Our subject today is of the utmost importance, especially for those faithful servants of God who labor for the Lord in some of the most trying and difficult places in the world. Places, which do not necessarily mean a "foreign country or a 3rd world nation," but also those isolated and often unnoticed places here in America. For there are many unknown and seemingly overlooked preachers of the Gospel that labor in fields that are very obscure and unnoticed by many. For though all true preachers of the Gospel have their own battles and difficulties to face, regardless of where they serve, those servants of God who serve Christ faithfully in small, obscure and often isolated fields, face very different and trying difficulties. Often, the isolation alone is enough to overwhelm and put their faith to the greatest test. And should they find themselves facing personal hardships and trials in their own lives, as well as, in the work of the ministry, they often feel deserted and forsaken by their fellow servants of God.
There are some ministries of the Gospel which appear (though appearance can often be wrong), to be successful from the very beginning. Whose congregations seem to flourish and grow with little difficulty (though we acknowledge there are difficulties in every church). Well known and recognized men of the Gospel whose name is very familiar amongst the ranks of God's people. Then there are those, whose labor in the unknown and isolated places in America. Those who struggle with small congregations while working a full time secular job. Men, whose work in the Lord appear to go unnoticed and unrecognized by others, yet, whose labor in the Lord is just as precious and acknowledged by Christ as any large and highly acclaimed church.
There will surely be those who misunderstand, or misinterpret my intentions in writing this article. But I assure you, my desire is not to claim that larger, more successful churches do not suffer difficulties and hardships in their ministry. I simply which to be an encouragement to those servants of God who labor in such isolated and often overlooked fields, regardless if it is in America or another country. Those, who often feel the burden of isolation and solitude. For though such feelings of isolation and solitude will be felt even by the those who serve a large congregation (solitude being a vital part and divine appointment of the ministry of Christ), yet, I wish merely to encourage all servants of God who face such trials, especially those in isolated fields.
And, it is in the parable of the talents that we find great encouragement and comfort for those who might be suffering under that sense of isolation and loneliness.
I. First of all, like all truths about God, we must begin with God Himself. We must build upon the divine foundation that cannot be shaken by any wind or storm of life: That foundation being, "The Sovereignty of God in His dispersing and giving of His talents or goods, as He sees fit"
"and delivered unto them His goods. to every man according to his several ability." V.V 14,15
In this parable of the talents our Lord "delivered unto each servant His goods, according to His several ability. Each servant was delivered a portion of his Lord's goods, according to the power, authority and providence of Christ as He seen fit to give. The Master knew full well what each servant was able to carry. Not that the one given 5 talents was more faithful, or capable, but in accordance to the Master's will. The servant is not measured by the number of talents he received, but what each one DOES with the talent entrusted to him by His Master. People tend to measure one another by the NUMBER of talents each servant has, but not God. I have attended conferences by well known preachers whose words and mannerism (intentionally or purposely, I will not judge), seem to boast of their success or knowledge of the truths of God. Their demeanor was one of superiority and haughtiness, not one of a humble and contrite spirit. The emphasis being on their many talents and not on the One to whom those talents belonged.
It is God who determines who receives which talents and how many. It is His Sovereign right, divine privilege and unmerited mercy to give each of His servants the measure and quality of talents which are His. The blessing is not in the NUMBER of talents, but in the mere act of grace, kindness and mercy that God would even consider giving finite, frail and weak man any of His gracious talents. The Talents do not define the servant nor his vain belief of any abilities, but each talent represents the infinite grace and mercy of the Master who is pleased to entrust His talents to whomsoever He chooses. The true servant, regardless of how many talents God has given him, rejoices in EVERY talent God has chosen for him.
And so it is with every true servant of God. Regardless if we are called on to labor in a great field or in a field of obscurity and seclusion. The true servant, whether he has been given one or five talents, is content and faithful, for he is greatly humbled that God would even consider entrusting him with ONE of His gracious talents.
So dear brother, or sister, if you find yourself laboring for the Master in secluded and isolated fields, feeling often unnoticed, unrecognized and overlooked. Never forget, it is the Master's blessing and favor we seek, not that of the other servants or their more talents. That God would entrust any of us with His gracious talents should greatly humble us all. To Him, and Him alone, be all the glory forever and ever, AMEN.
"For if just a cup of water, He places within your hand, then just a cup of water is all that He demands, but if by death to living they can His glory see, take up your cross and follow close to Him." (wording was changed by me)