“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. 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.” (Matthew 25:14-15)
I believe that the Parable of the Talents is one of the most important parables our Lord ever spoke. From it we can learn four very important principles about what it means to be a Christian.
1) The Principle of Ownership
Note that Jesus said that the owner called together his servants and entrusted each of them with a portion of his possessions. The bags of money did not belong to them. It belonged to their master. The Bible says, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it…” (Psalm 24:1) We must never forget that everything there is (our homes, our finances, our family, even our lives) belongs to God.
2) The Principle of Responsibility
Jesus said that the owner entrusted to each servant, (according to each one’s ability to manage,) a portion of his estate. He was the owner and they were his stewards. A steward is someone who manages another’s property. We are stewards of what God entrusts to us.
“The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.” (Matthew 25:16-18)
3) The Principle of Accountability
“After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 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.’ 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!’ 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.’ 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!’
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. So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’ 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? 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.’ ‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. 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. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’” (Matthew 25:19-30)
The Bible says, “For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:11-12) What many believers do not realize is that one day each of us will stand before the Lord and give an account of what we have done with the life God has given us. We will be accountable not only for what we have done with the treasures He has entrusted to us, but also the talents.
3) The Principle of Reward
According to Jesus, one of two things will be said to us. Either we will hear our Lord say:
– ‘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!’
– or, ‘You wicked, lazy servant!’
How sad it will be for those who have done little or nothing for the cause of Christ. Many may say, “Who cares about rewards as long as I get to heaven.” Yet the question some ask is, “Will such a person be in heaven?”
Concerning this lazy servant, our Lord said, “…throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” There is much debate as to what our Lord actually meant by these words, but many have concluded that bearing some sort of fruit is evidence of a genuine salvation experience, and therefore someone who professes to be a believer, yet is fruitless, is probably not a true believer.
I close today’s study with these words from C.S. Lewis:
“Every faculty you have, your power of thinking or of moving your limbs from moment to moment, is given you by God. If you devoted every moment of your whole life exclusively to His service, you could not give Him anything that was not in a sense His own already. (Mere Christianity)