Each of us has been given a gift. What are we doing with these gifts? We get so excited about giving gifts to others. Sometimes we are even more excited about giving than we are about receiving gifts. Ultimately, what do we want that person to do with the gift we gave them?
God has created us, He knows us, He thinks about us.
Matthew 25 has the parable of the talents. A master is giving gifts to his servants and we read their response to these gifts. We have given our lives to Christ. God has given us gifts. What do we do with these gifts?
God gives us time, resources and abilities.
14“For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. 15To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away.
In the beginning a man is going on a journey and he gives his servants gifts. This parable is about what Christ has done for us.
The word, “talent” means different things. Here it’s a measure of weight. Weight was used in measuring currency. In our time now we use this word to refer to someone’s abilities: mental capacity, athletic ability, musical ability etc… This meaning comes from the origin of the word “talent.” God has given each one of us unique abilities and this is what it means when someone says you’re talented.
By one measure, a talent was equal to twenty year's wages, so two talents were equivalent to what you would earn in a lifetime! Even the one talent gift was a very large sum of money. These gifts raised the status of these servants. It was VERY unusual for servants to be entrusted with money.
You and I have been given talents too. We need to understand what God has given us. God gives us gifts/investments based on our unique personalities and abilities. We are all equal before God. All lives are precious. We are equal but not given the same amount of gifts. Some of us are five talent people. You are the elite. God gave you a large gift so you can perform at a much higher level. Two talent people are even far above average. A one talent person, even what you have is a LARGE gift from God.
God has given us the ability to serve Him. Jesus has given us new life. God then gives us spiritual gifts. All people are entrusted with the things of God.
What do we do with what God has given us?
The Master goes away for a while. Time reveals who these servants are and it also will reveal who we are.
Time reveals our true nature.
19Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them.
What do we do with what we have been given? When you invest, you expect a return on your investment. For example, when you make cookies, you expect a sweet aroma to fill your house and you expect cookies when you pull the pan out of the oven. Your time and efforts produce cookies.
Jesus will come back. The expectation is that He will see results. God invests in us and there is an expectation that we will use what God has given us to better the world.
People see the Kingdom of God through you and I. They see the Kingdom of God when we serve.
Followers of Jesus are eager to serve.
16He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17So also he who had the two talents made two talents more.
They went at once and began using their gifts. “Traded,” means work. When we understand what God has given us we know that we have the hope of the world: the Gospel! We are eager to serve when we know the goodness of God. Results will reflect what we have been entrusted with. Those who have been given much, much is expected of them.
We all want to be five talent people, but we have to be careful about comparing ourselves to others. We are jealous of what others have. We want more, but with less responsibility. When you and I use our gifts we will see great results. Believers find joy in serving God. One of the first things we see in the life of a new believer is a hunger for the Word of God and a desire to serve.
Failure to serve indicates that we don’t know God.
Lacking a willingness to serve indicates we don’t really know God. This raises some questions. The one talent guy blamed God for a lack of blessings in his life. He isn’t thankful and he didn’t use it. A lack of service means he doesn’t know who God is.
24He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’
He does nothing with his talent and returns it back to God. He says God is a “hard man reaping what you did not sow.” This is calling the Master a thief, and in essence is calling God a thief. He says God is unfair and unjust. He doesn’t think God is good. When we don’t understand who God is we aren’t going to serve.
Followers of Jesus understand who God is: good. We have been given grace. Those who do not understand this hold on tightly to whatever they have. They have no desire to serve. We understand everything is God’s. We know our Master has given us gifts of eternal security, grace, mercy, the blood of Jesus, etc… The one talent person isn’t free to serve. If you live in fear, you misunderstand God. God truly loves us and has given us this good gift. God gave you whatever you have. He knows who you are.
The one talent group doesn’t even open their gift. They think God is cruel and unjust. They give back to God a life that has done nothing. Those who hide their gifts in the ground spend eternity separated from God. Those who understand are rewarded for their faithful service and receive trust. Teens, I know you long for trust from your parents. The secret to how trust is given is right here in verse 21:
The reward for faithful service is greater trust.
21His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’
Trust is earned. When your parents see you can be trusted in small things, they entrust you with more. God entrusts us with more in the same way.
You can do the math. Calculate two and a half times your lifetime earnings. To God, even two and a half your lifetime earnings is very small! We spend so much time and energy to get our earnings. God says, “That’s a little bit.” God will say that was just pocket change! This is preparation for what we will do for eternity. It’s a joy to serve God. It’s a privilege to serve God and be entrusted with much.
Years ago in Virginia, a man in my church called and asked me to make some visits with him. He picked me up and one of the places was pretty far away. He wanted to share the Gospel with those we were visiting. This man ran off the road a few times while I was in the car with him. I thought, “Worst case scenario, I die and enter into Heaven with my friend Corbin.” I began praying I wouldn’t die. The first visit went well and we were in the car headed to the second visit when he asked, “Can I ask you a favor?” “Please don’t tell my wife about this. I’m not supposed to be driving and my doctor said I’m not even supposed to leave the house, but I couldn’t just sit at home when I know there are people who don’t know Jesus.”
There’s a burning passion within the heart of a believer that drives us to serve. We have to serve. It compels us. This isn’t about business principles and strategies. This is about family. Enter into your eternal family. It’s a joy to serve if you’ve given your life to Christ. We receive a joy far beyond what we could ever imagine.
Father, give us a passion to use what you have given us!
What are you doing with what God has given you?
Sermon notes are taken, transcribed and posted by Jeni Martin Johnson