DUNCAN/Be faithful! – The talents

DUNCAN/Be faithful! – The talents


Please turn with me in your Bibles to Matthew 25:14-30. As we look at this passage, Jesus is reminding us of something. He’s reminding us that He has furnished all of his people with personal resources for the sake of building up His kingdom. The Lord Jesus is reminded us that all of us have things on loan from God which He expects us to use them for the building up of His kingdom and by which He will take an account at the end. From this parable, we will look at three things. First, the master’s challenge. Second, the servant’s response. Third, the master’s judgment of the servants. 

I. The Master's Challenge 

Look at verse 14, a man about to go on a journey called his own slaves. Jesus is stressing that the people to whom the master gave the trust already belonged to him. Notice also in verse 14 a second thing: the money or goods that the master gave them belonged to him. That’s twice now that Jesus has stressed that the servants belonged to him and the possessions belonged to him. Notice in verse 15 that the amount of resources that were entrusted to them. We’re told that he gave talents. A talent, some say, was equal to ten thousand days wages for a common day laborer. One of these men was given 5 talents, one was given 2, and then the other was given one. This is an enormous amount of money. Now that’s not the only thing. You’ll also see in verse 15 that the distribution of these talents was not arbitrary. It was done according to the ability of each servant. He has taken assessment of how these have ability at earning money in his absence.

But the point of the story so far is that Christ has entrusted His church with gifts and those gifts are to be employed for the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ and for His kingdom’s sake. We don’t belong to ourselves, we belong to Him, what we own doesn’t belong to us, it belongs to Him, all that He has given us, He has given us so that we might glorify Him and that we might do good to our neighbor. The point here is that Christ has furnished all his people with personal resources for the sake of building up His kingdom.

II. The Servant's Response

Now He tells us in verse 16 - 18 what happened. He gives us an account of how each servant managed the trust and this, in and of itself, reminds us that Jesus is keenly interested in how we live. Sometimes we think that the only thing that matters in our relationship with Christ is that we have made a decision in the past or that we have prayed a prayer or signed a card, but the Lord Jesus here is taking stock of the lives of people who claim to be servants of His household and it reminds us that He is keenly interested in how we live.

As we return to the story, two things happen. Two of the servants gain a double return on what the master had entrusted to them, while the third servant buried what the master had entrusted to him. Two were able to double their master’s trust while one, literally, buried it. Now Jesus is not drawing attention to the enormous return that the first two servants gained as it indicates to us that if you work really hard and do lots of good works then you’re a real Christian. The point of this parable is to focus on the servant who did nothing. You’ve got to understand that or you’ll totally miss this parable. Jesus is not telling the story so that you’ll believe in salvation by works. Jesus is telling us this to warn against the Christianity which professes to be with lips, but is not reflected with the life. Their lives indicate that they really don’t care about the Lord Jesus Christ. They view Christianity as drudgery, they view a personal, viable relationship with Him as extraneous, His kingdom and fellowship with Him are rarely on their minds, and they can’t wait to get out of the sanctuary to get on with something more important. There are many Christians who profess Him but whose lives are totally devoid of Him and Jesus is speaking to us about this in this very passage.

III. The Master's Judgment of The Servants 

And now we see the verdict in verses 19 - 30. Here we see the respective accounts of these three servants and how the master rewarded two and punished another. This passage reminds us that Christ’s final judgment and reward is going to be in accordance with our faithfulness. The point about the third slave is that he did nothing. Ostensibly he was a servant of the household and had been entrusted with gifts from God, but he did nothing with them. The point of the story is not that the slave was a murderer or that the slave was an adulterer or that the slave had committed some great crime, in fact, this slave was not even the prodigal son, he hadn’t even wasted the father’s money. He just did nothing. This one servant, who had a view of God that is hard, who thinks that God is unfair and unjust and reaps where He does not sow, this man is condemned not because of what he did, but because of what he didn’t do.

I want to ask you a question today because it’s the question that Jesus is asking all of us. In your circumstances in life, do the hard circumstances of life prove out for you that you truly trust in God and that you are concerned for His kingdom? You know, often times, we learn how much we really care about God in the hard times. Maybe you’ll display your heart towards the kingdom in the way you treat the possessions that the Lord has given you. Do you see them as something to be used for ministry to others? Do you see the wealth entrusted of you as something that you would use for the furtherance of God’s kingdom in the church and elsewhere? All of us, by what we do and we don’t do, manifest whether we have a real love and loyalty to the Lord Jesus Christ and this parable is about a man who shows that he really has no loyalty to Christ by the way he leaves and, especially, by what he doesn’t do. We are not told that the unprofitable servant was a murderer or a thief or even a waster of his lord’s money, but that he did nothing and that was his ruin. Let us beware of a “do nothing Christianity.” Such Christianity does not come from the spirit of God. Let us with our lives, as well as our lips, express our loving loyalty to the Lord Jesus Christ.

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