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Shavua Tov

Only six days until Shabbat!

  • Daniel Botkin

Three Parables: Warnings & Dangers Facing God’s People Between the 1st & the 2nd Coming of the LORD


In Psalm chapter two, we see the enemies of God taking counsel together against the LORD and against His mashiach, His anointed Messiah. “The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against His anointed [mashiach]” (Ps. 2:2).

In Matthew chapter 22, we see that the enemies of the Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) “took counsel how they might entangle Him in His talk” (Matt. 22:15).

In the final week before the Crucifixion, the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Herodians conspired together to oppose Yeshua. They presented difficult questions to try to make Him look like a fool. But His answers made them look like fools. “And no man was able to answer Him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask Him any more questions” (Matt. 22:46).

Thus ends Matthew chapter 22. In chapter 23 Yeshua pronounces His woes upon the scribes and Pharisees for their hypocrisy. Then at the end of the chapter, after all the woes, He laments over Jerusalem. “Your house is left unto you desolate,” He laments. “Ye shall not see Me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord” (Matt. 23:39). “Blessed is he that comes,” baruch ha-ba, is the Hebrew idiom for “Welcome.” In other words, the Temple is going to be destroyed, and you, Jerusalem, will not see Me again until you welcome Me.

Thus ends Matthew chapter 23. In chapter 24 Yeshua and the disciples leave the Temple and He tells them that not one stone of the Temple will be left upon another. The Temple will be totally destroyed.

The disciples respond to this by asking Him: “Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the world?” (Matt. 24:3).

Yeshua lists a number of different things that will happen before His Return: deception, wars, famines, pestilences, earthquakes, persecution, betrayal, false prophets, love waxing cold, the gospel being preached, the abomination of desolation, false messiahs.

Some people point out that these sorts of things have been happening at various times and in various places in the world throughout history. How then can such things be signs of the Lord’s Return?

Preterists believe these prophecies have already been fulfilled. Preterists point out that in the disciples’ question “when shall these things be,” the phrase “these things” refers specifically to the destruction of the Temple, which happened in AD 70. Preterists claim that all the signs Jesus mentioned in Matthew 24 were signs that preceded the destruction of the Temple, and that all these prophecies were fulfilled when the Temple was destroyed by the Roman army in AD 70.

I do not consider myself a preterist, but there is an element of truth in what they say. We know from history, specifically from Josephus, that the AD 70 destruction of the Temple was indeed preceded by such signs.

Does that mean the prophecies in Matthew 24 have already been fulfilled? Or will they be fulfilled in the future? I do not believe it is an either-or question. I believe it is a both-and answer. Yes, Matthew 24 -- some of it, anyway -- was fulfilled in AD 70. But that does not necessarily mean it will not be fulfilled again shortly before the end of the age. In fact, if you look at the disciples’ questions to Yeshua, they asked not only about the destruction of the Temple (“these things”) but also about “the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the world.”

Yeshua did not return in AD 70, nor did the world end then. Therefore some of these signs will be fulfilled in the future, some of them perhaps for a second time, and some for the first time.

Yeshua described His Coming this way: “as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matt. 24:27).

He spoke about the sun being darkened, the moon not giving her light, the stars falling from heaven, and the powers of the heavens being shaken. “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matt. 24:30).

To my knowledge, this has not yet happened. At Yeshua’s Ascension, the two men in white apparel told the disciples “this same Yeshua, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11).

That sounds like a literal, physical return to earth. So does 2 Thessalonians 1:7f, which says “the Lord Yeshua shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God and obey not the gospel of our Lord Yeshua Messiah.”

I know of some preterists who claim that Jesus returned in AD 70. Sorry, I can’t believe that. If Jesus is here somewhere on this planet, I’d like the preterists to tell me where He is. I lived in Jerusalem about six months when I was young, and I didn’t see Him there, nor did I see any evidence that He was ruling the nations with a rod of iron.

I am not sure how all the details of the various signs of His Return are going to be fulfilled, or even which ones may have been fulfilled in AD 70. I’m just waiting for Him to return.

“Watch therefore,” He said, “for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come” (Matt. 24:42).

