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   March Forward - Church Workers'' Devotional    
   Rev. Jaerock Lee
   Matthew 25: 14-30


[Matthew 25: 14-30]
"For [it is] just like a man [about] to go on a journey, who called his own slaves, and entrusted his possessions to them. [15] "And to one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey. [16] "Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents. [17] "In the same manner the one who [had received] the two [talents] gained two more. [18] "But he who received the one [talent] went away and dug in the ground, and hid his master's money. [19] "Now after a long time the master of those slaves *came and *settled accounts with them. [20] "And the one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, 'Master, you entrusted five talents to me; see, I have gained five more talents.' [21] "His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful slave; you were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things, enter into the joy of your master.' [22] "The one also who [had received] the two talents came up and said, ' Master, you entrusted to me two talents; see, I have gained two more talents. ' [23] "His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful slave; you were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.' [24] "And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, 'Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no [seed.] [25] 'And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground; see, you have what is yours.' [26] "But his master answered and said to him, 'You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I scattered no [seed.] [27] 'Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my [money] back with interest. [28] 'Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.' [29] "For to everyone who has shall [more] be given, and he shall have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. [30] "And cast out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.』


This is the 2009 church workers' devotional service. A worker is a general term for somebody who works for a certain organization or company.
But church workers are not only the pastors and Levites who work in the church. Everyone who is working for God's kingdom with a title and position in the church is called a church worker.
Therefore, elders, senior deaconesses, deacons and deaconesses and junior deaconesses are all church workers.
God the Father has given us the message with the title "March Forward" for this church workers' devotional service. It's such an encouraging title for this year 2009, a year of blessing.
Let us repeat the title of today's message: "March Forward!"
This title means, as it says, to go forward in marching array.
God the Father wants all of us to be united as one and march forward together. He wants us to look up to the vision He has given to this church with only faith and march forward to achieve that dream.
This church has been marching forward until today to achieve the goal.
But until now, it was like putting one stepping stone at a time and then taking one step at a time.
But now, those stepping stones have become a strong bridge altogether.
This bridge is the connection to our dreams and visions and the bridge that connects us to the whole world.
Thus, now we can just march forward and harvest all the blessings prepared by God the Father.
In order to do this, it is very important to have a good formation.
When the formation is broken down, it's difficult to get to the destination even if we are walking on a very well paved road.
We have to gather around the center, and thousands or even tens of thousands of people have to move like one person progressing towards the goal.
I hope not only the church workers but all the members will gain life and strength through this message and vigorously march forward on the road of blessings.


Dear church workers and members, then, what do we have to do to march forward to accomplish the visions given to this church?
First, you have to trust the shepherd and obey him. This is because God has set him up as the core of the sphere [essential glue] of this church that binds everyone.
Who was playing the central part when the sons of Israel were marching towards the Promised Land Canaan? It was Moses.
Moses became the core of the people because God saw his inner heart, acknowledged him, and selected him.
Even Aaron, the elder brother of Moses, was good at speech, but he could only become a helper to Moses.
Aaron worked as the spokesman for Moses since the Exodus from the Egypt. God gave him to Moses since Moses was not very good at speech.
Therefore, in physical sense, Aaron could have looked more capable than Moses because he could speak better. But the leader who was acknowledged by God was only Moses.
Thus, if somebody considered himself equal as Moses or criticized or despised Moses, God did not accept it.
It's because it was same as despising God who set Moses as the leader.
For example, in Numbers 12, Moses' sister Miriam and his brother Aaron passed judgment on and criticized Moses.
They said, "Has God spoken only with Moses? Has he not spoken with us?"
When God heard what they said, He called Aaron and Miriam to stand before the Tent of Meeting and spoke to them.
Numbers 12:6-8 says, "He said, "Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I, the LORD, shall make Myself known to him in a vision. I shall speak with him in a dream. [7] "Not so, with My servant Moses, He is faithful in all My household; [8] With him I speak mouth to mouth, Even openly, and not in dark sayings, And he beholds the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid To speak against My servant, against Moses?"
Then, Miriam became leprous. Aaron also repented askinging for God's forgiveness and mercy.
But the prayer to which God answered was not their prayer but prayer of Moses.
When Moses cried out in prayer, God heard him and answered.
It's not that God moses had partial love towards Moses. Numbers 12:3 says, "Now the man Moses was very humble, more than any man who was on the face of the earth."
