Today’s devotion is brought to you by Pastor Samuel Nebout
The passage to read is given above… but of course, I know you can’t be bothered to read it so I’ll make it easy for you. It’s the story about a master who gives his three servants talents. The first servant gets 5 talents, the second 2 talents and the third 1 talent. He leaves them with his properties in expectation of some kind of return from it. After a long absence, he discovers what each servant has done with his property. The first two servants do business with the master’s talents and double their money. Although the first servant earned more than the second, each has done remarkably well with what he has been given. They have performed according to their potential, and they have been faithful to do what the master has required of them. Their faithfulness had increased the master’s wealth and expanded his estate. The master’s response to each is the same. He commends the servants for being good and faithful, entrusts them with more authority, and invites them to enter his “joy.”
The third servant is not so fortunate. He admits that he was afraid to lose the master’s money. To protect himself, he buried the talent in the ground. In response the master got really angry and sent the servant to…hell!! A bit harsh isn’t it?
Most of us reading this post claim to belong to God and to be his servant. Let me encourage you today to step up a gear and to live fully for the glory of your master. The most important thing you have right now is the opportunity to put a smile on the face of your master. You exist for this purpose, and when He looks at your life, that’s what He is expecting to see: an expansion of His kingdom. So He wired you with gifts and abilities, and created the opportunities that would enable those gifts to be used for His glory.
This is what the parable is all about: God’s given opportunities must be grasped at all cost. God has entrusted you with them, so don’t mess it up.
You will hear loads of messages on this parable telling you that you need to invest your money so that God can increase you, or that God has given you different talents and abilities not to be despised and buried into the ground. We are told that we must use our natural gifts to the full for Christ lest in the end we lose our reward, though of course, we will not lose our salvation. Well if we read properly, we’ll see that salvation is the very thing that is at stake in this parable. The last line of the story makes that crystal clear. Of the man with one talent, the returned master says, “Cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.”
The talent was a specific weight of silver, worth about a thousand dollars. Though it was a definite amount of money in the story the Lord told, it represents something other than money in our lives. Without turning my small exhortation into a Bible study, let me quickly say that the talents cannot represent the natural gifts we possess.
First, they belong to God only as they are God’s property. Only God controls them (v14). So as such they are not something which man can give.
Secondly the talents are clearly not natural abilities but are actually distributed on the basis of natural ability “to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability.” The number of talents given is determined by the number of natural gifts possessed.
Thirdly the talent is something that can be invested, be risked, with the possibility of producing gain or loss. The investment must be made wholly for the benefit of the absent Lord. Any profit would be the Lord’s.
What do we professed Christians have which is God’s peculiar property, which comes to us on the basis of natural ability, which requires a risk on our part, and that risk appears to benefit only the Lord and not ourselves? Golden moments of OPPORTUNITIES!
Opportunities to display gifts come to all kinds of people, Christian or not; but those opportunities which involve the possibility of gain to Christ come only to professed Christians. Such opportunities are moments of decision when we must choose to play it safe and get what we can for ourselves, or risk our reputation or even our life in order that God may have what he wants.
The first two servants of our parables were true servants of their master. They made full use of their given opportunities, not for their own advancements but for their Lord’s.
The third servant was sent to hell. This final scene therefore reveals that the worthless servant was not really a Christian at all. He looks like a Christian, somebody whose master is God, but in reality he was not so. So it is apparent that the talents are not distributed only to true believers but are given to false and true alike, that is, any who in any sense recognize the authority of the Lord and who claim to be his servants. God gives such people only one golden opportunity to give themselves to God; the opportunity to be redeemed. The real problem is that the third man had no intention of really being the servant he was pretending to be. In his selfish blindness what he did not realize was that his one chance to become genuine was to risk himself, by venturing with his master’s talent. To risk for Christ’s sake is to find oneself altered, redeemed, reborn. That one talent is given to all who are drawn to follow Christ. They have the opportunity to risk themselves upon his word and to trust his redeeming grace. Other opportunities for risk will follow that, but without that one investment there is no true value to life.
What is the final message of Jesus in telling this story? It is: Step out! Risk! Grasp your God given opportunities! Take constant chances with your life and goods for his name’s sake. Don’t try to bottle up your life so as to hang on to it at all costs, but surrender yourself to his cause, again and again. That is the way to live the abundant life. Have a great day stepping out!