11620 Ride Way
Jacksonville Florida, 32223
At twenty-one years old, I believe I know what I want in life. I want to love God and love others to the best of my ability. I believe that my outlet of doing this will be fulfilled by preaching God's Word boldly, and spreading the message of the Risen Savior. I am a senior at Florida Christian College, and my degree will be in preaching. I am a people person. I love to be around people, and you can almost always find me laughing or doing something goofy. I am originally from Jacksonville Florida, and my parents have raised me in the Christian Church. All in all, I am a young man, who is trying to become the man God has called me to be.
Cashier, Zaxby's Chicken, Jacksonville, Florida 2007-2009
In high school I worked as a cashier at a Zaxby's restaurant. This job has taught me many life lessons. A few of these lessons were, the meaning of hard work, and the importance of excellence in every aspect of a company.
CIY Bible College Representative, Florida Christian College, Kissimmee, Florida Summer 2010 and 2011
I have been a Bible college representative for Florida Christian College for two summers during my college experience. Not only has that been a great job, but working fourteen weeks of CIY Move in two years has been uplifting to say the least. My first summer representing our school, I really came out of my shell. I became comfortable with myself, and who I was, and that not only helped recruiting for our school, but has also helped me in every aspect of life. In my second summer traveling, the main thing I learned is that people really are important, just like Jesus stressed in His ministry. My second summer really helped me realize that people need Jesus, and it is my job to point them to Him. Telecounselor, Florida Christian College, Kissimmee, Florida 2010-Present My sophomore year of college, I interviewed for a position in the Admissions Office of Florida Christian College. This job has not only helped get me through my college expenses, but has put me in positions where I can be a kingdom worker. Although my job is to advertise the school over the phone, I am also using this job as a way to encourage those I am calling.
Preaching Intern, Fort Caroline Christian Church, Jacksonville, Florida Summer 2012
During my internship, I really felt God working on my heart to get uncomfortable. This summer spent in Jacksonville, was a wake up call that people need to hear the Gospel, and it's the Christian's job to tell the world. I spent my majority of time with the preacher and youth minister, watching how they prepare sermons, lessons, and visit with the people of their congregation. I spoke several times to the youth group and congregation, and felt as if my preaching definitely grew in depth. I loved spending time with the youth group, and was able to be a part of several students decisions to get baptized. The main thing that I took away from this internship is that God wants us to spend time with lost, the sick, and the hurting, and I got a very good taste of that in my internship learning from two great ministers of the Gospel.
E D U C AT I O N
First Coast Christian School 2005-2009, Jacksonville, Florida
Florida Christian College-Preaching, 2009-Present, Kissimmee, Florida
My skills set is very diverse, and quite unique. I am definitely a people person. I love talking with others, making sure their needs are met, praying with them, and just letting people know I genuinely care for them. I have played basketball for Florida Christian College for the past two years, and being an athlete has opened up a whole new world to relationships and has also allowed me minister to those on my team. I have played the drums for 11 years. I played for my home church, Swiss Cove Christian Church throughout my middle and high school years. I also have been a regular drummer at Journey Christian Church in Apopka, Florida for my sophomore and junior years in college. I have gained experience with sound and lighting equipment from helping out with CIY and setting up our chapel stage at Florida Christian College. I have been the MC for many events at my home church, and events at Florida Christian College. Preaching is a skill that I have been developing since high school. Preaching is something that I am passionate about, and really love doing. Each time I speak, I feel more comfortable, and the skill of preaching will be something that I will continue to develop for the rest of my life.
My summer in 2012 was spent serving at Fort Caroline Christian Church in Jacksonville, Florida, as the preaching intern. I was viewed as a full time employee, and spent my internship learning under the senior minister Jim Bird, and the youth minister Clayton Wheeler.
1. Become a better communicator-This goal was completed due to my frequent opportunities to speak. I spoke to the youth group several times, I led a Sunday school class, and even spoke one Sunday morning. I recognized the importance of communicating God's Word to a congregation, and loved speaking to the youth group.
2. Learn about "pastoring" a congregation-This goal was lived out by me watching Jim take care of the people in his congregation. Whether it was a planned or spur of the moment counseling session, hospital visit, or work project on a member's home, I learned that an effective minister is involved in many aspects of people's lives. I also learned that preaching is only about 10 percent of what a minister does. I thoroughly enjoyed this aspect of my internship, because I am a big people person. My favorite times of my internship were the hospital visits that I spent time praying with the sick members of the congregation.