God sees the inner heart of men, and He knew that Moses was the most appropriate to become the leader, and set him up in His justice.
Therefore, in God's sight, Moses was the first in all aspects.
Aaron, Miriam, and the elders of the people just had to do their duty as the helpers of Moses according to their talents.
God could not accept it if they tried to be ahead of Moses or considered themselves equal to Moses.
It was the same when Joshua succeeded Moses.
God said in Joshua 1:5-6, "No man will [be able to] stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you. [6] "Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them."
When Joshua delivered the will of God to the people, they trusted Joshua and obeyed him.
Before they crossed the Jordan River, he told them to sanctify themselves, and they just obeyed. Then, they crossed the flooding Jordan River like dry land and marched on towards the Canaan.
They could conquer the city of Jericho because they trusted and obeyed Joshua who was delivering the will of God to them.
When they were told to circumcise themselves, they just obeyed and did it.
When they were told to go around the city of Jericho once a day for six days, and seven times on the seventh day, they just obeyed it.
When they were marching around the city of Jericho, they also did what God told them to do through Joshua.
As they were told not to speak, they just marched around without speaking at all.
All the people together shouted at the moment God told them to shout, and the city walls collapsed.
As they believed and obeyed the words of God given to Joshua, they saw this amazing work of God.
Even the experts in battles just obeyed believing that the word of Joshua was the word of God and the best strategy. Nobody had any objection.
Nobody thought like, "What if we get attacked by the enemies while we go around the city unarmed?"
The just believed and completely trusted that the word of Joshua was the will of the almighty God and obeyed him.
In 2009, God the Father is asking the church workers of this kind of trust and obedience.
God wants you to trust the shepherd, and He wants you to trust him 100% from the heart, without initiating any thought of men.
You shouldn't say anything against the will of the shepherd, saying something like, "I trust the shephered, but about this matter, he doesn't know it properly, and he shouldn't do that.
If you have the service with 100% trust from the heart, you will only say Yes and Amen in all things. You won't give any excuses or reasons.
I hope all your church workers will be united as one with complete trust and obedience and march forward powerfully towards the goal.
Dear church workers and members, in order to march forward to achieve the visions of this church, secondly, each one has to work faithfully according to his own talent, but you have to help each other being united as one.
When the sons of Israel were in the wilderness, they camped surrounding the tabernacle.
While they were going towards the Canaan, they repeated the cycle of marching and camping 30 times or so. They had to set up the tabernacle and remove it many times.
And the Levites were in charge of handling the tabernacle.
When they were marching, they had to carry it in an appropriate manner, and when they camped, they had to set it up again.
From Numbers 4, we can see that this work was mainly divided into three parts.
The three different families of the sons of Levi were put in charge of their own work.
The families of the sons of Kohath took care of the instruments in the tabernacle like the ark of the testimony and the altar of burnt offering.
The duties of the sons of Gershon involved the tabernacle and the tent, its covering, and the screen for the doorway of the tent of meeting. The duties of the sons of Merari involved the frames of the tabernacle, its bars, its pillars, its sockets, and all its equipment.
The tabernacle could be maintained because each family fulfilled their duties.
Because the tabernacle was maintained, the sons of Israel could march on towards the Canaan Land.
Of course the ark of the testimony is the most important thing, but they could not have the tabernacle only with it. They had to have all the pillars, and other equipments.
Therefore, we cannot say any of these three families among the Levites was in charge of something more important than other families.
Everyone was important and absolutely needed. It's the same for you church workers.
In the parable of the talents in today's reading passage, we can see each one received different numbers of talents. One was give five, another two, and the other one talent.
Talents refer to faith, hope, and love in spiritual sense, and it also refers to each one's physical talents. Each one has different measure of faith and different physical talents.
And if these different talents are combined as one, it can have a very strong power. With this we can do great things of God.
Even though one person has great talents, he cannot accomplish all the works of God alone.
Therefore, even if you are given five talents, you should not say you will do everything all by yourself.
Also, even if you are given only one talent, you should not just sit back doing nothing.
Those who are given five talents have to work that much, and those who are given one talent also have to work as much as they are given.
Also, those with five talents must not look down on those who are given only one talent.
They should understand that God has given them five talents to fill up the empty parts of those who are given one talent.
Also, those who are given one talent must not become jealous of those who are given five talents.
