Posted by on Nov 12, 2020 in Pastor's Blog | Comments Off on Fulfilling Our Responsibilities

Dear Lord….Thank you so much for seeing us through these past days. Thank you for your protection for us and your forgiveness for our shortcomings. Be with us as we continue to work through the unusual times we have been experiencing…show us how we can use our gifts and talents that you have given to us to spread your word to the people of our nation and world.

Our gospel lesson for Sunday, November 15 is from Matthew 25:14-30. Most Bibles have titled this section, “The Parable of the Talents”. I know I have used this for a sermon before. We have all read this section, I know…many times. Every time I have used it, the main topic was dealing with what “talents” meant in the time of Jesus. This subject was often about how money we have been given or have earned has been used in our world

However, I have realized that the meaning of this parable is much deeper than dealing mainly with the subject of money. Yes, the term “talents” to the people in Jesus time meant money. One talent was equal to 6,000 denarius. A normal wage in this time was one denarius a day so that the amount of money being given to the slaves in this parable equaled a great amount of money.

But, Jesus was talking about something totally different than money. In this parable, the kingdom of heaven is not the subject. The world the disciples and the people were living in was the subject. The “man” going on the journey was Jesus. In other words, Jesus was telling the crowd gathered about what would be expected from them while Jesus was gone from the earth…until His return. He was expanding the concept of “being ready”. Makes a big difference in how we read this section, doesn’t it?

When the “man” left on his journey, he gave talents to three slaves who were to take care of the property while the man was gone. He gave a different quantity of talents to the three people. One had 5 talents, one had 2 talents and one was given 1 talent. The slave who had been given 5 talents traded some of the talents and ended up doubling the amount of talents in his possession. The person with 2 talents also doubled the amount he had been given to work with. However, the one with 1 talent hid the talent in the ground and did nothing with it.

When the master returned, the slaves were able to share with him what they had accomplished with what money had been given to them. Yes…two of the people doubled what they had been given…and the one just gave the talent back to the master. The two who had doubled the investment were praised and promised that because they had cared for this amount, they would be trusted with even more. The one who had hidden the talent away was chastised by the master for not growing the number given to him.

I thought it was interesting that this last person indicated that he thought the master was mean and wicked and he was afraid of the master, which is why he hid the talent. The master indicated that really, this person did not know him…and that he still should have invested the talent and the master would have received what was his own. And…in the last verse, we see the master saying this slave should be thrown into the darkness and not have anything..as it would be taken away from him.

So….let’s see what this parable is REALLY talking about. This parable is Jesus telling the crowd that everyone has been given talents. These talents can be, the Word of God, stewardship of time, talents, money, speaking, philosophy, kindness, prophecy, etc. In other words, we have all been given gifts to use in serving our neighbors and the ability to fulfill those responsibilities to the people in God’s world. If we hide these gifts and talents there will be no growth at all.

Two of the servants fulfilled this responsibility by utilizing their talents for the good of the world around them. The third one appears to be afraid of the master, hides his talent and did not follow or fulfill the master’s will. It could really be that this third servant was really a false follower of the master. He was part of a group, said he would do what he could, but didn’t really commit to following the master. He really did not know the master….as evidence when the master was called hard and wicked. This servant wanted a return for something he did not do.

The two productive servants were pronounced as “good and faithful”. They could be trusted with a little and would be given more. The third slave was judged as wicked and lazy…and one who could not be trusted

In reality…what Jesus is saying to the people here is that those who are true followers of God, who have given their lives to God and will do what he asks of them, much will be given. Their talents will be expanded for the purpose of spreading the word and goodness of God to the world. They would be strengthened for this work by God. They are valued in the Kingdom. This is about the abilities God has given to all of us to be used to build up the Kingdom.

We are not to follow the servant who hid his talent. Jesus was really talking about being selfish with what we have been given. This person was interested only in himself…not others. He did not want to be held accountable for what he had been given.

Jesus is telling the people and us, that we are to be good stewards of what we have been given. We are to take responsibility for ourselves and especially for other people. We are to be accountable to God for our gifts and talents. And, in doing so, we are preparing ourselves for entry into God’s kingdom when Jesus returns. Taking responsibility for what we have been given results in our joy of knowing we are fulfilling God’s direction for us.




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