3. Be more transparent-This goal was more of a personal goal for me. It seems that in the past, I have become a people pleaser, and sometimes overbooked my schedule, and just could not seem to say no. However, after making a decision that I am going to tell people no, and be honest about my work load, I feel as if this summer was a lot of work, but it was successful in that I did not over work myself, or over commit to different activities.
4. Study the Bible more effectively-This goal was attained by me spending time with the church staff, and watching how they study the Bible. i was particularly interested in how the senior minister prepares for messages, and after spending time with him, I feel as if I can better dissect passages, and that has not only improved my preaching, but enhanced my personal devotion times as well.
Experience Gained Through Internship
In my internship, there were three major parts that I grew in.
1. Teaching and preaching-After speaking several Wednesday nights to the youth, and leading a Sunday school class, and speaking on a Sunday morning, I feel as if my preaching, and teaching have both improved. With teaching and preaching, I learned to communicate more effectively especially to a wide variety of audiences.
2. Working with youth-During my internship, I spent a lot of time with the youth group at FCCC and I loved it. It was during this time, that I knew that God is calling me to be some form of youth minister. The thing that I learned the most while working with the youth group, is that relationships with the students are key to leading youth in a deeper relationship with Jesus.
3. Caring about people-It was during this summer that I recognized how much a minister really does. I spent days writing lessons, going to strategic lunches or hangout times, and doing visitations with church members. I really enjoyed being there for the people of the congregation, and learned that sometimes the best thing while ministering is to just be present while people are going through hard times.
Sermon: How to Live a Holy Life
Please turn with me to 1 Peter 1:13.
13 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy."[a]
Wow, Be holy because I am Holy...What does it mean to be Holy? How do we become Holy? In the Bible, the word Holy or in the Greek language hagios literally meant to be set apart. That is what is meant to be holy. Have you ever thought to yourself...man, I wish I could live my faith out like that person? Or goodness, I really wish I could represent Jesus like that person does? Or maybe you have even gone as far to say that you wish you could be as holy as that person is? I believe that at some point or another if we are a believer we have all had this desire to represent Christ so well that someone would describe us as holy. I know I certainly have felt that way. In my senior year of high school, a lot of changes were taking place within my life. I was trying to figure out my college plans, my family was going through some changes with my dad's job relocation, and on top of that, I struggled with my identity. I specifically remember in late January, 2009 walking into my youth minister's office...it was a cold afternoon, I walked into his office, and sat down...his office smelled like coffee, and Justin offered me some, I refused...and then he asked me...what's up? I just flat out told him...Justin, I want to be like you. I want to have a relationship with God like you do. I want to be holy like you are. And then I asked, how do you do it? And Justin simply said, Alex...if you seek after God, you will find Him. And after seeking God, seeking God for years now, I have three steps that are Scripturally based in 1 Peter 13, that will show us how to obtain this holy life. The first step is that, living a holy life demands vigilance.
Lets read 1Peter 1:13 which says: 13 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. Here Peter is saying, be alert, be vigilant, be on your guard! Peter again says the same message in a couple chapters later, in chapter 5. Turn with me to 1 Peter 5:8. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Peter is obviously passionate about being alert, and being vigilant and is warning us Christians, to watch out because our enemy is on the lookout for us to stumble into sin. As Christians we need to always be aware of the situations we are in. Let's go back in time. The year, 1970...and you, well you are a soldier, for the United States army, and you are walking through a brush filled field in Vietnam. With the Vietnamese Jungle surrounding you, you and your battalion push on: missing the occasional stray bullet from the enemy. In the distance you hear explosions, and the sense of fear begins to set in. You are now running on adrenaline. You scan the ground, and see leaves and sticks, until the man in front of you, falls into a pit full of sharp wooden spears. You think to yourself, why was he not paying attention?! Come back to 2011 with me. This illustration is extremely applicable when we are speaking of our spiritual lives. We must be aware of our surroundings spiritually. We must notice the people we are with, the language we use, and ultimately be aware that we represent God. You must be vigilant if you want a holy life.
