We live in an era of time where traveling is rather easy, spontaneous, and quick in arriving at our destinations; at least compared to the days Jesus walked as a man with us. This story should be one of familiarity with our day. It is, however, a story of our Lord and Savior, His departure into the heavenlies, leaving with us His power, presence, and glory to share with others.
“For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.” Matthew 25:14 (KJV)
Jesus the King of kings descended in the incarnation of a new born babe, laid in a manger, and revealed to the lowest, common people, shepherds, and finally to the “wise men” who came from the East. Jesus grew as a child just as any child, yet He never sinned. Yes, that means that He faithfully obeyed His mother and adopted father [Joseph], and without so much as a whimper.
This child became a man who was called liar, deceiver, healer, king, physician, etc.. This man was sent by the Father in heaven to be the propitiation for the sins of mankind. He is the justifier. He is the Savior. He went to the cross bearing the sins of all the world. He not only bore our sins, but bore the wrath of God’s judgment upon sin. I am not sure many realize the tremendous pain, spiritual darkness, agony, and the rejection of God the Father. Why do I call these things to our remembrance? To get us where we are going.
When Jesus was with the disciples He told them that He would go away, and a Comforter would come (John 14:15-26; 16:5-16). Our Lord when He ascended (Acts 1) left with us His Spirit who should up in power on the day of “Pentecost” (Acts 2), and empowered the Church to do His work on earth. The goods which our Lord left us was the work of the ministry, the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the only true change effect in the world.
“And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.” Matthew 25:15 (KJV)
There was a period of time when dealing with spiritual gifts were a hot subject within many local churches. It should still be a matter of church operation, and it is a means of keeping church unity. When all members know their ministry; their task, and do it with all their heart; they will not be jumping into another area attempting to drive others to do their will. When the child of God is living by the Spirit of God, filled with the Spirit, performing their spiritual gift by the Spirit, then there will not be so many complications, combat situations, and/or beaten and defeated church members.
As Christians we have not only been given spiritual gifts, but we have also been entrusted with much material goods in this world as well. Just as we are STEWARDS of the spiritual gifts given us by God; as He has seen fit; so too, have we had distributed to our care material things to use as God would lead us. In this world, and particularly in the United States of America, all have been richly blessed. Even the poorest of the poor of all USA citizens would be counted wealthy in some parts of the world, just simply because they live here. Among Christians God has distributed wealth as he sees fit. In our verse above, Jesus says, “… to every man according to his several ability…”. Paul the apostle writes in 1 Corinthians 12:11,
“But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.” 1 Corinthians 12:11 (KJV)
We can see by this that the Lord is the one who has that determining wisdom to distribute as He pleases. It is not as the servants please. In the world of humanity there are some who can handle wealth, use it wisely, invest it wisely, and grow that small portion they were given. Though it is not said in this text the willful giving of the STEWARD is wise in sharing it with the less fortunate.
Some people are going to start crying “Well God is not fair”. Who are we to determine fairness? God has been accused of being unfair since the fall of man, and nothing has changed since then. Hear the cries of the people to whom Ezekiel preached, “Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal? are not your ways unequal?…’Yet saith the house of Israel, The way of the Lord is not equal. O house of Israel, are not my ways equal? are not your ways unequal?” Ezekiel 18:25, 29 (KJV). The Creator of the universe has the authority, and all rights to distribute gifts and material things as He so pleases.
With great expectations we look for His soon return. Looking for that soon return means we are to be, and ought to be ever faithful in the tasks He has given us.
“Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.” Matthew 25:16-18 (KJV)
Looking at the three above servants we see them go to immediate action. At least that seems implied. Their lord left, and left them in charge of these talents, or material wealth. The idea of the lord was that when he returned he would receive gain from what he had left them. He gives them no indication as to when he will return, but that he will return is understood.
One question that came to my mind in looking at this story is, “How well am I handling the goods which my Lord has left me?” I fear sometimes not too well. My salvation is secure through the blood of Jesus Christ, but my works for His kingdom and glory pale in comparison to His mighty work in me and for me.
The first servant was given “five talents” and went and did business with the same. It could have been the “Stockmarket” of the day, and he invested wisely, and this tells me that God and His Son Jesus are in favor of wise investing in material things; but I do want to emphasize “Wise Investing“. The lottery and gambling of any form is not investing. A home or house, land, business [legal and legitimate business], and others are good investments most of the time. This first servant doubled his talents.
The second servant was given “two talents”, and he also doubled his gifts. Now that is pretty wise investing. That is what God would have us do, realizing where we got it all in the first place.
The third servant who received only “one talent” probably thought, “What’s the use? It’s so little it will never amount to anything. So, I will just bury it in the ground”. If he had no personal use for it, then why did he not take it and do something with it; put it to work. You could say this is one example of someone being a double servant. This man was servant to the lord who left him with the talent, and he was also servant to the single talent. The servant let the minute amount he had determine his actions, rather than do something which would increase it.
