the deposit received from heaven.
Brothers, while at this hour God
calls us to examine our position, let us not be excessively enthused by
the joy of fraternal communion or by the satisfaction of the work and
the results that we can relate, but let us see if we are the custodians
of the divine talents that the Eternal granted to the Pentecostal
Pentecost is approaching: let us
seek an awakening for the awakening so that God's capital may be renewed
in us and then let us commit ourselves to making it bear fruit again,
also keeping it with fearful diligence in our lives. Amen
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