Step number two is Living a holy life demands obedience. Still looking 1 Peter 1, verse 14 says: As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. Right here, Peter at the beginning says we must be obedient children! Children of who you ask, we should be obedient children of God. Now, living a life of obedience to God is not something people said would be easy. Constantly when we are pursuing a life of obedience, Satan is waiting for the perfect moment to send temptation, so that our life of obedience to God turns into an obedience to sin. James 4:7 says, "Submit yourselves to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from you." When we submit, or live a life of obedience towards God, and resist the devil, he will flee from us! The word "obey" means to comply with a command. So when Peter tells us to be obedient children, he is saying comply to the command that God has given to us. That command is to go out and preach Christ to others. Not by just preaching Christ verbally, but through actions as well. When you are living an obedient life to God, people will take notice. We are given a great example of what obedience looks like in the Bible. Turn with me to Luke 22:42. Here we see that Jesus was obedient to the Father. It says this, 42 "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." Here Jesus was praying on the Mount of Olives, and He is praying for deliverance from what he is about to face, and yet Jesus decides to obey the Father, and die on the cross for our sins. If Jesus can obey the command to die for the world's sin, than why can't you obey Him with your day to day actions?
The third and final step is this, living a holy life demands conformity to Christ. Again in verse 14 of 1 Peter 1, Peter tells Christians, not to conform to the ways of this world, but to be different. As a Christian, there have been a couple different times in my life, where I have been labeled different. In middle school I was in the bathroom, washing my hands, when two boys walked in. They started asking me for a dollar or two, and I had a couple bucks on me, so I gave them each a dollar. They left, and I thought nothing of it. As I was walking back to class, they followed me, and stopped me before I entered. They asked me why I was so different. They asked me why I didn't smoke on the bus, or why I never cursed, and I simply responded by saying, because I'm a Christian. The looks I received from these two boys were priceless. They looked at me, then each other, and said...huh?! I never saw the two boys after our bathroom incident. And as an eighth grader I realized something. People notice when Christians act like Christians. When we do not conform to the ways of this world, whether it be our language, our greed, our addictions to drugs, alcohol, pornography, or anything else that is not from God...when we do not conform to these things, but rather conform to the image of Christ, people take notice. In order for you to conform to Christ, you must be in the word daily, you must be actively working on your relationship with Him through prayer, and you must surround yourself with believers of the same mindset. John says it best when speaking about conformity to God. In John 3:30, John says, He must become greater, I must become less.
Living a holy life is not an uncommon theme in the Bible. We consistently see the writers of Scripture, both Old and New Testament, calling believers to live a holy life. They call us, to live a holy life not because of the praise that we will receive from man, but ultimately because it's what God desires. In Leviticus 20:7, God says this: "Consecrate yourselves and be holy, for I am the LORD your God." This verse basically sums up my whole sermon. Declare yourselves as sacred, and set yourselves apart, because I am set apart. God has called us to live a holy life. The life he has called us to live is constantly warring with the life our flesh wants to live. We must always remember that in order to overcome these temptations to put our wants first, we must be vigilant, we must obey God, and we must conform to Christ. The message is simple, be holy, the only question now is, will you take God's command, and live it?
Sermon on Responsibility
Good morning everybody. You guys will not believe what's been happening to me today. Ever since I pulled into the parking lot, people have been giving me strange looks and saying things like...oh Jim you look a lot taller...and Jim your hair...that's a new color...or my personal favorite was Jim...have you been pumping some iron? oh man, well good morning everyone, my name is Alex Wierda for those of you who don't know me, and I am the church intern for the summer here at Fort Caroline, and when I was told that I would be preaching, I could not express how excited, and nervous, I was all at the same time. Before I begin my message however, I want to take a couple of moments and just say thank you. Thank you to the members and staff and youth group of Fort Caroline Church...you all have really made me feel at home, and I want you to know that you have given so much joy. It has been an honor to serve here at Fort Caroline, and although there were lots of things I had to learn about how a church works, and learn about what exactly a youth minister and senior minister actually do, I believe that God could not have chosen two greater mentors than Jim Bird and Clayton Wheeler for me.. In highschool, I used to vision my ministers at church showing up every day and hanging out, drinking coffee, and maybe reading some Bible verses. That perception got shattered the very first day I stepped into this office. Having some great mentors here, like Jim Bird, and Clayton Wheeler, and Blake Kotur, and Sara Friend, has really taught me that ministry is not just a job...but it is a full time job...and if you are a Christian...you are called to minister to those around you...not just part of the time, but all of the time. Another thing that I learned while serving here at Fort Caroline, is that people are important. When I asked Jim why we count people here, he said Alex...we count people because People count. People are important....it's something so simple, yet so groundbreaking because when you begin to treat people like they matter, and they are valuable, they in turn will begin to listen to you...and hopefully that will open up opportunities to share the gospel. I could stand up here for hours and rattle off different things that I have learned or been taught about by Jim like the importance of using Erma Baumbach and Peter Drucker in sermons...or how Clayton has influenced me to believe that with a little bit of coffee...a man can get a lot of work accomplished...but I thought this morning that I would share a little bit of what I have been learning somewhat behind the scenes of the church work.
