What is God’s purpose for you? Is there any significance or work of significance? While you wait for the return of Jesus, what does he call you to do? Is there anything of significance for this time, anything worthwhile that you might contribute? A priest may have significant work, but not me. Maybe Keith, but not me. Maybe Elon Musk, but not me.
This parable is part of a section of Scripture in which Jesus begins teaching on the end time and the coming of the Son of man. He then gives several parables on what the end times will be like and how his followers will wait on him. The kingdom is like a man going on a journey and entrusts his goods and possessions to his servants. The parable is about how people are to wait for the kingdom of God. The master is away, the servants will work. Not the mice play when the cat’s away. This is a time that we are to be working diligently, knowing our master will return and give an accounting. This parable shows what being faithful to God looks like while we wait for his return.
Each Has Talent to Steward
Notice that each servant receives a gift. They receive a talent. A talent was a large unit of weight. It would typically be a talent of gold, silver, copper. And these are large measurements so it would mean a considerable amount of money. Even 1 talent.
Each is entrusted with a measure of talents that they are to put to use for the master. Each receives something to be faithful with. Different talents and different weights. Different giftings and different aptitudes. Gifted in business. One might manage a million-dollar company and one might manage a billion-dollar company. Sing for hundreds, and another sing for millions.
There are many things you could do. Some things you can do well, a few exceptionally. Gift mix.
No Such Thing as Island of Misfit Toys
Rudolph. Remember there is a Charlie-in-the-box, no kid wants to play with a Charlie, they want a Jack-in-the-box. A choo-choo with square wheels, cowboy who rides an ostrich, a boat that can't stay afloat. Relegated to the island of misfit toys. Not the case here. When a toy that no little boy or girl wants or loves they are taken to this place.
The master calls his servants and entrusts them with talent. God has entrusted you with talent.
We all have a calling before God. No one is going to stand before God and say I had nothing to prove faithful with. God gave me no gifts. He gifts and empowers his people to have dominion in the world.
No such thing as sacred vs. non-sacred work. Everything is infused with meaning.Everything is infused with opportunity for kingdom work. This is how we wait for the kingdom: we are to put our gifts to work for our master, to serve his designs.
In the Middle Ages there was a big disparity between priestly work and the work of common people. If you want to serve God, become a priest. The work of common people wasn't important. If you are important, stop working in the field and serve communion. Read and pray all day. Those are important, but this shows that all gifts are infused with new meaning. Whatever gift you have, use it for God.
“There is no work better than to please God; to pour water, to wash dishes, to be a cobbler, or an apostle, all are one; to wash dishes and to preach are all one, as touching the deed, to please God.” William Tyndale
This teaching means that everyone has been given something they can use for the Lord. They have an opportunity right now to shape the world, to shape the kingdom of God. No one is excluded or left out.
Each is gifted, therefore…
Each must prove faithful
The owner entrusts them with his possessions and goods. They are not their own possessions. They belong to another.
- Your gifts are not for personal fulfillment, but for divine faithfulness.
- You will be most fulfilled when you are most faithful. When your gifts are used in harmony with God’s design and purposes. Using your gifts to oppose him will end in ruin.
Simply need to be faithful with what is given. It elevates your view of who you are. No one is insignificant, certainly not to God. If you have one talent then steward that one talent well.
Also see that it's not ultimately your talent. It's the Lords. He entrusts you with it. Your money. Your ability. Your kids. This humbles you. Sometimes we become more concerned with the gift than the giver. We want to honor God with our gifts. So how do we do that?
William Perkins, “The true end of our lives is to do service to God in the serving of mankind.”
We are to use our gifts to honor God. In doing that we do good to others. Cyber security. Insurance. Cooking.
Types of talent:
- Talent. It is a weight. This parable changes the way the word is used. We now refer to talent not just as money, but skills and ability. You have an ability; you have a talent. Athletic talent. Singing talent. Managing talent. Ability to build things. Talent is skills and abilities. Are you using your talent for God’s purposes? God-given gift. Everyone.
- Treasure. Talent was a measure of money. It's an obvious connection to the parable. What were they to invest in? Verse 27 mentions that he ought to have invested his money. We should think about our money, not as ours, but as something entrusted to us by God. Not given for your own pleasure. Yes, you earned it. But who gave you the ability to work, who gave you health, who gave you the opportunity? It is all from God. Are you using your wealth to advance God’s kingdom?