So I watch and wait, as we all should do. And while we watch and wait, we should heed Yeshua’s warning at the end of Matthew 24 about the servant whose lord went on a journey. After some time, this servant said, “My lord delayeth his coming.” This servant did not expect his lord to come back, at least not anytime soon. He began to mistreat his fellow servants, and his lord came back at an unexpected hour, and cut him asunder and appointed him his portion with the hypocrites. And “there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth,” Yeshua said (Matt. 24:51).

We should also heed the three parables Yeshua then spoke in Matthew chapter 25, immediately after all His talk about His return in chapter 24. These three parables are The Ten Virgins, The Talents, and The Sheep and The Goats.


THE TEN VIRGINS

(Matthew 25:1-13)

Matthew chapter 25 starts with the word “Then....” This introductory word connects the text to the story of the unfaithful servant at the end of the previous chapter. “Then,” i.e., in the context of what the Lord’s servants should be doing between His First Coming and His Second Coming. “Then,” while waiting for our Lord’s Return, “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.”

Five of the virgins were wise and five were foolish. The wise took extra oil for their lamps, but the foolish did not.

“While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.”

At midnight the announcement was made: “Behold, the bridegroom cometh!” All ten virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. The lamps of the five foolish virgins had gone out, but the wise ones had extra oil to keep their lamps burning. The five foolish virgins left to buy oil. While they were away, the bridegroom arrived. The five wise virgins with oil in their lamps went in to the marriage, “and the door was shut.”

The five foolish virgins came back and said, “Lord, Lord, open to us.” But he said, “Verily I say unto you, I know you not.”

“Watch therefore,” Yeshua said, “for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.”

The danger described in this parable is not slumbering and sleeping, because “they all slumbered and slept.” The danger is the lack of oil.

Oil, when used in a symbolic sense in the Bible, usually speaks of the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Oil was used to anoint kings, prophets, and priests. The Hebrew verb anoint, mashach (where we get mashiach, “Messiah; anointed one”), means to pour on, smear on, or rub in a substance, usually oil. The Bible speaks about the Holy Spirit being poured out upon all flesh. (See Joel 2:28f and Acts 2:16f.) Therefore the warning in this parable is to make sure you have sufficent anointing of the Holy Spirit while waiting for the Return of our heavenly Bridegroom Yeshua.

All ten virgins started out with oil in their lamps, but the wise virgins also “took oil in their vessels.” This suggests that it is not enough to have just the anointing of the Spirit that you received when you first came to the Lord. You need a continual fresh anointing. The children of Israel in the wilderness could not live on yesterday’s manna; they had to get fresh manna daily all six days of the work week. If they saved manna to eat the following day, it bred worms and stank, except on the Sabbath, when God miraculously preserved the freshness of the extra manna collected on the sixth day.

In a similar way, God’s children today in this in-between wilderness time, waiting for the heavenly Bridegroom, cannot endure unto the end without extra oil. The initial anointing of the Holy Spirit that you experienced when you first came to the Lord is not enough to sustain you until the Lord’s Return. Just as the children of Israel needed fresh manna every day, so we need a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit every day. “I shall be anointed with fresh oil,” the psalmist said (Ps. 92:10). Not with the stale oil of yesterday’s manna, but with a fresh anointing.

As I have pointed out so many times, the Holy Spirit is more than just something to believe in, more than “the third Person of the Trinity” as theologians say, more than God’s impersonal “active force” as the Jehovah’s Witnesses say. The Holy Spirit is God moving in our lives, leading us, guiding us, teaching us, inspiring us, showing us things, comforting us, etc. The anointing of the Spirit is inseparable from the moving of the Spirit.

If you do not experience the moving of the Holy Spirit in your life, this is cause for concern, because the idea of movement is embedded in the words translated “Spirit.” The Hebrew and Greek words for “Spirit” are ruach and pneuma respectively. Both of these words also mean “wind.” Wind is the movement of air. Without the movement of air, there is no wind; without the movement of the Spirit, there is no anointing.