Responsibility. Responsibility is a word that makes some of us cringe when we hear it. It's a word that while growing up I hated, and my parents kept giving me more of it. My parents are here this morning, and so I am sure they are going to love to hear their 21 year old son give a sermon on responsibility...I just want you all to know...this might actually backfire on me when I go home...I can hear my dad now...Alex...your car is dirty...time to take some responsibility and wash it...or even worse...Alex the dog is dirty...time to wash max...those are the times which I wish I had headphones in. The word responsibility according Miriam Webster's dictionary is defined as having a moral, legal, or mental accountability for something. In fact, Steven R. Covey noted that "accountability breeds responsibility". Something that I have been convicted by this summer, is that as a Christian...God has called me to be responsible...and Quite frankly...in years past...I have not been as responsible with the blessings God has given me as I should be. I say that because the past couple of years I have not spent as much time with my family as I should have. Looking at some of my friends now, I realize I could have poured out more into their lives, and made more of an impact on them...A couple weeks ago, I was looking at some things that I own...whether it's my drums, car, surfboard whatever, and I recognized that I have not been treating those things with upmost care. I think the scariest realization that I had this summer, was a conversation I had with Clayton. It opened my eyes to see that my interaction with people who do not know Jesus, has been very minimal, emotionless, and unimpressive. It's safe to say this summer has been a wake-up call for me. It has been a time that I have been able to sit back, and recognize that God has given me so much...and yet sometimes I fail to take care of it. Have you ever felt that way? Do you ever find yourself neglecting the important things in your life? Do you see your responsibilities as something that are important, or just something that you can fulfill on a "whenever I feel like it basis?" Keep in mind...some of us have more responsibilities than others in this room. Some of us make more money than others...some of us have larger families...some of us are married, some have children, some have homes, and some have cars, some have jobs and some are just brothers and sisters. Regardless what your title position, or stature, God has given us things that we are responsible for...and the question is what are we doing with the objects, opportunities, and people God has entrusted with.
In Matthew 25 Jesus is teaching on the mount of olives, and he starts telling his listeners about the end of days, and he is speaking in parables and then we arrive at verse 14...and Jesus tells us the parable of the talents...and though this is a parable is that is mostly used to illustrate evangelism, but this morning I want to look at this parable from a different angle...and so if you would please turn with me to Matthew 25:14:
14 "Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. 15 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. 16 The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. 17 So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. 18 But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money.19 "After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 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.'21 "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! 22 "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. 23 "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!' 24 "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. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you. 26 "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? 27 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. 28 "'So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. 29 For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.(P) 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'
Wow...kind of a depressing end to a story...What would this story sound like in today's world?
There's a story told of a wealthy rich man...and this rich man had three sons. This rich man was very busy and was leaving for a year-long business trip. The oldest son was the strongest, smartest, and wisest of the three, and so the rich man decides to leave the bank account in his name. The middle son was still around 16 or 17 years old...he was an honest young man, but not as sharp as his older brother. His father left the automobiles in charge of his middle son. And then there was the youngest son...the youngest son was a crazy, obnoxious child, who had no respect for any authority what so ever. While on the way out, his father told him...look after my bedroom. I know you guys like to jump on my bed, and I know you enjoy watching football on the flat screen in there...just promise me that you will take care of my bedroom...there are some valuable things in my safe in there...and I am counting you. The son agrees, and dad is gone. The dad goes off for a year, and then...he comes back. The oldest son is so glad to see his father, greets him with a big hug, and says Dad, "I have taken care of the money, and I have not only taken care of it, but made some great investments, and have doubled your bank account!" The father was pleased, and so the father trusted his son with more responsibilities...the same thing happened with the middle child...he ran up to his father, and told his dad, "dad, I have washed, waxed, and tuned up all of the cars. They all have new tires, and are like brand new!" The father was pleased with his middle child, and gave him two more responsibilities. Then there was the youngest son...and while his task was to take care of the bedroom, the youngest son decided to lock the bedroom door, and not let anyone inside for a whole year. The dad approaches the youngest son expecting things to be like new in the room, and then the son tells him..."Dad, no one has entered since you left." And they open the door, and the sheets were messy, and there were clothes on the floor and it looked just like the father left it. The dad looks at his son, and says, son...you did not take care of something this small...how can I ever trust you with something bigger?
