Making Much of What God Has Given You

14 “For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them. 15 To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey. 16 Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents. 17 In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more. 18 But he who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 “Now after a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. 20 The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you entrusted five talents to me. See, I have gained five more talents.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ 22 “Also the one who had received the two talents came up and said, ‘Master, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more talents.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 “And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed. 25 And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’ 26 “But his master answered and said to him, ‘You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed. 27 Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest. 28 Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’ 29 “For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. 30 Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
This parable is part of the Olivet Discourse which is found in Matthew 24 and 25.  Chapter 24 begins with Jesus predicting the destruction of the temple.  This revelation prompts his disciples to ask “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”  while thy sat on the Mount of Olives.  Jesus begins His answer by explaining to them that the world will become increasingly hostile toward believers and the message of the gospel.  He also gives signs to look for and warns about being misled.  The chapter ends with an admonition to be ready for His coming.  Jesus uses three parables to illustrate how we are to be prepared for His coming.  

The last of the three is the parable of the talents.  The parable says a man was about to go on a long journey.  He entrusts his possessions to three of his servants.  To one he gave five talents, to another, two talents, and to another one.  While the master was away, his first two servants invest what they have been given and doubled the investment.  The third servant digs a hole and buries his talent.  When the master returns, he calls his servants to account.  The first two servants bring their talents with their gains and present them to their master.  He commends them and gives them greater responsibilities.  The third servant makes excuses for why he failed to put the talents he was given to work to make a profit.  The master reprimands him for being lazy, wicked, and faithless.  He throws this servant out into the “outer darkness.”  

The Lord has entrusted us with certain resources and abilities.  These things are not only from Him but they belong to HIm.  Until the end of our days or Christ’s return, our job is to take what He has given us and use it for His glory and for His purposes and not for selfish ambitions.  He has given me the gift of administration that I use as I serve CrossPointe as Pastor’s assistant.  I’ve been given material gifts to bless others in their need. Even my trials, such as my cluster headaches can be used to encourage and to show compassion to others in the church who may suffer from chronic pain or illness.

Just as the second servant didn’t question why he was only given two talents instead of five like the first servant, we are not to compare what we have been given to what the Lord has given someone else in the church.  He gives each of us different amounts of responsibility and resources based on His pleasure.  We are just to be faithful and use what He has given us to serve Him.

We also must be on guard not to become lazy and “bury” what I’ve been given like the third servant.  At times, in our flesh, we’re tempted to stay in bed instead of getting up to meet a friend who may need encouragement because she lost her job or we refrain from helping someone with their rent payment because we’d rather use the money for a new pair of shoes.  
This is a dangerous attitude.  First, it is disobedient because we are entrusted with resources for the good of the body.  Second, we miss an opportunity to serve our Lord by serving His people.  And third, we steal from God by squandering what He has given us for our own purposes instead of His.

This parable motivates us to be a faithful steward of what the Lord has given us, to be found laboring faithfully for Him when He comes, and to be about His business for His glory.