by Pastor Gene
So, Jesus tells a story.
It’s a story about a “man” [hint: the “man” is Jesus Himself] who’s going away for a time, but is coming back. He calls His servants and entrusts to them a certain amount of money that he expects them to invest on his behalf while he’s away. To one he gives five “talents,” to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability to manage it.
A “talent” in the Bible is not the ability to whistle God Bless America while juggling flaming bowling pins and standing on one leg atop a unicycle. Of course, that’s a talent! And AWESOME talent, too! But the talent Jesus was talking about here was a ‘talent of money,’ a certain amount of silver. And, as it turns out, a talent was A LOT of money. A single talent, according to some scholars, was equal to 20 years of wages for a common worker. That’s a LOT of cabbage, as they say in the grocery business!
Anyway, the “man” is going away for a while [remember: Jesus is the MAN], and he wants to keep his money growing. So, he gave it to his “servants” [Hint: us] to invest on his behalf while he is away.
So, here’s what the three servants in the story did: “He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money” (Matthew 25:16-18).
Oh well, that’s OK, I guess. Unless, of course, the “man” ACTUALLY COMES BACK and requires and accounting of his cabbage! In Jesus’ story, HE DID!
“Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘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.’ 22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘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’” (Matthew 25:19-23).
So far, so good. Happy happy happy! But then the master approached the third servant …
“He who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! … [Y]ou ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’”
Now, here’s the rub: This third servant wasn’t really a believer. He didn’t know His Master at all; he saw him only as “a hard man.” That’s the reason he buried his master’s money rather than invest it: he never really thought he was coming back. And, he figured, ‘When he doesn’t return, since there’s not even a record of it at the bank, all of that $$$ will be mine!’
At the moment of salvation, God the Holy Spirit gave each if us gifts (plural). He expects us to invest those gifts into the Kingdom until the Lord returns. We use them to tell others about Jesus saving love and to invite them to be a part of God’s family. We use them to encourage and serve our brothers and sisters in the difficult journey of life that we share together.
But, don’t miss this: God DOES expect us to use them and not bury them! And, by the way, He IS COMING BACK (soon)!’
- Take inventory of your spiritual gifts. Are you faithfully using them in the Lord’s service? If not, why not?
- There are many reasons why we might dishonor the “talents” that the Lord has given us. Distraction. Lack of understanding. Fear even. Or, perhaps most troubling of all, unbelief. Is it possible that while you’re saved and belong to the Lord, your living in practical unbelief – denying by your very life that He truly is coming back. The Apostle John was speaking to believers when he wrote, “And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming” (1 John 2:28). This is a sobering thought indeed!
- Finally, if you are exercising poor stewardship of your spiritual gifts, what will you do beginning today to change that?
Sermons with Boats in Them #2: ‘Dark Night was the Night and the Sea was a Fury – Tempestuous, Turbulent and Threatening.’
March 29, 2020