Responsibility...when it comes to responsibility...the parable of the talents...well to quote the late, great Clayton Wheeler...is one of Jesus' greatest hits! This morning, as we learn about responsibility, let's take an in depth look at this parable, and really try to understand the message Jesus is trying to convey. The first thing we must do when dealing with Jesus' parables, is we must identify the characters. The first character is the man going on the journey.-This man tells his servants that he is going on a trip, and needs them to look after some very important items for him. He then comes back, and checks on what the servants have done with their responsibility. Then you have the servants. Servant number one...this was the servant who was responsible for the most gold bags...and not only did he take care of the bags, but he doubled the amount he was entrusted to. This man obviously had many talents, and was gifted in multiple areas, as the Bible notes, "Each according to their ability." Servant number two, was given two gold bags...and when the master came back, he had doubled his number of bags as well. Now this man was not as talented as the first servant, but he did make his gold bags double just like the first. And then there is the third servant...and this is the servant that was given only one gold bag...and did nothing with it. He did not look after it, he did not take care of it...he just buried it in the ground...and left it there. It was no longer his responsibility, or his duty, but something that he would pick up at a later time. Throughout the majority of my life...I have been the last servant. I was always the kid who would leave my clothes on the bathroom floor, and make my mother yell at me to come pick them up later...I always believed that spark notes was the best way to read a book...and I was always the teenager growing up, who would spend all my allowance money on pizza, diet coke, or Zaxby's and always ended up begging my mom to help me buy her own birthday present...I did not take care of my responsibilities, and learned that there are many frustrations that go along with entrusting someone like the third servant with responsibility. Let's take another look at what this servant did...he hid the gold...and then gives the excuse of...well I know you wanted me to make you a profit...but I didn't want to risk losing your bag...so I just buried it. And here it is...and the owner is furious! He asks why he did not put the money in a bank, and maybe allow it to accrue interest, and then the parable ends up with the master taking away his bag, and giving it to the one who had acquired ten bags, and throwing the lazy servant out into the darkness. The third servant was an irresponsible person...and that eventually led to his demise. So we've got the story, and we know the characters...so now the question of what can we learn from this parable comes into play? Well, after studying and researching, I have landed on three key points of application that come straight from our text today that I would like to share with you.
If you are taking notes, in your bulletin, point number one, is that responsibility is diverse.
1. Responsibility is diverse. Take a look back at Matthew 25:15. 15 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. Did you guys catch that?...Each according to his ability. Responsibility is diverse...Do you know others in your life who are gifted in complete different areas than yourself? I have two sisters, who have been given excellent voices...I on the other hand have been gifted in other areas...like reaching things off the top shelf. Or have you ever known someone who seems to be able to much more than you could ever imagine? Or For instance...maybe you have been in a class room with one of them...we all have met them...you know who I am talking about... those students who know they have a test coming up...and choose not to study...but when test time comes...they get a better score than you do...that person just seems to have a better capability to understand and retain information than you do...or maybe you are like one of my best friends...Hunter Holbrook. Hunter and I met during basketball tryouts...and he is a little shorter than me...about 6'3...he's thin...but strong. He and I ended up making the team that year together...but he decided that he would rather pursue doing something in music at the school...and decided that he wouldn't play basketball. Day after day, practice after practice, workout after workout, I felt like I was getting better, stronger, faster, and that was until I played in an open gym...and Hunter was there. Hunter was out jumping people, outshooting people, and even pushing people around in the post. After we were done...he walked out of the gym by saying...well, that was fun...I am going to put my basketball shoes up for another 8 months. He had not played in eight months? What about those people who seem to lead almost everything? This person is a manager at work, has 3 kids, sings at church, coaches a little league team, is the head of the PTO, and feeds the homeless weekly...we all know people like this but how do they do it? They answer lies within verse 15...each person has an ability to be responsible for a certain number of things. Because one is in charge of many things, does not mean they are more important, or more spiritual, simply, God has just gifted them in diverse ways, and chooses to uses each person in different ways. It's my prayer that as you recognize your responsibility capacity, that you would treat these responsibilities with upmost care and respect. Responsibility is diverse.