The very first thing the Bible says about the Holy Spirit is “the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters” (Gen. 1:2). The very first thing the Spirit of God did in your life was to move upon the dark waters that covered your spirit when you were still spiritually dead in the trespasses and sins that had made your life “without form, and void.” Then God “commanded the light to shine out of darkness” (2 Cor. 4:6). He opened your eyes to see Jesus, the light of the world. “And God saw the light, that it was good” (Gen. 1:4). God did not look at the darkness of your past sins; He looked at Christ in you, and saw that He was good. And just as God divided the light from the darkness and called the light “Day” and the darkness “Night,” so He divided you from the darkness of sin and called you a child of light and of the day. As Paul says, “Ye are all children of the light, and of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober” (1 Thes. 5:5f).

In the parable of the ten virgins, “they all slumbered and slept,” even the wise ones. So perhaps we all get spiritually sleepy at times. But generally speaking, we should do our best to stay spiritually awake and alert at all times. And even more importantly, we should make sure we have an adequate supply of the Holy Spirit’s anointing to keep our lights burning until the Lord comes. When the oil in the lamps was depleted, the lamps of the five foolish virgins went out. If you let the anointing and moving of the Holy Spirit depart from your life, your lamp will go out; your light will no longer shine to give hope to those in darkness.

Furthermore, without a fire burning in your heart, you yourself will be in darkness. A person in spiritual darkness becomes a candidate for deception, especially if that person once walked in the light and later wants some spiritual light again. If such a person is not truly repentant and humble, Satan may appear as an angel of light and offer some sort of counterfeit light, some enlightenment that is actually darkness disguised as light. “If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matt. 6:23).

The anointing of the Holy Spirit is the fuel for the fire from which the light of God shines forth. Nadab and Abihu’s “strange fire” in Leviticus 10 was fire from a source other than the fire of God that supernaturally fell on the altar. Strange fire today is fire from some source other than God, fire that depends on combustible materials other than the Holy Spirit for fuel -- combustible materials like anger, jealousy, envy, pride, rebellion, and stubbornness.

If you run out of oil like the five foolish virgins, Satan will be happy to help you kindle your own fire, using these other combustible materials for fuel. Satan will kindle your anger toward brothers and sisters who do not agree with your pet doctrines, and you will slander them. Satan will kindle your jealousy toward brothers who are obviously blessed by the Lord, and you will be of the same spirit as Joseph’s ten brothers. Satan will kindle your envy toward pastors of mega-churches, and you will denounce them as false prophets. Satan will kindle your pride, and you will think of yourself more highly than you should. Satan will kindle your rebellious nature and you will revolt against those in authority. Satan will kindle your stubbornness, and you will be of the same spirit as King Saul, to whom Samuel said, “stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry” (1 Sam. 15:23).

Anger, jealousy, envy, pride, rebellion, and stubbornness are very combustible materials. These things are the fuel Satan uses to get people’s emotions fired up. Fire kindled by these combustible materials creates a lot of excitement and sparks, and even gives off a “light” of sorts. But it is what one writer called a “loveless light.” Because the Holy Spirit is not the fuel, it is strange fire. It is fire kindled not by God but my man, with Satan’s help.

Isaiah warns about kindling our own fire and walking in the light of sparks that we ourselves have kindled. Isaiah says this will result in our lying down in sorrow -- much like the five foolish virgins no doubt did when they found themselves locked out of the marriage. Here is what Isaiah says:

“Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of Mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow” (Isa. 50:11).

If you do not maintain the flow of the Holy Spirit’s anointing in your life through consistent prayer, you will eventually run out of oil and your lamp will go out. If this happens, you might fall into deception and embrace darkness disguised as light. Therefore make sure you have an extra dose of the Holy Ghost to keep your zeal burning until the Bridegroom returns.


THE TALENTS

(Matthew 25:14-30)

In the Parable of the Talents, a man was going on a trip far away. Before he left he called his three servants and left them in charge of his goods. He gave five talents to one servant, two talents to another, and one talent to the third servant. While the master was away, the servant with five talents did some investing and trading and earned an additional five talents. The servant with two talents did the same, and earned an additional two talents. But the servant with one talent dug a hole in the earth and hid his lord’s money.

