In todays world, God has strategically placed His church in a position to demonstrate the reality of His kingdom to a world devoid of love, soundness, and compassion. But, it is to this world that the church is charged with showing the characteristics of kingdom life that Jesus demonstrated while He was here on earth. While here, Jesus showed compassion for those who were poor, sick, or afflicted by the devil. He preached to the people, healed the sick, confronted the hypocrisy of the religious elite, and continually explained that His actions were a result of the Kingdom of God having come to earth. You and I, as believers, have been commissioned to serve as emissaries of this kingdom. Christ sends us out as sheep among wolves (Matthew 10:16) to carry out the expansion of this already and not yet kingdom, of which we are citizens. This sounds like a very daunting task, and indeed it is. However, Jesus does not send us out into this environment empty-handed. He provides us with the equipment needed to fulfill the calling on our own specific life. He gives us what is called a stewardship, that is, the responsibility of carefully utilizing and managing something on behalf of someone else.
Today we will look at a parable that describes that stewardship and what God expects from each one of us in terms of how we utilize what God has given us. Whether we view ourselves as equipped or not, Scripture tells us that each of us has been gifted and enabled uniquely to fulfill our own calling and ministry in the Kingdom of God.
Observations For connecting the passage to the previous verse.
(v 14) The master entrusts his goods to his servants. Eph 4:8
(v 15) He gave to each one according to their abilities.
a. A talent here simply represents a resource of some kind.
i. Tangible Resources money, properties, humans
ii. Intangible spiritual gifts, natural abilities and acquired skills
iii. The talents represent whatever resources God has entrusted to us (not only money and material goods, but intelligence, physical and natural abilities, spiritual gifts, opportunities of all kinds
b. He gave to each one what they were capable of dealing with.
i. According to their own unique ability
c. He did not give too much nor too little.
d. Then he left
(v 16) The first doubles his masters investment.
a. He immediately went to work.
b. He did not wait until the last minute to try to put something together.
c. A 100% profit was considered a normal benefit for such dealings.
(v 17) The second doubles his masters investment in the same fashion as the first.
(v 18) The third did nothing with his masters investment.
(v 19) The master was absent a long period of time.
(v 20) The first servant presents his earnings to his master.
(v 21) The master lauds his performance and promises more.
(v 22) The second presents his earnings to the master.
(v 23) He receives the same reward as the first.
(v 24) The third speaks unfavorably of the master, accusing him of being unfair.
(v 25) He was afraid to try anything with what his master gave him.
(v 26) He is labeled wicked and lazy.
(v 27) He is confronted for not even doing the obvious.
(v 28) His one talent is given to the first servant.
(v 29) The promise of Gods multiplied blessing is given to those who are faithful.
(v 30) The unprofitable servant is cast out.
1) God knows our capabilities and our limits better than we do. v 15.
2) God does not micro-manage us. He entrusts resources to us. v 15.
3) Little/Big He who is faithful in small things will be given bigger things. v 21.
a. Joseph had to be a good slave before he could be a good prime minister.
4) The call here is to faithfulness not comparative productivity. v 23.
a. While the second did not produce as much as the first, he showed himself to be just as faithful.
b. Note that the second stewards reward was the same as the firsts.
5) Attitude in the kingdom is everything. v 24.
a. The first two viewed the master very differently than the third.
b. Unhealthy fear can be a negative motivator.
i. The third man stated he feared the master, calling him unfair.
6) Use it or lose it.
a. The resource of the last man is taken away from him. v 28.
b. If we dont utilize what God has given us, it will disappear.
7) Use it and Lollapalooz it
. that is, make it exceptional, extraordinary.
8) Jesus will banish those who reject their minimal stewardship responsibility. (DeLashmutt)
1) Begin with obvious areas of stewardship in your life.
a. Time, tithing & giving, serving, gifting, ability.
2) Dont make the mistake of wanting to be a five when you are only a two
. or vice versa.
3) Work on your attitude towards God. Is He good or is He unfair?
4) Start somewhere.
1) What are some of the resources I see in my life that I could make more use of for God?
2) How will I begin to implement using those resources?