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How to Make the Most of Your Life
By Tom Brown

The world is divided into two classes: the "haves" and the "have nots." We may decry this reality, but we can't change it. We can only work with it, because this reality is the result of God's unchanging decree. God, through Jesus Christ, has declared that "whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him" (Matthew 25:29). 

Does this statement surprise you? It should, because it goes against everything we have thought about the fairness of God. Yet the truth is, this statement was made to express God's fairness.

Jesus made this statement in summarizing the main lesson of the parable of the talents (see Matthew 25:14-30). In this parable we find a wealthy entrepreneur giving some money to three individuals, who were supposed to invest his money while he went away on business. The first man was given five talents (a talent was worth about a thousand dollars), the second two talents and the third one talent. After a long time, the man came back from his trip and brought the three individuals into his office to find out what they did with his money.

The first man proudly exclaimed, "I have doubled your money; you now have ten talents!" The boss praised the man and gave him more responsibility and told him to keep the money for himself. The second was just as excited, "I, too, have doubled your money; you now have four talents!" The boss praised him also and gave him more responsibility and told him to keep the money he earned. But the last man in fear said, "I know that you are a hard man, so I was afraid to lose your money; therefore, I hid it in the ground. Here's your talent back."

The boss was furious and said, "Take the talent away from him and give it to the one with ten!" And with that, Jesus summarized the central message of this story: "For everyone who has will be given more. And to him who doesn't have, even what he has will be taken from him."

EQUAL BUT DIFFERENT

You understand that a talent speaks of many things that God has given you, such as money, talents, intellect, physical abilities, opportunities, employment, skills and gifts of many kinds.

Notice that all three men were given something. No one in this world is without gifts. Everyone has something to offer. No one is useless!

This parable also teaches us that, even though we are all created equal, not everyone has the same talents.

Let's face it: Some people are born with more money, have greater skills, are built bigger and stronger than others, have more opportunities, and are even smarter than others. This does not mean that God is unfair, because he balances out the talents with responsibility: "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked" (Luke 12:48).

So the person with greater talents is held more responsible than the person with fewer talents. Therefore, before you wish for more talents, realize that the more talents you have, the stricter God will be with you on Judgment Day.

I used to wish that I were much bigger and taller, because I wanted to be a professional football player. I played football for five years and was good, despite my small size. One of the teams nicknamed me "Mighty Mouse." I was mean. I would hit anyone as hard as I could. Because of my spunk, I was first string four out of the five years and often was team captain.

But as I grew—or should I say, as the guys grew—I could not keep up with their added size. So I quit football and entered drama. I discovered hidden talents in this area.

You see, I could have griped about being small, but done nothing about it. Instead, I accepted the fact that God made me small, and used my talents where I was better suited.

Many people are always complaining about their handicaps—their lack of money, skills, opportunities. You can't change the fact that you may not have the same talents as others, but you can make the most of what you have.

The thought occurred to me: Why didn't the Lord mentioned a fourth man who ventured out to increase his master's talents but went bankrupt?

We all know of people who took a risk, but failed.

But as I thought about this, I realized that there is no risk in using your talents. The risk happens when you try to use the talents that belong to others.

People fail, not because they tried to multiply their talents, but because they tried to steal other people's talents.

What would have happened if I had tried to enter professional football? I would have failed, because my talents were not in football. So before you use your talents, make sure that you are not stealing other people's talents and pretending that their talents are yours. You'll go bankrupt if you try to invest other people's talents!

You have to be totally honest with yourself and separate fact from fantasy. What talents has God really given you and what talents do you wish he had given you? You can only use what you have.

THE PEANUT

Now, don't minimize your talent. It is easy to see the little you seem to have and say to yourself, "What can I do with this little talent, or with this meager salary, or with this insignificant job, or with the scarce opportunities I have, or with my lack of skills!"

God will show you how to make the most of your talents.

George Washington Carver was a genius. As an African-American living in the South, he came across a discovery that would change his life and revolutionize the Southern agriculture industry.

One day he prayed: "Mr. Creator, show me the secrets of Your universe."

God replied, "Little man, you're not big enough to know the secrets of My universe. But I'll show you the secret of the peanut."

From the universe to the peanut. "Oh, well," Carver thought, "better the peanut than nothing."

"Take the peanut apart," God said. Carver did, and discovered several hundred components in the peanut.

God continued, "Now, start putting it back together again—this time in different forms."

As Carver did, he discovered that from the little peanut he could make plastic, paint, oil, and foods of many kinds. He became rich by maximizing the potential of a peanut.

THE ICE CREAM CONE

Many years ago, a man bought a little ice cream stand at a state fair. The hot weather boosted sales until the man ran out of bowls. He approached other ice cream vendors, asking for bowls, but none were willing to part with theirs for fear of running out, too.

Dejected, he walked back to his little stand to close up for the day until he could purchase more bowls. Walking back, he spotted a man doing poorly with his waffle stand. After all, who wanted to eat messy waffles on a hot day?

He had an idea! The ice cream man asked the vendor to sell him the entire waffle stand. The man agreed.

He joined together his newly-acquired waffle stand and his ice cream stand. He immediately began to make waffles, shaping them into cones. He increased his price and started selling the world's first ice cream cone.

What appeared to be a setback turned into a stepping stone!

Sometimes periods of crisis are simply opportunities in disguise. Don't miss those opportunities.

God expects us to make the most of our opportunities.

USE IT OR LOSE IT

What has God deposited inside of you?

The Word of God says, "You have a treasure inside of you. This treasure is the kingdom of God." The kingdom is rich with potential, faith, and great power. But God gives you only the raw material, and you have to turn it into usable material. This is your job!

You must take what you have and turn it into something good and profitable. This takes work!

The human body is a perfect illustration of this "Law of Use" that Jesus taught. We all have muscles, but some have big muscles—not because they were born with them, but because they exercised. Others look scrawny because they don't use their muscles much.

If you don't use it, you'll lose it.

GOD USES SMALL THINGS IN BIG WAYS

The real question is not "How much have you got?" but "Are you willing to use what you've got?" Even if it seems small? The fact is, God seems to take real delight in using small things in big ways.

Consider the poor widow woman who had only a jar of oil and a handful of flour. God used the little she had to feed her entire family for three years.

What about the little stick that was Moses' rod? God used it to split the Red Sea.

Gideon's little trumpet—when blown—defeated the Midianites who fought with Israel.

Samson slew a thousand Philistines with only the jawbone of a donkey!

David's bantam harp drove out demons from King Saul.

Elisha took the cloak Elijah gave him and struck the Jordan River. And the river dried up—all because Elisha used a little piece of cloth.

Seventy yea rs after Solomon's temple was destroyed by the Babylonians, the prophet Zechariah told the Jewish governor Zerubbabel, "What are we waiting for? Let's rebuild the temple!"

"How?" Zerubbabel wondered. "We don't have permission to do it!"

"What's in your hands?" the prophet asked.

"A little plumbline used for measuring the height of buildings," Zerubbabel answered.

"That's all you need to get started," the seer replied. "Who despises the day of small things? Men will rejoice when they see the plumbline in your hands!" And with a little measuring rod in the governor's hand, the temple was rebuilt.

Don't despise the small things you possess. They can be used by God to bring great results!

Shakespeare said, "To be or not to be, that is the question." I like to rephrase it this way: "To have or not to have, that is the real question."

You are either going to be part of the "haves" who get more, or the "have nots" who keep getting less. Use what you have, and you'll have more!

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