“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.”
God entrusts us with gifts, resources, and skills. He created us and gives us each according to our own abilities and skill sets.
He calls HIS servants and gives us from HIS resources. He doesn’t call the world or tell us to figure out how to gain what we need to accomplish his will.
In this parable, He left without giving specific instructions on what to do with what he gave them. They seemed to have had an open invitation to use what was entrusted to them in whatever way they saw fit.
“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.’”
The first two servants received the same response. “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your lord.” One had gained five talents and the other two talents. But both had done what they could with what they were given. Both had acted wisely.
How I want to hear God say that to me! And it actually seems pretty doable…do what we can with what we have. Be faithful in our service to God no matter how small a matter it may seem.
Then we come to the last servant.
“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.’”
This servant was fearful and didn’t even try to do anything with what his lord gave him. He simply put it away and hid it from view. Why? Perhaps because he didn’t love or respect his master? Perhaps because it was too much work? Perhaps because he was afraid of losing what little he had?
“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.’”
And now we find out that the true reason for the last servant’s failure was that he was wicked and lazy. He didn’t want to serve his master. If he had done even the smallest thing of depositing the money in the bank, his lord would have been happy with him. But his refusal to attempt to do something with what he had received infuriated the lord.
So what he had was taken from him and given to another. And he was cast out. Does that seem harsh? I mean, we’re talking about Jesus comparing this to the kingdom of heaven! Can this be an accurate picture?
It must be because Jesus said it, He picked this parable to explain what heaven was like. What is heaven like? It is God giving the earth to us and supplying each of us with a set of talents and resources. He then lets us choose what we do with them.
If we use them wisely, we enter into His joy. If, however, we squander them, hide them, and don’t even attempt to use them, we will be stripped of what we have and it will be given to someone else.
Does God want perfection? No, He wants us to use what He gives us. He wants us to try. He wants us to look expectantly for His return.
Don’t be afraid to try, to take risks, to stretch beyond yourself. Because unlike the lord in the parable, God is always with us and He will lead us and guide us into His will as we attempt to use His resources wisely.
Focus on what God puts in your hands. Use what God gives you.
I pray we all hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant” when we enter the presence of God.