You should think like, "I am thankful that she can cover my shortcomings. She is taking care of what I cannot do for the kingdom of God, so I am very happy."
Likewise, I hope all the church workers will not look at the shortcomings of others but only good points.
The important thing is not the number of talents one has been given but the inner heart of those who have the talents.
Of course, if those with five talents work faithfully and accomplish great things, their reward will be great in heaven, too.
But at the same time, if those with one talent do their best even in small things with good and lovely heart, God is pleased with them, too.
Then, God can give them greater duties later.
From today's passage verse 22-23, we can see that the one with the two talents and the one with the five talents both received same praises and blessings when both of them left the double amount of what they were initially given.
If the person with one talent produced the double amount of what he was given, he would have earned praises and blessings, too.
Therefore, the important thing is each of you should work faithfully according to you talents and be united as one in peace and cooperation.
If all of you become one like this in faithfulness and unison, we can march towards our goals at a higher speed.
Dear church workers and members, in order to march forward towards the visions of this church, thirdly, we have to have firm heart to think only in truth, not compromising with any kind of unrighteousness.
This means that we have to have holiness.
In Numbers 25, there was a plague among the sons of Israel who were going towards the Canaan without hindrance, and 24,000 were dead.
Why did this plague come upon them?
At that time, Isarel was staying at the plains of Moab after taking the land of Sihon the king of Amorites and the land of Og the King of Bashan.
And Numbers 25:1-3 says, "While Israel remained at Shittim, the people began to play the harlot with the daughters of Moab. [2] For they invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. [3] So Israel joined themselves to Baal of Peor, and the LORD was angry against Israel."
The sons of Israel heard from Moses again and again for 40 years in the wilderness that they had to serve the LORD God only.
But when they were tempted by the Gentile women, some of them immediately fell into temptations.
They so easily betrayed God by bowing down to the Gentile gods.
Because of this, 24,000 people were dead by a plague. After this, God ordered a census of Israel for the second time. At the first census, they counted only men who were 20 years or older.
They had this first census at the wilderness of Sinai about 40 years ago when they first began their wilderness life.
Since one generation had already passed away in 40 years, the population had to increase by at least two times. But the result was that there were 1,820 less people than the first census.
But from Numbers 26:63-65, we can see that it was not just 1,820 people less than the first census.
It says, "These are those who were numbered by Moses and Eleazar the priest, who numbered the sons of Israel in the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho. [64] But among these there was not a man of those who were numbered by Moses and Aaron the priest, who numbered the sons of Israel in the wilderness of Sinai. [65] For the LORD had said of them, "They shall surely die in the wilderness." And not a man was left of them, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun."
It tells us that only two out of the 603,550 men of the first generation of Exodus remained until the end of the array of blessing into the Promised Land the Canaan.
You church workers should learn a very important lesson from this.
If you do not completely cast off your sinful natures, it's not easy to keep yourself from temptations.
When we go into the Canaan Sanctuary and receive abundant blessings, we should not follow the example of the sons of Israel.
You should never put yourself at ease thinking that it's all done now.
But rather you have to strengthen the clean and spiritual heart with which you will not compromise with any unrighteousness but will think only in the truth.
It's because we have to keep on marching forward until we build the Grand Sanctuary and reveal the glory of God all throughtout the earth.
I urge you church workers to have the goal of going into the Canaan Sanctuary after accomplishing the whole spirit in you.
I also urge you to vigorously march forward towards this goal this year.


Dear church workers and members, at this time, I spoke to you about what we should do to march towards the goal of this church given by God the Father.
First, you should trust the shepherd and obey him. Second, you should work faithfully according to each of your talents, and you should be united as one helping one another.
Last and third, you should strengthen your spiritual heart so that you will not compromise with any kind of unrighteousness and you will think only in the truth.
If you cultivate these three points in you, we will be able to overcome any kind of obstacle and just keep on marching.
Joshua 23:10 says, "One of your men puts to flight a thousand, for the LORD your God is He who fights for you, just as He promised you."
If we become one in faith and love and faithfulness, God the Father will be pleased with us and He will be with us.
Then we will march on without any hindrance until we actually achieve the God-given goals.
I pray in the name of the Lord that on the day when all our goals are achieved, you will receive the commendation of God the Father saying, "Well done, good and faithful slave You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master."