Today we’re going to look back at the parable we read in episode 49 and delve a little deeper into how that parable relates to our lives today.
Matthew 25 verses 14 through 30, “For it is just like a man about to go on a journey. He called his own servants and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents, to another two talents, and to another one talent, depending on each one’s ability. Then he went on a journey. Immediately the man who had received five talents went, put them to work, and earned five more. In the same way the man with two earned two more. But the man who had received one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. After a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. The man who had received five talents approached, presented five more talents, and said, “Master, you gave me five talents. See, I’ve earned five more talents.” His master said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You were faithful over a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Share your master’s joy. The man with two talents also approached. He said, “Master, you gave me two talents. See, I’ve earned two more talents. His master said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You were faithful over a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Share your master’s joy. The man who had received one talent also approached and said, “Master, I know you. You’re a harsh man, reaping where you haven’t sown and gathering where you haven’t scattered seed. So I was afraid and went off and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours. His master replied to him, “You evil, lazy servant! If you knew that I reap where I haven’t sown and gather where I haven’t scattered, then you should have deposited my money with the bankers, and I would have received my money back with interest when I returned. So take the talent from him and give it to the one who has ten talents. For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have more than enough. But from the one who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. And throw this good-for-nothing servant into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
I remember hearing this parable as a child and thinking it was literally talking about money. I really had this indignation in me that my lot in life would be to have a certain amount of money and that I was stuck with that. But, lets back up, it’s a parable. It’s not a direct one to one correlation. Jesus isn’t actually talking about money, in this parable when Jesus says talents being given by the master to the servants; he’s actually talking about Himself giving Spiritual Gifts to people who identify as Christians. 1 Peter 4:10 says, “Each one has received a gift, use it to serve others, as good stewards of the varied grace of God.” And 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 says, “Now there are different gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different ministries, but the same Lord. And there are different activities, but the same God produces each gift in each person.” So we’ve all been given them, these gifts from God.
Now the real key here is the statement in verse 15 where Jesus says that each one was given according to his own ability. In episode 42 we talked about judging your own ability to bear the fruits of the Spirit as being a good personal litmus test on whether or not you truly are a Christian. I believe Jesus is referring to the same thing here, only adding another layer to it. There are three servants in the parable that represent three different categories of people that identify themselves as Christians and to what extent they have embraced, and are walking in, the fruits of the Spirit in the season of life that they are in.
The first servant falls into category one. This type of Christian is all in, they have embraced and bear the fruits of the spirit to the nth degree, they are given the most spiritual gifts, they turn around and use those gifts in full time ministry, and they double what they are given. The second servant is just as committed a Christian as the first, but they aren’t exceling in bearing the fruits quite as well as those in category one. It’s not for lack of trying though, they just haven’t got there yet in this area of their life, or they used to be there and now there in a season of rest, or maybe they just aren’t built the same as those in category one. There are more possibilities to that scenario than I could cover here in these 10 minutes. But, with their fewer gifts they turn around and serve diligently in mainstream secular duties day to day, and they too double what they are given exactly the same as those in category one.
The third servant, however, is a whole different category than the first two. This is the person who probably identifies as Christian, but more spiritual than religious. They’re not necessarily bad people, but they aren’t really believers either. They don’t understand the relationship with The Creator available to them. They don’t embrace the fruits of the spirit or try to bear them. It is this person that is given the least of the gifts, they bury them, and do their best to ignore that they ever existed. In the end they are cast into outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth instead of enjoying eternity with God.
Now those in category number one aren’t any better than those in number two, they both double the gifts given to them and hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” from their master. At different times and seasons of their lives these believers move between these two categories serving the Lord diligently during those seasons. The folks in category three though are in for a rude awakening at the Judgment seat of Christ. So what do you do if you’re listening to this podcast and you think maybe you’re in category three? What is your next step? It’s right there in the parable that we read earlier.
Matthew 25:27, “You should have deposited my money with the bankers, and I would have received my money back with interest when I returned.” I know reading that raw like that doesn’t really answer the question so let me help you out. The money, we’ve already identified as the Spiritual Gifts that God has given you. The bank here would be the church or a ministry. You need to find a church or a ministry that you can use your gifts to serve at. I’m not just talking about throwing your money at a church or a ministry, that’s not going to cut it. You need to get in there with both hands and sweat a little. This will not only ensure that your Spiritual Gifts will grow interest for the Lord, but you will surely begin to truly believe, bear the Fruits of The Spirit, and perhaps move into categories one or two for the next season of your life. Then hopefully when the judgment comes you will have doubled your gifts and will hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” from the Master of us all.
Until next time…