Do you take time to reflect over your life? What have we done with the blessings and how did we handle the challenges? It is a core belief of mine that God creates us with certain gifts, abilities, passions, and desires. I believe these are designed for our service to God. We must accept His will into our life or we find ourselves selfishly utilizing them for our own pleasure.
Today we will look at a parable given by Jesus; these are stories that are told to enlighten the listener to a deeper truth. This parable is given during the end of Jesus’ ministry and during a time when he is explaining to the disciples how His plan will play out beyond the Cross.
Matthew 25: 14-15 ESV
“For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away.
This parable has four characters, each with their own abilities; A King who owns much, a servant worthy of five talents, a second servant worthy of two talents, and a third servant worthy of one talent. The amount of a talent is not the central focus but to better understand the value given to each, a talent was valued somewhere around seventeen years of wages. Each received a gift that was life altering.
Matthew 25: 16-19 ESV
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. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them.
What could you accomplish with something of that value? Take seventeen years of your salary, dwell on that amount for a moment, now multiply it by five, or even two. When you have come to the end of your life, have you doubled the value, or at the least made some interest from it? Maybe there were moments when you utilized it for good, only to see it dwindle down due to selfish ambitions?
I want to state that although the parable is making the point through financial gain, Jesus wants us to see beyond the financial. Maybe you can speak in public, maybe you can write, or maybe you can smile and make someone’s day. Just as this King gave from what he had; God has created us in His image. We are given a part of God’s character. Now dwell for a moment of the value in that gift.
Matthew 25: 20-23 ESV
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.’ 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.’ 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.’ 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.’
The only difference between servant one and servant two is the number of talents. The increase (doubled) and the reward (well done) are identical. Let us not lose sight that all three were given talents, they did nothing to earn or gain them, they belonged to the King.
Matthew 25: 24-28 ESV
He also 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, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents.
Our third servant lived in fear, fear of failure. The value became a burden, so he set it aside and lived life the way he felt comfortable. I have heard it said that living for Christ is not fun, too much pressure to be right. He might demand more than I can give. What if I blow it and all that hard work is for nothing? It is just easier to bury the gift, who am I to bring anything meaningful. Besides, I give to charities and even got some petitions signed to…
However long you have lived, look back over your life. What have you done with want has been given to you? I am fully aware of the number of famously rich people who are doing good with their financial means. I want you to dig harder than that. The King tells the men that they have been faithful in this little thing, (really, seventeen years is little) but He will set us over much. This is about accepting who He has created you to be, so that God, through His gift to you can alter someone’s eternal life and along the way alter yours.
One last thought, the pressure to perform is not on you. God creates us with these gifts, and He sent His Son to allow us the strength to live in them. Along with His Holy Spirit to direct us through them.