There is a two-fold point to this. The parable of the talent infuses us with purpose in all of life. It should light a fire under us and keep us from thinking ourselves useless. It also should inspire us not to take our giftings too seriously. They are not ours. We are stewards. We do what he allows us to do.
- Time. They are waiting for their master to come back. That time is something to prove faithful to. The lazy servant waited too long and did nothing. He wasted his talent. He wasted his time. Some of you may be missing the moment of opportunity. You are not using your talent(s).
- Teachings. This is about the kingdom of God. It is about how we wait for it. We want to be busy working to spread his kingdom, and the kingdom of God is not a nation, it is not a geopolitical nation. It is the reign and rule of God in the hearts of people. This is what we are to labor after.
There is a general calling that is common to all. There is also a special calling that is specific to believers. We are stewards of God’s word. We are called to steward the gospel. Are you stewarding his word and the hope you have, or are you hiding it under the bed?
Church. We need to be rewired in how we think about ourselves and others, about our purpose and identity.
Life now is not about us fulfilling our dreams: making more money, fixing up our houses, making websites with better graphics and resolution. We want others to know what we are waiting on. We are waiting for the kingdom. Everything you own is a gift from God and you will have to give an account of it to him for how you have used it. Will you prove faithful?
Friend who was depressed and felt work was meaningless. Had a great job in finance with a great company. Longed to make a difference in the lives of others. Did work well, but saw no way to connect her work to advancing the kingdom of God. It's sad, how many people sit on the job wondering if what they do there matters at all. Yes, you have a purpose. Yes, you have work that should be done for the good of others. Yes, you have a higher purpose in life than just making money, doing good through your work. You have an opportunity to share with others about the kingdom of God that gives you peace. Injects meaning into all of life. Gives joy when all goes wrong.
Each will Give an Account
Old saying, you have to inspect what you expect. God is the greatest boss and manager there is. He will reward appropriately. He calls them each to give an account.
Do you ever see people at work do things they shouldn't do and get away with it? Ever wonder why God allows people who do wrong to prosper? People use their gifts to take advantage of others. People fail to advance God’s kingdom and things seem fine. But one day, he will call each person to account.
The faithful enter into the joy of the master. Joy of being in God’s presence. It is his delight. God’s presence and kingdom should bring you joy and purpose now, so to enter into his approving presence will be the greatest fanfare you could ever experience.
In the movie Chariots of Fire, Eric Liddell tells his sister “I believe God made me for a purpose. But He also made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.” Eric knew the meaning of being a “champion rejoicing to run his course” (Psalm 19:5). He was able to accomplish great things because He truly did all for the glory of God.
Psalm 4:7, You have given me more joy than when all their wine and grain abound.
There is a reward for being faithful. He doesn’t call them to be perfect, but does call them to be faithful. That is called a good and faithful servant.
There is also another side for those who are not faithful. Who do not use their gifts for him, do not use the time, talent and treasure that says he is first. Who hear about the calling to steward spiritual truths in the kingdom of God and simply shrug their shoulders.
Fear held them in bondage. Fear of others, of the world, was greater than the fear of the master coming back. In Christ you can face your fears. In
Christ and the fact that he is alive, you can face those fears.
Cast that worthless servant out. If he has given gifts to us, then it is right for him to expect them to be used for him. Those who refuse to honor him will be judged. These are people gifted by God, an awareness of the kingdom, but a refusal to do much at all with their gifts, and specifically their gifts to advance the kingdom of God. Worthless. Lazy, lacking in ambition.
We live in a world where everyone is striving hard after their own kingdom. They are using their gifts for their own good. Much activity, but no concern for reaping for God’s kingdom.
Have to ask ourselves how we are doing with the things God has blessed us with. Are we using them for our own enjoyment or for his glory? If we aren’t, how purposeful are we in growing? Does your life reflect that Jesus has been raised from the dead, that he is bringing a kingdom that will never perish, and that he has a purpose for you to play in the shaping of that kingdom? Do you believe? Do you believe you are a steward of the grace of God? If so, it will shape you.
I started playing tennis a few years ago and love it. It's one of my favorite sports ever. It’s a great old man's game. A friend got into it about the same time. He had never played and couldn’t believe he had missed out on so much. He began researching it, reading on it, getting to know the rules and history. Went to buy a racket and made a spreadsheet of all the pros and cons of each racket and what he needed. How many people can relate to a hobby like that? Well, how much more ought we to pursue knowing God? He has made it clear what we are to be and do. And the first step in being a steward, a person who has something of value and a place and part in God’s kingdom, is to know what he calls us to do.