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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

What Has God Entrusted to You?

I haven't heard to many sermons on the Parable of the Talents. I wonder why.

The story is of a master leaving his servants in charge of his money. Each one is given according to his ability to manage. One is given five talents, another two and the last one. All but the last doubled the money which had been entrusted to him. The last dug a hole and hid it in the ground. It seemed to be the safest way to go.

A talent was approximately twenty years wages for a laborer. Let's say for easy math sake that a laborer makes $7 per hour for forty hours a week for fifty weeks out of the year. That comes to $14,000 each year. Even the man receiving one talent had $280,000 to manage.

But investments involve risk. At that time, even the banks were risky. The safest option is guarding the money and giving it back. What would have happened if the first two had lost their master's money instead of of doubling it? Would the master have been more pleased with the one who had hidden it in the ground?

Of course, this isn't the point of the parable but it is the point of all those who have been given gifts and opportunities by God which they refuse to use. They either stop serving the Lord or they never started. They do not understand that all that they have been given is to be invested even if it means there are risks.

I remember hearing of a young man going to the same college I attended. He studied or was in class seventeen hours each day. He barely made the dean's list each semester. His professors got word from his former high school that this young man was mentally challenged. He certainly wasn't motivation challenged. He took the one talent he had been given and used it to the fullest. How many who were gifted with a higher IQ either flunked out, dropped out or barely remained in school?

Why is it that believers think that investing what God has given them is easy? Why do they want to take the safe route and believe that they are the voice of prudence within their churches? Why is it that these people grab the attention which keeps their churches from growing?

The parable explains that the one given the one talent was afraid even though he knew that the master used every opportunity to make more with what he had. The result of his fear was damnation rather than reward.

I really don't know what God has given you/ I just know that I and you better not simply hide it in the ground. A day is coming when He will ask us what we have done with it.

Matthew 25:14-30 (ESV)
14 “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. 15 To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 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.’ 24 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, 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! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 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. 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.’

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

One pertinent point about this parable is that if it were the thing to do, to put away that talent or those talents and do nothing about it/them, any master could have done that himself; really there was no need of entrusting the servants with them, before he went away. Verse 27 already stated to us that there were already bankers in those days; the master could just left the talents with the bankers or continued to have them with the bankers.

Now, even if there was risk placing the talents with the bankers, the 3rd servant was still too foolish to have thought that the master could NOT have hidden the talent himself, if that were his intention; so hiding the talent and doing nothing about it, was really without excuse.

Was the 3rd servant punished for his fear or his wickedness and laziness? It was the latter.    Though fear is not what God would like to see, Scripture is with many accounts of God still considering and then used people who were with fear.  Can you name a few accounts? Those of Moses! Gideon! Joshua! Even Elijah!  

How come the 3rd servant could be said as wicked? Do you think the master knew the servant knew the will of the master, that the talent was to be deployed? I submit to you that the answer is affirmative.  And because it being so, the master said that the servant was wicked, and NOT ignorant or foolish!  This is meant for us to know that, knowing the will of God, and NOT doing it, is wicked!  How is this to be explained?

NOT doing the will of God is disobedience; is rebellion, and therefore is evil or wickedness. Righteousness, on the other hand, can simply be defined as doing the will of God, or right on, with regard to what God wants done, and right on, as to the time God wants it done; or in agreement with God, which for us, men, often necessarily includes works consistent with that agreement.

Fear is NOT excuse enough, for God; and disobedience or wickedness is offensive to the holiness of God. Laziness in doing the will of God is also NOT acceptable.  Fruitfulness is expected of us; you can find it in multiple places in Scripture.  In verse 26 of the text we read the master said of the 3rd servant, "You wicked and lazy servant".

Straight to the point, the parable is saying, we as servants of the Lord are to carry out His will. Some are entrusted with a little to start with, some more; one, or two, or five, measures, it matters NOT.  What matters is, are we faithful with what is entrusted to us.  The 2nd servant who had 2 talents did as well as the one with 5 talents, doubling what was given; and the words of the master were the same for both the 1st and 2nd servants - "Well done, good and faithful servant...."

It is NOT optional, that we are to be faithful with what has been entrusted to us; look again at the text; where was the wicked, lazy and unfaithful servant thrown to?!
But fear NOT, as long as the Lord has NOT come back, and you are still with breath, start doing the right things, starting with ..... .... ....(think, fill in the blank, yourself!)

Anthony Chia, high.expressions