What a blessing to use what God has given us and be blessed in seeing it used for the glory of His name. Whether it is spiritual gifts, or material things both have been left to us as the STEWARDS of God, to increase His kingdom, His glory, His power, and bring many lost souls into His kingdom.
“After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents” Matthew 25:19-28 (KJV)
The lord has been away for some time, and he returns to find some to bless, commend, and give. These servants appear before their lord with what they have done while he was away.
Everyone is a STEWARD of what they have. It has been given by God to all human beings to be STEWARDS of this planet and creation. It has also been given us, by God, to be STEWARDS of the blessings of this life. The problem arises when mankind has chosen to rebel against God, and chose to go his/her own way. Though mankind is basically in rebellion against God we are all still STEWARDS of all created things. We are not doing real well, mostly due to the sin condition in the hearts of all humanity.
Since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden the devil has had a hand in disguising his plans and purposes, and making them appear to be man’s and usually for the evil of the planet, mankind, and the universe.
There is coming a day of RECKONING. A day when all will give an account of their lives, and what they have done with what they have. We are not responsible for what we do not possess, but we are responsible for what we touch, and control. We are responsible for our personal relationship with the Lord. We are responsible for our sins. We are responsible for our family’s well being. We are responsible for our neighbors well being. We are responsible as citizens of the town, State, and Nation in which we live. We are responsible, and an give an account for every word we speak – good or bad. Here in the United States we have been given much, and with much comes much responsibility, and accountability.
Notice the justness of the lord. He tells the servant whom he had given “five talents”, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord”. He was a responsible and good STEWARD with what he had been entrusted, and he was rewarded for his STEWARDSHIP. The servant who had received “two talents” was told, “Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord”. He too was rewarded for his faithful STEWARDSHIP. The third servant was foolish with what he had received and buried it in the ground, and gaining nothing. It could give reference to Jesus’s words, “Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” Matthew 5:15-16 (KJV). This servant took what he had been given and hid it, buried it in the ground to rot, rust and/or decay. Could it be correct to say, “A gift unused is a gift abused”?
Let’s look at this third servant for a moment. What has been given him? An opportunity to expand his life’s work, and mostly that of his lord. An opportunity to do well for his family, yet he has shunned his gift. According to Jesus the words for him is, “Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents”. “Wicked and slothful servant…” those would be sad words indeed to hear from the mouth of our Lord. We must understand something, and that is that what we have been given; we have not earned; it is a gift. This life is a gift. Every breath we breathe is a gift. Every beat of our heart is a gift. What do we do with what we have? The “wicked and slothful” servant lost what he had hid in the ground, and it was given to the one who had been given the “ten talents”.
I can almost hear, “Well, that just ain’t fair.” “That’s not right.” “That’s not fair.” According to whom? You. Are you the one who determines what is fair, just or right in this world. If I were the owner of a large ranch or farm and hired people would I not have the right as the owner to pay what was fair and agreed on by all who work for me. I could pay according to what I saw in the individual. Much work and done well would warrant that I pay well. Little work, and work done without care, and done badly would warrant little pay, and maybe even firing. That may not be right for a nation which has labor laws, minimum wages, and laws which govern wages; but it is so in a land that is truly free.
Our God is just, right and good, and He will judge, and award as He sees fit. He will award those who will be faithful STEWARDS of what He has given. The first and greatest thing He has given is salvation in His Son Jesus Christ. What will you do with Jesus?
“For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 25:29-30 (KJV)
Some may like to think that there is no eternal punishment. Go ahead and think that if you must. You are not in agreement with God and His Word, therefore you are sadly mistaken. God has given an eternal soul to all mankind, and the Revelation says, speaking of those who are without faith in Christ, “There was found no place for them…” (Revelation 20:11), meaning no place in the presence of God; no place in heaven; no place in the glory of God. There is only one place and that place is the place Jesus Himself describes as the place “…where the fire is no quenched, and the worm dieth not” (Mark 9:44-48), and Jesus says in the above verse, “And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” If this is not an eternal place, then, tell me why is there “weeping and gnashing of teeth”?
Could someone say, “Well this only proves that we can never really know if we are saved,” or someone else might say, “Doesn’t this prove that we could lose our salvation?” Not at all. It proves that true believers will be faithful STEWARDS of grace, salvation, and good works. It proves that we have a Savior who never breaks a promise. He will complete what He has begun. A false faith – faith built on show, pretense, or hypocrisy; faith not on Jesus Christ will not save you. a false hope – hope without the promises of God; will not save you. The faithful STEWARDS of the grace of Jesus Christ will endure to the end, and be saved by the cross of Jesus Christ.
Jesus’s description of hell, “there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” is probably the most accurate description we have ever heard. Do you know that Jesus warned more about hell, than he spoke of heaven? Do you know that He went to the cross in order to save all those who will believe in Him from their sins which causes them to go there. Open rebellion against God is rejecting the only means of salvation He has offered to us; and that is the cross of Christ, His burial, and His resurrection. Do not rebel against Him.