Bible Studies & Devotionals
From Olive Branch Ministries
By Mark and Tinsley Baker
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The Least is the Greatest
Lk:22:24. And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest.
Mk:9:34. But they held their peace: for by the way they had disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest.
The disciples were always arguing over who should be called the greatest among them, but God sees things from a different perspective. Not necessarily the way we see ourselves.
My question is what does God call great?
I would like to start off by examining the parable of the talents.
Matthew 25:14-30. For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord's money. After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them. So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them. His lord said to him, Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.He also who had received two talents came and said, Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them. His lord said to him, Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord. Then he who had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours. But his lord answered and said to him, You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. Therefore you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
We have each talents and abilities given by God. Yet it is up to us to do something with those talents and abilities. You will notice in this parable that the lord did not tell the servants what to do with the talents that he gave them, but he gave them according to their own ability. They were equipped to deal with what they had been given. He did not give them more than what the were equipped to handle, so it is the same with our Heavenly Father. Heís not asking us to do more than we have been given the grace or calling to handle. You will also notice that the servants were held accountable with what they had been given. This is a lesson to us. God has given us each abilities, so that we can be a blessing to others. The more we do with what we have, the more responsibility we will be given. The servants who did something productive with what they had been given were given more, and the servant who did nothing with what he had been given, had what he had been given taken away. Jesus called the productive servants good and faithful. He called the unprofitable servant, you wicked and lazy servant. That hardly sounds like a compliment. The unprofitable, wicked and lazy servant was cast into the outer darkness. I am not trying to create fear, or bring condemnation on anybody, but I want to encourage people to find their God given purpose here on this earth and begin to be profitable with what they have been given. We have been called to do good works before the foundation of the world, God equipped us and preordained for us to walk in these works and to bear fruit.
Ephesians 2:10. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Open your hand and look in it. What do you have. What has God given you. I can assure you, it is within your ability do so something with what you have been given. I want to encourage you to find your calling and step into it, if you have not already done so. If you do know your abilities and calling, then I would like to encourage you to begin to do something with them. What ever your gifts are, begin to use them to bless others. You might say Iím not a preacher or a teacher. You donít have to be a preacher or a teacher if thatís not what God called you to be. Maybe Heís called you in the area of helps to help others who do have teaching or preaching ministries. The pastor canít do it all alone, and He or she is not suppose to do it alone. There are many areas within the body of Christ where people can be a blessing and a help. It takes all of us working together to fulfill the calling of God as a body, but it starts with us individually using the talents God has given to us. Those who donít use their gifts truly affect the whole body, not just themselves. We have to start looking at the whole picture and see what God is trying to accomplish through us collectively, but it starts with us individually. It is up to us to find out how to best be effective with what we have each been given.
Ephesians 4:16. by whom the whole Body is fitted and joined together, every joint adding its own strength, for each individual part to work according to its function. So the body grows until it has built itself up in love.
Thatís the way it works, your individual gifts and talents are important. You as an individual have to function properly if the whole body is to be strong. I canít tell you what your calling is but I can encourage you to seek it for yourself. If you aren't fulfilling your role then somebody else is going to have to fill in, in your place. If that somebody else doesnít do it, then it wonít get done. We have a responsibility to the rest of the body of Christ to use our talents and gifts for the edification of the whole body.
We also must realize that there are eternal consequences involved. It not only effects us but our actions can have lasting effects toward others as well. If we donít walk in the good works that God has called us to walk in then, we wonít have the rewards that God wants to give us. Thatís a pretty serious thing to think about isnít it.
Jesus said in Matthew 6:19-21. "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
There is a treasure waiting for the obedient. However, we shouldnít have the attitude that we are trying to earn something, or that we are trying to get something from God, but we should keep a good attitude and pure motives. There is much said in the New Testament about our rewards, and the consequences both good and bad for our actions.
Luke 6:35. "But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Highest. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.
Luke 12:42-48. And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes.
Truly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all that he has. But if that servant says in his heart, My master is delaying his coming, and begins to beat the menservants and maidservants, and to eat and drink and be drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware; and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. And that servant who knew his master's will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he who did not know, yet committed things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.
We have God's Word to tell us God's will, and we have the Holy Spirit to lead us and guide us into all truth. It sounds to me like we have been given a mandate to prepare ourselves to do the masters will. It is always in our best interest when we obey the Lord. There are consequences for our disobedience, as also there are rewards for our obedience. This is not to say that our salvation is earned, but that rewards are given for our faithfulness. Blessings are always a result of obedience. God wants to bless us so that we can in turn bless others. You will find the more you begin to reach out and bless others the more you will be blessed. There is a spiritual law of sowing and reaping here, that we begin to walk in when we are giving of ourselves. This is not just money, but what ever talent or ability God has placed in your hand. This is truly the heart of the Father, for us to sow life into others. God gave the greatest gift, His only begotten son. If it wasnít for the mercy and grace of God we would all be lost. Just about everybody knows John 3:16. For God so loved the world that He gaveÖ This is what love does, it gives. God expects no less from us. This is the greatest example there is! Let us be diligent in the things God has called us to do and reap the rewards for it, not only later but in this life as well.
1 Timothy 4:8 For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.
1 Corinthians 3:8. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.
Itís never too late to fulfill what God placed into your heart. The gifts and calling of God are without repentance. Stand up and begin to walk into God's purpose for your life.
The greatest is the one who takes what God has given him and uses it to build up others.
The greatest will be the servant of all. Jesus is our example, He washed his disciples feet. Being a servant is an attitude we all should have. This is truly what God has called us all to be; the greatest.
Mark 10:28-31. Then Peter began to say to Him, "See, we have left all and followed You.''
So Jesus answered and said, "Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel's, "who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions and in the age to come, eternal life. "But many who are first will be last, and the last first.''
If you want to know for sure that you are a child of God, then I would like to invite you to earnestly pray this prayer.
Dear Heavenly Father, I come to you in the name of Jesus. Your word says, "Öand the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out." (Jn.6:37), So I know You wonít cast me out, but You take me in, And I thank you for it. You said in your Word, "whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.'' (Ro. 10:13).
I am calling on Your name, So I know You have saved me now, You also said, "Öthat if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation." (Ro.10:9,10).
I believe in my heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. I believe He was raised from the dead for my justification. And I confess Him now as my Lord, Because Your Word says, "Ö with the heart one believes to righteousnessÖ" and I do believe with my heart, I have now become the righteousness of God in Christ. (2 Cor. 5:21),
And I am saved! Thank You, Lord!
I can now truthfully say, I see myself as a born again child of God!
Glory to God!!!! Amen.