2. Point number two, is that responsibility takes discipline. If you will notice in verse 16 that the Bible says that one who received 5 gold bags, went at ONCE and put his money to work. The word EUTHEWS is used here in the Greek text and it means that he went to work immediately. He did not waver, he did not ask questions, he went to work and that was that. I think that the word immediately better resonates with us today, because it truly shows how disciplined the first servant really was. This man was someone who understood the seriousness of his responsibilities, and took action at once. In 2009 the popular hip hop artist TI was taken into custody for having illegal firearms, and was sentenced to a year in prison. He released a letter to his family, friends, and fans, apologizing for his actions. The letter seemed genuine including him making vows to take more responsibility in his actions ,and he also promised to help influence other young men make good choices. He closed this letter by saying that he was going to start viewing responsibility as a lifestyle, and he would start being responsible for all of his decisions. Responsibility as a lifestyle. Based off of the music he has put out, there aren't many things that TI and I can agree on...but I wholeheartedly believe that he got it right when he said responsibility should be viewed as a lifestyle. It's common sense to believe that a person who is not responsible with little things, will not be able to handle a large task. But it makes sense that someone who takes care of the small tasks well, would be responsible with a larger one. Another point is that this servant that went at once, must have made being responsibility a habit. Taking care of things, to him, was something that happened everyday...the skill of being responsible was practiced day after day, task after task, and it became second nature for him to be responsible for the things he was entrusted with. Responsibility was a discipline...and responsibility was not something that he decided to do try that day. It was practiced, it was well versed, it was a habit...a discipline. Hebrews chapter 12 speaks of discipline and in verse 11 we read how discipline pays off, it says, "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." When we view responsibility as a discipline, not only does it become a habit...but as we see in the parable and in Hebrews, that there is a harvest that we can expect as well.
3. The last point I have for us this morning, is that responsibility pays dividends. Let's look at the first two servants. One was given five bags, and the other was given 2 bags. The two servants went out and doubled their amount of bags! They put their money to work, and doubled it! They were responsible with what they were given, and because of that, they doubled their profit! But that's not where the profits end, going back to Matthew 25, and picking up in verse 21, "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!" Now both the first and second servant get to hear this response from their master. It's not only something that is nice to hear, because well everyone wants to please their boss, but also their is a promise attached as well. The master says that if you have been faithful with a few things, then you will be in charge of many things. Jesus says something similar in Luke chapter 16...in verse 10 Jesus says "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." Jesus understood that if people understand they are gifted in certain areas, and have a responsibility capacity...and if people can learn that responsibility is a discipline, then they will begin to take care of the small things in their life. And we all know, that when there is attention to detail in the smallest things in life, the large projects, the large tasks, the large responsibilities seem to get taken care of perfectly. Jesus understood that, and the truth is...if you want to have more responsibilities, you need to start taking care of the things in your life right now. He wants to bless you...but how can God bless you with more, if you are not caring for what He has already given you? What happens when you are not responsible with the small things? Then God will not give you the larger things. In fact in the parable of the talents, the one servant who was not responsible, well the Bible says that he was thrown outside into the darkness, and was out in a place where there was weeping and gnashing of teeth.
In this room, there are many families represented, many states represented, and many countries represented. Each of us are different. We all have different stories, we all come from different backgrounds, and we all have different responsibilities, yet we can learn to take care of those responsibilities better if we take those three lessons from the parable of the talents, and apply them to our daily life. Responsibility is diverse, responsibility takes discipline, and responsibility pays dividends. Going back to what I was saying about all of us being different, and all of us having different responsibilities, I want to correct myself...yes, we are all different...but we all have one responsibility in common...the responsibility to determine where we will spend eternity. The fact is friends God has given us a choice to choose whether we want to accept his son Jesus as our savior, and spend eternity in Heaven...or we can reject Jesus, reject God's truth, and spend eternity in hell.. Remember...Your destiny...is your responsibility...Responsibility...it's a lifestyle. If you have a decision to make this morning, whether it's becoming a church member, rededicating your life, or becoming a Christian through baptism, come forward as we sing.