Jan 31st, 2021
Hello and welcome to season 3 episode 15 of The Berean Manifesto, 10 minutes or so a week of Faith, Hope, and Love for the modern Christian. I’m Pastor Bill of The Ekklesian House and in this installment we will be talking about talents. Well… I don’t want to deceive anyone, we’re talking about being a good steward. Although even that isn’t direct enough. We’re going to be talking about money.
So far in 2021 we’ve been relaying the basics, and this week is part of that series. In week one we talked about the Sabbath, the importance of having a weekly Sabbath and the practicality of it. Week two, had us looking at tithing – 10% of your increase that you give to God, with week three refocusing us on living the Berean Lifestyle - taking ownership of our own study of the Bible, not believing everything we hear taught until we prove it ourselves. In week four we talked about what God called prostitution – betraying our first love by trading our hearts to idols, including, perhaps, certain aspects of religion. Which brings us here where we’re going to talk about money.
Now, as a general rule, I only talk about giving or tithing once a year – more if the Spirit prompts, but I firmly believe it’s the Lord who provides for ministry, both ours and others, and He’ll prompt your giving if He wants to provide for a ministry through you. And money in general, in the almost four years that we’ve been producing The Berean Manifesto, we’ve never talked about money. Listen, I don’t want your money and I feel like there are great resources out there to help you manage your finances correctly and more or less that kind of thing should be left between you and God. However, I won’t deny the promoting of the Holy Spirit, so here we are talking about money.
Right, amongst other things, I said we were talking about being a good steward. A steward is someone who is given something of value to take care of and protect until the rightful owner can assume or reassume responsibility and control. Let’s read a parable from Matthew 25 where Jesus talks about three servants who are placed in positions of stewardship of different amounts of money. The parable itself, considering verse 30 may very well be talking about religion and the Gospel, but the concept is sound and can be applied at face value concerning finances.
In Matthew 25:14-30 CSB Jesus says, “ ‘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.'’”
For our purposes let’s swap out talents with income. Looking back at verses 15-18, The master entrusted one servant with an income five times the poverty level, to another two times the poverty level, and the third he paid right at the poverty line, depending on each one's ability. Right quick let’s do some math on what that looks like. The current poverty line for an individual in the United States is $12,760/year. At the current federal minimum wage of $7.25/hour this guy must work a minimum of 34 hours a week for 52 weeks a year – no vacations. So already this guy is treating his employees better than most employers in the United States, as most minimum wage jobs in the US won’t schedule more than 29 hours so they don’t have to offer health benefits, effectively preventing their employees from getting out of poverty and at the same time from having affordable access to a doctor. These numbers mean the second guy at twice the poverty level was getting paid $25,520/year, and the first guy, at five times the poverty level, $63,800/year. So, none of these guys are getting rich in their day jobs.
Then the master went on a journey. Immediately the man who had an income at five times the poverty level went, put his finances to work, and doubled what he had been given. In the same way the man with two times doubled what he had been given. But the man who had finances right at the poverty line went off, dug a hole in the ground, and hid what he had. Notice the only difference between the three servants is the amount they were earning based off of their ability. It doesn’t say anything about any of them being lazy or wasting their time and money on vices like drugs, alcohol, gambling, temporary companionship, or what have you. In this example, they all have their lives mostly put together and are living pretty clean lives. Also, take note in the original parable there is no mention of anyone having less than one talent, in its truest interpretation of the parable everyone alive since the time of the resurrection of Jesus is presented a path to find Christ, who IS the only eternal salvation. For our purposes this works well with what we were saying in our Sunday Live Church Online when we were discussing tithing. If you’re below the poverty line and taking handouts to survive because you have nothing coming in, then you’re not tithing because you tithe off of what’s coming in and if you have nothing coming in then you have nothing to tithe off of. So, if you find yourself hurting, and truly lacking financially then focus on letting the Lord restore you.
The first two servants took what they had, not a fortune, but what they had and didn’t blow it on temporary and fleeting things, but utilized it to make it increase. I want you to take this line of thinking one step further and replace talents or income with the idea of prosperity. We are all prospered differently, and it is not limited to finances. We’re talking about finances, health, relationships; the list goes on. The point is that whether you are talking about talents, income, finances, or prosperity the concept is to use what you have to improve the world around you. Be a good steward of what the Lord has provided you.
This is Pastor Bill saying, “Until next time…”