© Minerva Studio – Fotolia.com
Recently our bible study group studied the parable of the talents (Matt 25:14-30). A man who is preparing to leave on a journey entrusts his possessions to his servants. He distributes his wealth among three servants, apportioned to them on the basis of their abilities. To the first he entrusted five talents (a Jewish measure of money), to the second two talents, and to the third one talent. The first two servants quickly set to work with their master’s money. The ones who received five and two talents invested the money and gained ten and four talents as a result. They ‘put the money to work’ and it yielded great gains. Out of fear, the third servant decided to play it safe and bury his talent. He didn’t want to risk losing the talent or facing his master’s wrath. However, in ‘playing it safe’ he didn’t yield any gain.
On his return, the master commended the faithfulness of the first two servants. To the third, he expressed his disgust at his lack of initiative and slothfulness.
God entrusts us with ‘spiritual talents’ to invest during our lives. He doesn’t give us these to bury and do nothing with. Although all Christians are charged with the responsibility to share the gospel, we are also given responsibilities according to our abilities (Matt 25:15).
I find this part of the parable very intriguing.
Whilst God gives all Christians the gift of the Holy Spirit and the responsibility to love others as God has loved us, He clearly gives to and entrusts us according to His sovereign and unique plan for our lives (Eph 2:10). In other words, God doesn’t give the same responsibilities and/or duties to all Christians, but rather different roles and jobs to fulfill. We are part of the one ‘spiritual body’, but like the parts of a human body, we all have different functions, whether they be great or small (1 Cor 12:1-20). According to this parable, what is important to God is not so much the yield but our faithfulness. Do we invest what God has given us, or do we bury it out of fear and laziness?
I feel this parable poses a great encouragement and stern warning to all Christians.
We need to acknowledge that we don’t all have the same roles when it comes to living for God and serving others and the church. Whilst we are all to love and serve God, the church and others in our lives, we are entrusted with different gifts, abilities and passions to achieve this. Whatever it is, we are to be faithful with what God has entrusted us and to serve joyfully and zealously. When we do our part faithfully, God’s investment in us yields a greater outcome, whether we see it now or later in heaven.
Don’t allow people to guilt-ridden or coerce you into doing a particular work for God, but rather be faithful to do that which He has placed on your heart to do. Look at your abilities, search your heart/passions, look to Christ and serve accordingly. You may stumble along the way, but be encouraged, God is concerned with your attitude and faithfulness regardless the mistakes you make. The fact is God teaches us through our mistakes and, if we are willing, better equips us to serve Him as a result.
The flip-side is a stern warning against doing nothing. God did not send Jesus to die for our sins so that we can continue living as we used to, to be focused on ourselves all the time and not on Him or others. If we choose to reject God or not invest what God has given us, then we should expect to face His judgment accordingly.
There are consequences for the choices we make. Are you going to choose to faithfully trust in and serve Jesus, or are you going to dishonour Him by burying what He has given you?
We only have one life… let us wisely invest the ‘spiritual talents’ God has given us so that we may enjoy His blessings and be effective instruments for Him.