Week 12: The following takes place between 5/17/09 and 5/23/09 Talents Matthew 25:14-30 This passage is a parable in an ongoing dialogue Jesus is having with His disciples about when Christ will return. He shares several parables in chapters 24 and 25 about this. In this passage, Jesus is illustrating His expectations of us between now and when He returns. MONDAY: Matthew 25:14-15
Christ’s Provisions: Jesus begins this parable with just a couple of characters – a man going on a journey and his servants. The man going away is Jesus. We are the servants. The man calls his servants to him before his trip and gives them some responsibilities according to their abilities and then he left. Jesus has returned to Heaven and one day, He will return. While He is gone, He has called us – those who are Christians – to be stewards of His work while He is gone. One truth we can see from this passage is that Christ expects none of us to be idle. He has given us all talents to use. We all have different abilities and different opportunities in life. Based on those, He distributes His talents. These first two verses teach us that as Christians, we are not to be idle. We also see that Christ gives resources to match the abilities and opportunities we have in life. It’s up to us to use them.
Today’s Assignment: How are you using the talents you have been given? You are called to be good stewards of these resources. You have been given a talent… maybe more than one. Christ calls you to use it in service. What has Christ entrusted to you? Are you idle with this talent or are you faithful to use it in service?
TUESDAY: Matthew 25:16-18
Getting to Work: These verses describe what happens after the man left his servants. Now, the servants have no one looking over their shoulders to check on them. They have to manage their time. They do not know how long they have until their master returns. So one servant takes his five talents doubled them. The servant with two talents did the same. They saw what was entrusted to them and through their abilities – their creativity, their resourcefulness, their ability to manage time and themselves – they go to work. Their work produced fruit and increased the resources given to them. However, the third servant did nothing. In his mind, he thought that if he at least didn’t loss any ground – if he didn’t waste the one talent he was given – if he sat and watched it, protected it, and hid it away – then he would at least still have that talent. So while the other two servants worked diligently and made good investments of their time, abilities and the talents given to them… the other servant sat idle. The first two made an impact on the world by taking risks of faith. The other took no risks and made no impact on anyone. Jesus calls us to be diligent.
Today’s Assignment: How do you use your time, abilities and talents given to you? These servants knew they would have to account for their talents. They just didn’t know when. We don’t know the exact time of our accounting of our lives, but it will come. Are you being diligent or being idle? You are taking risks of faith or nothing at all?
WEDNESDAY: Matthew 25:19
His Return: This verse teaches us two certain truths – Jesus will return and we are accountable to Him for what we do with the talents He has given us. Jesus gave us, His servants, talents to manage while He is gone. Some of us may manage them well. Some may sit and do nothing with what they have been given. This verse is a that teaches two certainties – He is coming back and we are accountable to Him.
Today’s Assignment: Ask God to evaluate your management of the talents you have been given. Are you using them or wasting them? Are they benefiting others or benefiting no one? Does the use of the talents you have draw people to Jesus or does your silent misuse of them cause others to stumble or keep others from meeting Jesus?
THURSDAY: Matthew 25:20-23
Faithfulness: The master begins to settle accounts with his servants – and in these two verses, he rewards good management. Jesus is teaching us that He rewards faithfulness. He rewards good stewardship. He rewards service. The reward may not be riches or pleasures of this world. Jesus gives a greater reward. The first rewards is in more opportunities, more talents, more trust to manage from the Father. We will give an account of our lives when this life is over, but we are accountable to Him day by day. As He sees faithfulness in us, He will reward along the way. The other reward is in sharing in the Master’s happiness. We are rewarded with the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. We gain more of that as we obey the Father. We are accountable and God will reward.
Today’s Assignment: Evaluate times in your life where you served faithfully. What reward did you receive? What happened next in life? Did your experience of faithfulness open the door of opportunity to serve again? Ask God to help you begin to use your talents… and if you are doing so now, ask Him to help you finish strong.
FRIDAY: Matthew 25:24-30
Faithlessness: The master now comes to the servant with one talent – he had done nothing with it but bury it. Where Christ rewarded faithfulness, there are consequences to faithlessness. The one who had one talent had it taken away from him. The servant, like us, offers the Master many excuses on why we couldn’t be faithful. We don’t have time because of work or family or extracurricular activities. We feel the expectation of us is too high and we would fail anyway, so we do nothing. We bury the salt and light of Christ where no one can see it. Christ says even if you do the very least little bit, that would be better than burying what has been given to you. So the talent is removed. The other consequence to slothfulness is, according to the Scripture in verse 30, is to be thrown out into the darkness. I would be foolish to say I could explain the meaning of this verse fully. It could mean that this servant was never really a Christian, but he was posing as one. But at a time of accounting for his life, there was not fruit because there was no real connection to Jesus. It could mean that where the fruit of the Spirit is a reward to the faithful, as a Christian, the consequence of faithlessness is a broken relationship with Christ. There is no peace or joy or any other fruit of the Spirit when our relationship with God is fractured. Perhaps that is the darkness. In any case, Christ is clear. There are consequences to faithless living. Wasteful, slothful, lazy living will not reflect the Lord in the world we live in. It is a stumbling block to others. God does not honor this type of living.
Today’s Assignment: Ask God to evaluate your heart and service. We can avoid this type of consequences very easily. First, settle in your heart if you truly know Jesus Christ as your Savior. Have you realized your sinfulness and that you are separated from God. Sin does that. The wages of sin is death. But Jesus came to pay out debt. He died for us so we might live. He rose from death to conquer it. He provides the one and only way to the Father. By asking Him in faith to come into your heart to be your Lord and Savior, you can know God. This will result in a new life on this earth and eternal life in Heaven with Him. If we know Christ, we can avoid this consequence by being faithful. As God gives you talents, use them in service to His glory. Trust Him for the rewards. But evaluate your heart today and either come to Him in salvation or serve Him in faithfulness.
Memorize Scripture: Ephesians 5:15-17