After the master returned, he called the three servants to see what they had done with the talents he had given them. The servant with five talents told his master he had earned five more talents. His master said, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.”

The servant with two talents told his master he had earned two more talents. The master commended him with the same words he had said to the first servant.

When the master called the servant with one talent to give an account, this servant said, “I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.” In other words, “I did nothing for you. Here’s your one talent back.”

The master told this servant that he should have at least invested the money with the bankers so it could have earned some interest while he was away. He called this servant “Thou wicked and slothful servant” and commanded the one talent to be given to the servant with ten talents. “And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

In English the word talent usually refers to a person’s special skill or ability. We speak of a talented actor, writer, artist, musician, entertainer, etc. However, in this parable the word talent is talking about material goods, specifically money. The word talent in this parable is the transliteration of the Greek word talanton, which means a unit of weight, or a coin, or a sum of money.

This parable is about what we do with that which the Lord has given us -- not only our material resources and money, but also our time, our skills, and our opportunities. This parable warns us about the danger of being a bad steward by failing to use those things the Lord has given us as we await His Return.

Our Lord gives some people five talents, some two talents, and some only one talent. Some people are given five million dollars, while others are given two million or one million. Most of us are given much less than that. Some people are given 100 years of life on earth, while others are given less time. Some people are given lots of skills and abilities, while others can do only one or two things well. Some people are given lots of opportunities to do things for the Lord, while others have fewer opportunities.

The important thing is not how much money and how many material goods you have, or how many years you have to live, or how many skills you have, or how many opportunities you have. The important thing is not even how many things you do for the Lord. The important thing is what you do with that which you have been given.

Notice in the parable that the servant who was given only two talents received the very same words of commendation as the servant who had been given five talents, because he doubled his talents just as the servant with five talents did. Both men were equally faithful to use that which had been given to them. A man who is given two million dollars (or even only $2), and only two decades to serve the Lord (or even just two days), only two skills, and only a few opportunities will, if he is faithful, receive the same reward as a faithful man who is given five million dollars, five decades to serve the Lord, five skills, and 500 opportunities to do something for the Lord.

Our rewards will be determined by how faithfully we used those things which the Lord gave to us.

If the unfaithful servant in the parable had invested his one talent and doubled his lord’s money like the other two servants did, he no doubt would have been commended with the words “Well done, good and faithful servant.” But he did not. He hid his talent and said, “I was afraid.”

Some people refuse to do anything for the Lord because they fear failure. “I’d like to do something for the Lord, but what if it flops and bears no fruit? What if I just make a fool of myself? What if I spend my time and money and energy on some project that ends up being just a waste of time and energy and money? I’d better not try. I’ll just do nothing, and not run the risk of failure.”

I believe it is better to attempt something for the Lord and fail than to attempt nothing. Of course any attempt to do something for the Lord should be preceded by serious prayer and consideration of the cost. But after prayer and consideration of the cost, if there are no red lights, that usually means the Lord is giving you a green light, even if there is a risk of failure.

I say this because the lord in the parable expected the servant with one talent to invest that talent in an effort to increase it. Investment always carries with it the risk of losing the investment. Yet the lord expected this servant to invest the one and only talent he had, and run the risk of losing it. I believe our Lord likewise expects the same from us. But some people refuse to make any effort to use what the Lord has given them because they fear failure.

Fear of failure is not always the reason people do nothing for the Lord. Sometimes the reason is just laziness. As a matter of fact, in the parable it appears that laziness, not fear, was the real reason the servant with one talent hid his talent in the earth. The servant said, “I was afraid.” But his lord said, “Thou wicked and slothful servant....” His lord did not say “Thou fearful servant.” He called him wicked and slothful. So the real reason for his bad stewardship was apparently sloth and wickedness, not fear. So it is with some of our Lord’s servants.

If you would like to do something for the Lord but cannot do it for lack of money, or lack of time, or lack of skills, or lack of opportunity, you need not feel guilty. If the Lord does not supply and equip you to do the job, either He is going to supply and equip you later, or supply and equip you to do something else. Rather than daydreaming about some great exploit you would like to do someday in the distant future, focus instead on using the resources you currently have.

