I was reading the Parable of the Talents this morning [Luke 19:11-27 / Matt 25:14-30] and it kinda hit me in a new way. Jesus tells this story of a master who gives three servants three different amounts of money – Matthew tells us it was five talents, 2 talents, and 1 talent each according to their ability.
OK, so stop right there. Does God still give us things according to our ability to handle them well for His glory? I think the answer is yes…we all have been given different gifts, abilities, and life situations – each custom designed by a sovereign loving God to fit who we are, where we are and what we can do to bring glory and honor to Him.
So, back to our story – the master goes away and the first two servants invest the money and when the master returns they give it back to him with interest. Obviously, the master is happy about this.
So, again…stopping to ponder – when Jesus does return and when we stand before him to give an account. [Rom 14:10-12]. Those who are followers of Jesus will not be judged for our sin, (that already happened on the cross, and when you trusted in Jesus you were instantly justified) – we will be judged for our lives – our actions – what we did with what he gave us. I think this story tells us that we are supposed to be growing God’s gifts to us. Are you growing what he has given you? We are getting closer to New Years’ resolution time BTW…
The master then gets to the third servant who, out of fear, doesn’t invest what the master gave him. Instead he hides it. When the master returns, the servant says “Here is your money back. It’s all there. I didn’t lose any of it!” The master is pretty ticked off, yes…he didn’t lose any of it, but he didn’t gain anything either which was the point – the servant was supposed to make more with what he has been given and he didn’t do that.
I was reading a commentary on this passage this morning that had this to say about the third servant —
He is a believer who has not found the state of grace offered by Jesus so brilliant as he hoped – a legal Christian who has not tasted grace, and knows nothing of the gospel but it’s severe morality. It seems to him that the Lord gives very little to exact so much. With such a feeling, the least possible only will be done. God should be satisfied with us to abstain from doing ill, from squandering our talent. [Godet, Commentary on Luke, 222]
The sum of Christianity is not keeping the rules and waiting around for Jesus to return and we can go to heaven. This story tells us that God has given each of us something, according to who we are in his sovereignty – and we are called to be responsible and grow what he has given us and bring him glory. Not to just keep the rules and hide our gifts. Out of the astounding grace that he has shown us in Jesus – why wouldn’t we?
Who are you more like today? The third servant or the first two?