“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.” (Matthew 25:23 NIV)

 In the Parable, Christ outlines the requirements for all to get into Heaven. He tells us those who honor God’s standard, will receive an extravagant opportunity to “Come and share your Master’s happiness.”

Three servants are given different amounts of gifts. Jesus uses this to address the principles of good and bad stewardship. His main points are, we must clearly understand God’s standards; not misinterpret the rewards implied; mustn’t be afraid to fail; and we are to use and multiply all gifts.

Christ’s purpose according to T.D. Jakes is to equip us to use our “instincts.” Our instincts help us to advance God’s kingdom, and our own positions in life, when we are presented with extravagant opportunities.

Two of the servants performed at their highest level of excellence, turning five (5) and two (2) talents into 10 talents and 4 respectively. While the third failed by burying his one talent.

The first two brought 100 percent return on the Master’s investment. They received the extravagant opportunity available to us all, which as Jakes calls it, “The cross over moment” into Heaven.

When we clearly understand our unique and individual gift(s) and personal standards, we perform with excellence and at our optimal level of 100 percent efficiency. Hopefully, we know God spares no expense when it comes to blessing us, but He does expect a (ROI) “Return on His Investment.” We must therefore accept responsibility for our gift(s) and for the complete fulfillment of His expectations.

Extravagant opportunities sometimes come surrounded by cloudy circumstances. Often inclement weather is a mask for a sunny opportunity. When we say to ourselves on a rainy day, “Today isn’t a good day.” We should know actually that day, despite the clouds and the rain, maybe an opportunity in disguise. We just need to forge ahead.

Jakes says, we should know when we look into our gift box, “Our gifts and talents come without instructions and each servant or recipient in scripture had to use their instinct to determine the best way to invest their gifts”.

When we understand our gifts come without instructions, other than our instincts, we won’t misinterpret God’s reward and recognition system, and we can then do as Nike says, “Just Do It” and fully succeed.

When life gives us an extravagant opportunity to use our gift(s), this is the same as God giving us permission to step out on faith, into our own unique destiny.

“Many spend their lives at ‘the crossroads of greatness,’ trying to figure out which way to turn,” says Jakes. We must know thatnobody can tell us the time or the direction of our destiny. No parent, spouse, teacher or pastor can tell us which way to turn, or when to step into our individual destiny.

The servants’ rewards were based on what they did with what they had. Jakes goes on to say, “The result of your authentic stewardship is always promotion. The knock of opportunity, if answered with the right instinctive action, will inevitably result in promotion.”

The servant who buried his talent said, “He was afraid.” Therefore, fear won that battle. He decided not to use his talent, not to multiply it, not to invest it, but rather to hide it. Jakes says, “He hid his talent and exposed his fear, instead of hiding his fear and exposing his talent.”

If we don’t let ourselves become afraid to fail, we can stand at the crossroad to greatness, and clearly hear our instincts and then make the right turn. People who live fulfilling lives follow their instincts and learn to overcome their fear of the future, and their fear of failure.

When we understand that God gives us all extravagant opportunities, to use the gifts given us, to help God’s people, we in turn bring glory to God.

Those who live by their instincts know you have to seize all opportunities to move ahead, and have the courage to forge ahead into the unknown future. We then seize every extravagant opportunity God sends our way!

The Rev. Dr. R. Joaquin Willis is pastor of the Church of the Open Door UCC in Miami’s Liberty City community. He may be reached at 305-759-0373 or pastor@churchoftheopendoormiami.org