The theme of today’s message is “The Purpose of the Christian Life.”
Actually, I turned 43 years old this year. Some may say that I am still young, but I myself feel that I am already 43 years old and get old. Mentally, I don’t feel that I have aged much, but I realize that my physical body is deteriorating. According to the Japanese government’s report, the average life of Japanese people in 2020 is 81.64 years for men and 87.74 years for women, these numbers are the highest ever. Based on these figures, I have completed half of my life. When I think about this, I often wonder what the purpose of my life is.
Let me tell you the conclusion first. The purpose of our Christian life is to know God and to display His glory. Please see Ephesians 1:11-14. I don’t read out the scripture in English, so please read it by yourself. We are heirs of the Kingdom. If we know and understand this God’s master plan, we must praise the glory of God. Our lives, sealed by the Holy Spirit, are to be used to show God’s glory, but from our side, we need to do one thing. That is to cooperate with the Holy Spirit and make it the purpose of our lives.
There is a trap that we often fall into. We pray to the Holy Spirit for guidance, but we can become passive and think that God tells us what to do and we just receive. I was the same way when I was young. When we are in trapped in this, we become very passive. But God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but a spirit of courage and strength. That is why Jesus said in Matthew 18:18 “Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Jesus did not say, “When I command you to bind this, you do it on earth, and it shall be bound in heaven. If I command you to loose this, do it on earth, and it shall be loosed in heaven.” No, Jesus said that you must do it with your own will because he has given you the power and authority to do it. Your own will is very important.
By the way, you may not know what we should do to know God and display his glory. As Christians, we all want to follow God. But what exactly does God want us and what should we do? I think the famous parable of the talents is a good illustration of this. It is Matthew 25:14-30. Please read it by yourself.
There are many ways to interpret this parable. But I understand it how Christians should live on this earth. Each of us has different talents. Some are given more, some are given less. So is God unfair? Not at all. 25:15 says, “To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability.” He gives talents to each according to their ability. So if God gave five talents to the one who received one talent, he would have done worse because of his overabundance of talents. God is always right.
In this parable, who was praised by God? The one who was given five talents and the one who was given two talents. Both doubled the talents that their master had given them. In other words, we must double the talents we have received before Jesus returns. The one who was received five talents doubled his talents in business. We don’t know how the one who received two talents doubled his talents, but in any case, he worked with the talents and made them double.
Actually, I changed my job in January this year. I changed from Tokyo Christian University to another general university. Some may think that it is against God’s will because I changed my job from a Christian university to a general university. I thought about it for a long time, but I decided to take the challenge on my own. Looking back now, I feel that I am slowly increasing the talents. Non-Christians environment that I didn’t have at TCU, positions of responsibility, challenging work, new relationships, through these things, I have been able to humble myself and serve people around me.
Working with talents does not only mean working in society. For example, if you have the talents to understand the weaknesses of others, you can help those who are being bullied at school. If you have the talent to cook, you can make your family and others happy through cooking. In this way, your life will be enriched, your talents will be increased, and the Lord will be pleased by your good will and courage to serve others. When you lack courage, pray to God. Such a prayer that meets God’s will, must be granted.
To sum up. The purpose of our Christian life is to know God and to show His glory. I could not talk about knowing God in this time, but we cannot fully understand God even if we spend our whole life. It is our mission to continue to worship Him and explore Him.
About to show God’s glory, throughout our lives, we must make the choice to increase our talents with our own will and courage. It does not the matter of how many talents we have. But it is the matter of how we use them and increase them.
When the Lord returns, wouldn’t you like to be told from Jesus, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” If I had these words from Jesus, I would be 100% satisfied and forget all the hardships and pains I have gone through in my life. I would probably cry. There are many good things and bad things in my life, but if I am rewarded by Jesus at the end of my life, I have no regrets at all. Let’s use our talents God gave us, and increase them, and finally we will stand in front of Jesus, and we will receive the words “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.”.
Amen, let us pray.