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Christian Counseling - Is God More Pleased With People Who Have More Ability?

Billy Graham, the "great American evangelist," is a scandal-free man of God whose great works are well known--involved in tens of thousands of people coming to the Lord, started the Hour of Decision radio program, co-founded Christianity Today magazine, and prayed with every U. S. president from Dwight Eisenhower to George W. Bush (http://www.answers.com/). Jokingly, I have heard people, as well as myself, ask with a hint of jealousy, "I wonder what rewards await him in heaven?"

What isn't a joke is that some feel they can't measure up to the likes of a Billy Graham. Further, they question or believe that God is more pleased with his children who produce greater works. In the minds of some, the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30 give evidence to God's greater pleasure with those who do greater works.

To refresh your memory, the parable is about a wealthy man who gives five, two and one talents (each talent is 1200 ounces--silver is likely) to three slaves and charges them with managing the money, according to their ability. The first two men double the amount given to them, while the one with one talent hid it in the ground out of fear of his master being a hard man. He earned nothing for him. The owner rewards the first two by saying since they were faithful with a few things, he will put them '"in charge of many things"' and invites them to '"enter into the joy of your master."' But the '"wicked, lazy slave"' forfeited his only talent, and it was given to the one who earned five talents. Does it appear God is more pleased with the faithful slave that gained five talents then the one with two?

Of course, an owner, or God, has every right to give what he or she wants to whomever he or she wishes. The issue under review is whether or not people who have and use their greater natural ability and/or greater results producing gifts of the Spirit (pastor, teacher, evangelist, etc.) have an advantage over those who don't possess them? And will God favor and honor those who produce more during their lifetime?

Part of the answer is found in the parable. God gives the same blessing and reward to the first two slaves despite the fact that one earned five talents and the other two (:20-23). There is no distinction made by God in their reward or His attitude toward them. So, why give the one talent of the lazy slave to the one who earned five talents instead of two?

Perhaps if God had two talents to take back He would have split them between the two faithful slaves. In any case, the one who earned two talents is not less honorable, trustworthy or rewarded than the one with five talents. It is not about one being better than the other in God's eyes for both doubled their holdings and both were faithful, the latter being what this parable is about. They both showed their sufficient faith or trustworthiness through their works, irrespective of the differences between the total amounts gained.

What pleases God is that each of us uses what we have and what we are given for Him, according to our ability (:15). Nothing more can be asked of us. This faithfulness finds favor with God, regardless of whether we are involved with winning ten people to the Lord or 10,000.

To further reveal the heart of God concerning this issue, consider what He says about Christians with less honorable and results producing gifts in I Corinthians 12:23, 24, "and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable...But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked." God is not partial. Our works will not be compared to others like Billy Graham, but against our use of what we have and are given, according to our individual ability. He is not more pleased with those having greater ability, but is equally pleased with those who are faithful.

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