Saturday, February 24, 2018

Focus on Faith Devotional

By "Using Our Talents"
Dec. 5, 2017 at 10:51 a.m.

In Matthew 25:14-30, is the parable about three servants entrusted with talents given to them by the master. A talent was the highest denomination of currency. "To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one" in verse 15. The lesson focuses on reward and punishment for faithfulness or the lack of it. When accounts were finally settled, those who had been good stewards were entrusted with more. "Faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things" (v. 21). Those who fail to take advantage of opportunities will be left with nothing. "Take the talent from him . . . Cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness" (vv. 28,30). Faithfulness is rewarded. Failure to use the gifts of God results in punishment. One can be a loser. Everyone is held accountable.

Surely the real emphasis of this parable is on the man with one talent. Maybe we feel a certain empathy for this man. Is what he did so bad? He simply took the talent that he was given and buried it in the ground. He knew the master was a rather harsh man; one who had great expectations of him. He put the talent away so that he could give it back upon the master's return. He wasn't like the dishonest steward in another parable who stole from the master and padded his pockets at he absent landlord's expense. He didn't do that. The one talent man simply played it safe and did invest his talent.

This master recognized the different capabilities of each steward, as he gave the talents to the three servants. Two of the stewards were will to assume the risks of making an investment and increase the master's talents that they had. They knew this was what their master expected. There was less pressure on them in one sense because it wasn't really their money they were investing. In another sense, there was more pressure because they were managing the account for someone else. The five- talent and the two-talent investors each doubled their investment. The one talent investor was afraid of the consequences of making a bad investment, so he took the money and hid it. When the master returns, we get an insight into what lay at the root of the foolish man's reluctance to invest. He had a harsh and inadequate view of his master. He was paralyzed by fear and took his one talent and buried it in the ground. The foolish investor said played it safe with his one talent.

What is the reaction of the master? He was pleased with the wise investors. He said, "Well done. You've been faithful with this little bit of responsibility. I'll give you the opportunity to have more responsibility." To the foolish investor, though he said, "You wicked and lazy servant." He lost his opportunity ever to do anything again for his master.

God never promised that we will get rich. He does give us an opportunity to invest our lives in something of eternal significance. To those who invest faithfully and wisely, he says, "Well done." What other pay do you need?



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