Being raised within the Christian school system and Church, I have heard the parable of the talents/three servants over and over and over and over again. But to be honest, it has always been the one parable of Jesus that I never cared for. If you don’t know this parable it is found in Matthew 25:14-30 and you can view it here. To be honest, every time I have heard it, I couldn’t help but sympathize with the servant who only received one talent and hid it until his masters return.
I can’t speak for everyone, but if my boss gave me some money to hold onto until he returns, I would definitely put the money away. The money is his, not mine, and he trusted me to hold onto it. There is no way I would go out and use it. I would put it away somewhere safe until he returns. If I knew he would be gone for a long while, I would probably consider using some of it on occasion if I wanted something, didn’t have the money currently, but knew I could replace the money before my boss got back. But never would I go out and invest all of it. Not my money, not my risk to take. So I’ve always had trouble with this parable.
Different translations refer to the money differently, some call it ‘coins,’ some ‘silver’ and others ‘talents,’ my favorite is talents. I like the talents translation simply because in the english language we view talents as skills instead of money and it creates a parallel context to these verses. I’m sure if you have heard anyone teach on these verses you have heard someone teaching it using the talents illustration instead of just limiting it to money.
I want to look at the servant who received one talent from his master a little more in depth and how I believe it can really relate to you and I and challenge us at servants to Christ.
We all have received gifts of talents from God, not everyones are the same, but we all have them. Some of them may be with children, some teaching, understanding, love, patience, money, leadership, servanthood, straight A student, so on so forth. I’m sure you can recognize some of the gifts God has given you. Now let us look at these gifts and apply them to this parable. In this parable there are three servants, but really only two types of servants. You have the servant who invests his talents, and the one that doesn’t. Which are you? Hold on, don’t be so quick to answer.
You have your talent, whatever it maybe, but what are you doing to invest in your talent? How are you making your talent grow? This question is not, how have you used your talent, but how have you invested in it to help it grow? God wants us to invest in our talents that way we can grow and He can give to us more responsibilities. Look at what the master said to the first servant in verse 21:
“The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’
This was also the same response to the servant that received two talents. God wants to use the talents He has given us through us. He wants us to grow through our talents that way He can use us even more.
The third servant though, only receiving one talent, hid it away until his master returned. I see this as for example, as being gifted with the talent of working with children, but only using the talent when the children come to you, only using the talent when it is convenient. But that is not investing in the talent to make it grow. How are you making your talent grow? What are you intentionally doing to not only use your talent(s) but to invest in them?
We see all of the big leaders and wish to be like them, but think there is no way you can do it. That is just to big of a step. But if you ask anyone who excels at anything how they got there, the answer is going to be through the little things. Over time the little things added up to make big changes. This goes in two directions. You can intentionally seek God through the investment in your talents, or you can unintentionally follow the devil by not investing in them. God gave you your talents because He has something special planned for you through them, something great, but if you aren’t investing in them, you won’t be able to reach the special thing God had planned for you, resulting in a victory for the devil. Think about how that can apply in your own life. There are endless directions this can go, so how does this apply to you personally?
In the end, this world is nothing but an illusion. It’s not the physical things that matter, but the spiritual things. After we live our life here on earth there is only two destinations, heaven or hell. You are either chasing God, or chasing the devil. If you are only lukewarm, you’re following the devil.
But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!
If you’re not intentionally seeking God, you are unintentionally seeking the devil. Which are you? Could being lukewarm be considered as being unintentional? Think about it.
Matthew 25: 29-30
To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away. Now throw this useless servant into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’