Suppose the servant with two talents had wasted his time and opportunities to invest, and had just daydreamed and said, “Oh, if only I had five talents, like that servant over there! I could really do great things for my lord!”

That makes as much sense as saying, “Yeah, she’s a great singer. But if I had her voice, I could sing like that too!”

Big projects, to be successful, often require big money and lots of time. Some big projects can be done without a lot of time and money, but generally speaking, the bigger the project, the bigger the cost in time and money. Therefore most of the things you do as an individual steward waiting the Lord’s Return will probably not be starting and running big projects. If your church has lots of money and lots of people with lots of time, you might be involved in the work of a major project along with other people. But as an individual, most of the things you do as a steward will probably not be big projects.

And that is okay. We all have a limited amount of money and time and skills. The important thing is to be a faithful steward by using our money and time and skills wisely.

Benjamin Franklin, in Poor Richards Almanac, said: “Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that’s the stuff life is made of.”

What we do in time will affect eternity. “Make use of time if thou lov’st eternity,” said Francis Quarles in Enchiridion.

Not only our time, but also our money should be used wisely. As I was preparing to write this article, my mail carrier delivered the November 2019 issue of Illinois State, the magazine that is sent to graduates of Illinois State University. The cover story is about ISU graduate Wonsook Kim, a successful artist. She came to ISU in 1972. I graduated from ISU in 1971, so I did not know her. However, she had some of the same art teachers I had. Wonsook Kim struggled financially through her college years, but with hard work and encouragement from her teachers, she graduated, moved to New York, and became a very successful artist. This past September, Wonsook Kim donated $12 million to the ISU arts program.

Wonsook Kim grew up in a poor Christian family in Korea. Her husband was a war orphan living on the streets, until he was placed in an orphanage and later adopted by an American family. Some people are puzzled by the generosity of these two Koreans who “were once beggars on the street.” Wonsook Kim explains their view of money:

“I see money as a tool to get things done. It is only good when you can stay on top of it and can use it. I don’t want to become a slave to it or worry about money. It is better to not have money around, and instead to have it in use where it does good for others.”

Wonsook Kim’s view of money was no doubt influenced by her Christian upbringing. Money is indeed a tool to get things done. Rather than hoarding it, we should use it as a tool to prepare the way for the Return of the King, by investing it in evangelism, disciple-making, church planting, missions, and helping the needy -- which brings us to the third parable that warns us of another danger we face between the First Coming and Second Coming of the Lord.


THE SHEEP AND THE GOATS

(Matthew 25:31ff)

In this parable Yeshua tells about the Son of man coming in glory and sitting on His throne to judge the nations. “And before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from his goats.”

His sheep are set at His right hand, and the goats on the left. To the sheep the King says, “Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was an hungered, and ye gave Me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave Me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took Me in: I was naked, and ye clothed Me: I was sick, and ye visited Me: I was in prison, and ye came unto Me.”

The sheep reply, “When?” When did we do all those things, they ask.

The King answers, “Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.”

To the goats on His left hand, the King says, “Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was an hungered, and ye gave Me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave Me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took Me not in: naked, and ye clothed Me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited Me not.”

The goats ask, “When?” When did we not do all those things, they ask.

The King answers, “Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to Me.”

Yeshua ends the parable by saying, “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.”

The danger here is neglecting the needs of the truly needy. Yeshua considers neglect of the truly needy as neglect of Him, and ministering to the needs of the truly needy as ministering to Him.

You will notice that I say “the truly needy.” I say that because there are a lot of lazy freeloaders and moochers who try to take advantage of the generosity of Christians. They make little or no effort to get a job. They prefer to survive by asking for free handouts with no strings attached.

A brother I know was having lunch with one of the directors of Peoria’s local rescue mission. As they were leaving the restaurant, they saw a homeless man. The director from the mission approached the man and told him he could get a meal and a place to sleep and other help at the mission, just a short distance away.

“No, I’ve been there before,” the homeless man said. “I don’t want to go there. They have rules.”

