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The Parable Of The Talents

"For the kingdom of heaven is like
a man traveling to a far country,
who called his own servants and
delivered his goods to them.
And to one he gave five talents,
to another two, and to another one,
to each according to his own ability;
and immediately he went on a journey.

Then he who had received the five talents
went and traded with them,
and made another five talents.
And likewise he who had received two
gained two more also.
But he who had received one
went and dug in the ground,
and hid his lord's money.

After a long time
the lord of those servants came and
settled accounts with them.
So he who had received five talents
came and brought five other talents,
saying, 'Lord, you delivered to me five talents;
look, I have gained five more talents besides them.'

"His lord said to him,
'Well done, good and faithful servant;
you were faithful over a few things,
I will make you ruler over many things.
Enter into the joy of your lord.'

"He also who had received two talents
came and said, 'Lord, you delivered to me two talents;
look, I have gained two more talents besides them.'

"His lord said to him,
'Well done, good and faithful servant;
you have been faithful over a few things,
I will make you ruler over many things.
Enter into the joy of your lord.'

"Then he who had received the one talent
came and said, 'Lord, I knew you to be a hard man,
reaping where you have not sown,
and gathering where you have not scattered seed.
And I was afraid,
and went and hid your talent in the ground.
Look, there you have what is yours.'

"But his lord answered and said to him,
'You wicked and lazy servant,
you knew that I reap where I have not sown,
and gather where I have not scattered seed.
So you ought to have deposited
my money with the bankers,
and at my coming
I would have received back my own with interest.
Therefore take the talent from him,
and give it to him who has ten talents.
For to everyone who has, more will be given,
and he will have abundance;
but from him who does not have,
even what he has will be taken away.
And cast the unprofitable servant
into the outer darkness.
There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'
Matthew 25:14-30

After disclosing the signs of His Second Coming in Matthew 24, Jesus went on to share three endtime parables in Matthew 25.

The three endtime parables in Matthew 25 are:

1. Parable of 10 Virgins: (Matthew 25:1-13)
Be ready (Matthew 25:13)

2. Parable of Talents: (Matthew 25:14-30)
Be faithful (Matthew 25:21)

3. Parable of the sheep and the goats: (Matthew 25:31-46)
Be loving (Matthew 25:40)

A parable is a story with a spiritual truth. The parable of the talents is sandwiched between the other two. This parable is of great importance especially in these days we are living in. This endtime parable is about faithfulness and accountability. Faithfulness is associated with accountability. If we are faithful, we'll be accountable. We will not do our own things. We will follow His commandments. We'll be fruitful, and not unprofitable. We are His servants, and we ought to please our Master!

There are three principles which we can learn from this parable.

A. We are accountable to what we have, and not what we do not have.

In other words, we are accountable to what we are responsible for, and not what we are not responsible for. For example, in an airplane, the pilot is responsible to all the passengers and their safety, and we are not. We can simply sit in the plane and relax. However if we see a fire in the toilet of the plane, we are now held responsible for all their lives, and it is our responsibility to inform the flight crew about that.

In real life, we are first responsible to ourselves. We brush our own teeth, bath ourselves, eat healthy, observe personal hygiene and do some regular exercises to keep fit. Then we are responsible to our family: their food, education, housing, medical needs etc. After that come our friends; our colleagues; our church and finally the world that is lost without Christ.

Have you watched the movie "Schindler's List"? The finale was dramatic. Oskar Schindler said; "This car. Goeth would have bought this car. Why did I keep the car? Ten people right there. Ten people. Ten more people. [He then removed a Nazi pin from his lapel.] This pin. Two people. This is gold. Two more people. He would have given me two for it, at least one. One more person. A person, Stern. For this. [He wept.] I could have gotten one more person... and I didn't! And I... I didn't!"

Oskar Schindler was unable to save all the Jews during the Holocaust but he did saved those in his list. He saved those he could within his ability and sphere of influence! The list is life. To save the world, we need to begin and save one life at a time. We cannot save the whole world, but we can save those around us by telling them the Good News of Christ! Many people say that they don't know the whole Bible, but the real issue is: "Do we know one verse? And what are we doing about that one verse?"

B. Accountability increases with responsibility.

As our responsibility increases, our accountability also increases. Note in the parable, the master first talked to the servant with 5 talents, then the 2, then the 1. It has to do with seniority and respect. In the Jewish and all eastern cultures, we respect our elders. This is clearly seen in the way Jacob blessed his children before he died (Genesis 49:1-3). He blessed his firstborn first, then second, then third and so on. The more senior we are, the more responsibilities we will have and the more accountable we will be.

It is the same as in the world. In our kindergarten, we learn our ABC and 123. In primary school, we learn how to write sentences and make compositions, calculate, add, subtract, multiply, divide and some algebra. In secondary schools, we learn more about history, geography, physics, chemistry, additional mathematics, mechanics etc. In college, more subjects and more intense. In university, we begin to specialize. The older we get, the more we know and the more we have and the more accountable we become. To whom much is given, much is required.

The Discipling Process has four stages:
1. I do (Being an example)
2. I do you see (Teaching)
3. I see you do (Supervision)
4. You do (Commissioning)

God's desire for us is to have abundant life. He blessed us to be a blessing to the people around us (Genesis 12:2). The Lord makes us to increase and abound in love one towards one another, and towards all men (1 Thessalonians 3:11- 4:1). It pleases our Father to cause us to abound more and more!

C. Our fears may hinder our talents.
The servant who had only one talent went to hide it. He was afraid of his master. His fears are a result of a bad relationship and incorrect knowledge of who his master was. His view of his master is that of a tyrant which is the exact opposite of the views of the other two servants. Their views of the master was that of a blesser, and someone they delight to work for. This third servant has unfounded fears for the very wrong reasons.

Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God
which is in you through the laying on of my hands.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear,
but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
2 Timothy 1:6-7

We are to stir up the gift of God in us and use it. We cannot bury our gifts and talents. God has not given us the spirit of fear. If God has not given us this fear, who did? Satan, man and ourselves. Fear of the unknown, fear of what man may say or do to us, and fear of failure. Like a baby who is beginning to walk, he will have to keep on trying. Even if he falls, he must try again till he can walk. If' he is afraid of the pain of falling down and refuse to try walking again, he will be forever crawling on the ground.

The church is full of "babies"; spiritual babies. Some people have been in church for 20 years, and they still remain the same. Paul rebuked this group of people in 1 Corinthians 3:1-3:

And I, brethren, could not speak to you
as to spiritual people but as to carnal,
as to babes in Christ.
I fed you with milk and not with solid food;
for until now you were not able to receive it,
and even now you are still not able;
for you are still carnal.
For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you,
are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?

Spiritual babies still need people to spoon-feed them, and take care of their every need. They can only drink milk and eat no meat. They pose a real problem and heartache to the church. They take out a lot of the pastor's time, and many useful and precious resources are wasted. These time and resources could have been put to other purposes to win more people for Christ.

Jesus is very strict when His people hide and bury their only one talent. Unprofitable and unfruitful servants will be heavily punished, and will be cast into outer darkness where there are weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Jesus is coming back. Are we ready for His return? He is coming for a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but it should be holy and without blemish (Ephesians 5:27).

Any dead thing, any dead work, anything not good and not fit for our eternal dwelling places will be prohibited. God wants us to be full of life and fruitful, bearing much fruit.

Let's stir up the talents and giftings which God has placed in our lives and put them to kingdom purposes. Don't bury our talents again. The Master is coming back.

Written on:
4 August 2007