(Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 19:12-28)
“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. 15 To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. 17 So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. 18 But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.”
Though the setting for these two parables could be different they both tell a story of a man who entrusted his servants with his wealth. Now, Matthew says that this master entrusted one man with five bags of gold (talent), another one with two bags and another with one – each according to his ability. This reminds me of a question we used to be asked when we were young- “what do you want to be when you grow up”. Mostly, the answer to this question would be what I figured as a child as the most revered and respected career. I want to be a doctor, pilot, teacher, policeman, lawyer, and the list continues.
In each of our minds, there is a thought that tells us that certain duties are better than others. We tend to exalt some chores than others. It is human nature. This happened to Mary and Martha too (Luke 10:38 – 42). Martha was resentful that Mary chose to stay by Jesus’ feet to be taught by Him. Though Martha received Jesus into their home, she grumbled that Mary could not help in the chores related to making Jesus comfortable. Without digressing from our topic (there could be another deeper lesson in this story too), I want to say that both of these chores were important, someone needed to prepare a meal for Jesus and the other needed to keep Him company and make Him comfortable in their home. The problem is – Martha grumbled on her chore.
19 “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’ 21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ 22 “The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’ 23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ 24 “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’ 26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. 28 So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. 29 for whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. “
Do you overlook or trivialize your responsibility, how often do we grumble? Sometimes our grumbling is a result of comparing our ability with that of others. We think we are not as talented (as they), we think we are not good enough (in comparison to others). We often ask God, why can’t I be a televangelist, a Doctor, lawyer, musician? Why am I not able to preach or even pray in public gatherings, why, why, why? We are grumblers- and we have mastered it. We think our abilities are insignificant! If our gift involves doing things that are rarely recognized, are we gladly doing it? Do we know that the greater the ability, the greater the responsibility? Your responsibility and my responsibility is what complete the equation. We are all members of the same body, each one of us with different functionality (Romans 12:4-8, 1 Corinthians 12:12-27, Ephesians 5:30).
Here is the challenge for us; the master expected results from EACH servant. Yes, they had different talents but the master expected each of them to have multiplied their talents according to their individual abilities. The servant with five talents could not have brought in one more, in this case he would have underutilized his potential and so is the servant with two. Why then was it so difficult for the one who was given one talent to multiply his talent? He was unable to move beyond his fear. He was too fearful, suspicious and distrustful and chose to bury his talent. And thus his reward was weeping and gnashing of teeth.
We are ALL talented in different ways. Some talents are more evident than others while others might be dormant in us waiting to be utilized. Since God, our master, is the one who determines who gets what talent (He knows our ability), let us not dwell on who got what. What matters is what we do with the opportunities and the abilities God has given us. Can God refer to us as faithful good servants? Note the contrary language Jesus uses to refer to the third servant with one talent- wicked, lazy servant! This servant brought back everything as given but still he was referred to as wicked and lazy – he chose to hide and hoard to his talent.
In this parable inaction equals wickedness, laziness and even worthlessness. Notice that none of these servants kept their talents or their increase; they all belonged to the master. In the same manner, our talents are not ours to keep they are God given and they are meant to edify the body of Christ. Our only reward (as that of the servants) is happiness as we share our talents with others and more importantly eternal happiness.
Posted on January 5th, 2011 by admin
Filed under: Parables of Jesus