This sort of attitude is the reason I rarely hand out money to beggars on the street anymore. Instead, I donate money to our local Christian rescue missions, which are equipped to take care of street people and house needy women and help people get back on their feet. Occasionally I might give money to an individual if I feel prompted by the Spirit. But usually I tell beggars that I donate money to the local rescue missions, and I direct them there for help.

I deal with requests for money from strangers in other countries the same way. From time to time, I receive letters from people in places like Africa or India asking me to send them large sums of money. Some of these people claim to be ministers of the gospel, but I have no way to confirm that. It’s very possible they are frauds. Rather than sending large sums of money to someone who might or might not be a fraud, I send money to legitimate organizations that have a good reputation, organizations that have workers in these foreign countries to verify the needs and distribute donations where they are truly needed.

Notice in the parable that the needy people whom the righteous helped were not just any common beggars. They were people whom the King called “My brethren.” In Luke 8:21 Yeshua clarifies who His “brethren” are: “My mother and My brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it.”

This does not mean that we should not help needy unbelievers, nor that there will be no reward for helping unbelievers. However, the righteous in this parable are rewarded not for helping unbelievers, but for helping those whom Yeshua calls “My brethren,” which He identifies in Luke 8:21 as people “which hear the word of God, and do it.” The needy people in this parable are people who have heard and are doing the word of God. They are not lazy moochers.

I’ve known too many moochers and freeloaders who are needy simply because they are too lazy to work. The Apostle Paul commanded the Thessalonians, “if any would not work, neither should he eat” (2 Thes. 3:10).

Lazy moochers are needy because they are lazy and irresponsible. But there are other people who are needy through no fault of their own. These are the needy people we should help. These would include orphans, widows, the elderly, the disabled, the sick, the imprisoned, and people who have fallen on hard times through no fault of their own -- people who are out of work but are making an honest attempt to find work, and are willing to take even a minimum wage job until something better comes along. These are the people who should receive our gifts of food, drink, housing, clothing, and visits.

About twenty years ago, when I was pastoring our local congregation, a few people in the congregation complained that our congregation was not doing enough outreach. At the time, I personally was very active in reaching out as an individual to various groups of people in different ways. But people doing outreach as individuals did not satisfy the complainers. They thought we should have some sort of organized congregational outreach, something we could do together as a group.

“That’s a good idea,” I said. “Who wants to volunteer to organize and oversee it?” I explained that we had money in the congregational account that could be used to pay for things like tracts, flyers, advertising, rental of a facility, travel expenses, and any other expenses within reason.

“So who has an idea for an outreach project, and who wants to volunteer to organize and oversee it? Put together a proposal and let me see it.”

Of course you can guess what happened. None of the complainers put together a proposal and no one volunteered to organize an outreach project. A few years later, in 2004, I opened our first GOE Outreach Center, without any help from the complainers. Now our Outreach Center is at a different location, in a building we own, thanks to the generosity of GOE readers.

“Our congregation isn’t doing enough to help the needy! We should have a food pantry or a soup kitchen!” the complainers say.

“Great idea,” the pastor says. “How about I appoint you to be in charge of organizing and running a food pantry and soup kitchen?”

Doing outreach projects together as a congregation to help the needy is a good thing. But many congregations have a tight budget and only a few people, and those people may not have much free time. So congregational outreach projects are not an option for some congregations. However, as individuals we can all do things to help the truly needy. Whether you do these things by yourself as an individual, or as part of a group, the important thing is to help the truly needy. When you do it to the least of those His brethren, you do it unto Him.


SUMMARY

The Lord came and He is coming again. He gave these three parables to warn us of the dangers we face during this in-between time as we await His Return.

Don’t be like the five foolish virgins who ran out of oil. Maintain the flow of the Spirit’s anointing in your life through continual prayer.

Don’t be like the slothful servant who hid his talent in the ground. Use all the talents God gives you.

Don’t neglect the truly needy. Help provide for the truly needy, especially the least of Yeshua’s brethren.

If you do these things, you will be blessed by the King when He returns.


| DB


Image: Time and Eternity by Daniel Botkin from his Miscellaneous Gallery. See this and all Daniel’s art pieces on his art website: DanielBotkin.com.

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