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April 12, 2024
Good for Nothing
Pastor Philip De Courcy
Matthew 25:24-30

D. L. Moody was to his generation what Billy Graham was to ours: a force for evangelism. He was untrained and uneducated, but he offered up his whole self to Christ. God blessed his life and ministry so much that he rose to national and international prominence. Although untrained, he was the means of starting Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, which continues to bless the church and the world to this day.

Due to his lack of formal training and sophistication, Moody’s words offended some, and his uncouth methods annoyed others. On one occasion, a schoolteacher approached him and said, “Mr. Moody, if I could not use the English language any better than you, I would not speak in public.” Moody humbly replied, “Lady, I know I make many mistakes. But I am doing the best I can with what I have. What are you doing for Jesus with what you have?” On another occasion, someone criticized Moody for some of his unorthodox methods. With a certain transparency, Moody replied, “I don’t like them much myself. What methods do you use?” The critic replied he used none. Moody abruptly retorted, “Well, I think I like the way I do it better than the way you don’t do it.”

Some people are good at doing nothing other than criticizing those who are doing something. But we need to be more critical of those who do nothing. Passivity can be as much an evil as active wrongdoing. We would do well to remind ourselves that sin comes in two forms. The first is the sin of commission, where we do what is wrong, forbidden, and unlawful. The second is the sin of omission, where we do not do what is right and leave undone that which we ought to do. James says, “Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it” (James 4:17, NLT).

The seriousness of the sin of omission is outlined for us by Jesus in the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14–30. The servant who receives the one talent and does nothing with it is blasted by his master (Matt. 25:24–30). He is called wicked, lazy, and unprofitable (vv. 26, 30). His sin was that of the buried talent—missed opportunities, paralysis of analysis, and underdeveloped possibilities. It was not good enough that he did nothing wrong. There was wrong in doing nothing wrong. Here, Jesus exposes a do-nothing wickedness. According to this parable, to fail to obey a good command is as bad as committing a forbidden evil. Both are disobedience to God. The absence of good deeds is as big a problem as the presence of evil deeds. To ignore God’s positive commands is as much a sin as to violate His negative ones. The man in the parable was not grossly bad; he was simply good for nothing, which in Jesus’ mind is grossly bad.

It is not enough to do nothing bad. It is not enough to not commit adultery; we must actively seek to love our spouses. It is not enough to keep the faith; we must actively seek to share it in evangelism. It is not enough to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together; we must actively and joyfully participate in the services. It is not enough to not be drunk with wine; we must actively seek to be filled by the Spirit. Don’t be good for nothing.