5. The Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30)
How active is your faith in Christ? Do you: (1) wake up in the morning, and get excited that you get to serve Him; (2) start the day off thinking about worldly things, but eventually spend time in His Word and prayer, and find joy in His fellowship; or (3) occasionally think about God, but never really spend any time with Him, instead hiding your spiritual life deep down where it doesn’t actually do anything or offend anybody?
These three options reflect the three servants in the parable of the talents. Today I’d like us look at this parable in context. Remember from yesterday that Jesus spent the previous chapter teaching on His Second Coming and then illustrated that the disciples need to be prepared for the Second Coming by giving the parable of the Ten Virgins. Jesus goes directly from that parable to the parable of the Talents. This means that the focus of this parable too is on the fact that Jesus is coming again, but no one knows when this will happen. He could come today, or, like the Master in this parable, He could come “after a long time.” With that context in mind, please read this parable in your Bible.
Look at how each of the servants responds to the Master going away:
We are left with the impression that the first servant immediately went to work with his talent, believing that the Master might come right back and wanting the Master to be pleased with him. The second servant apparently thought the Master would take some time in coming back, so maybe he slept in a little bit or took a day or two to rest. Similar to the first son in the parable of the two sons, maybe he at first didn’t want to do any work, but he eventually changed his mind and got to work, producing two more talents. Finally, the third servant apparently had no fear of God and chose never to do any work for Him. Sure, he told the Master that he was afraid of Him, but the Master doesn’t believe this: if he were really afraid of the Master, he would have at least put the money in the bank, so he would have something to give to the Master when He returned. Instead, he hid the money and probably went about his life as if it didn’t even exist.
Jesus could return at any moment. Do you believe that? Like the first servant, will you choose to serve Him right now?
Or will you believe that He probably will return soon, and, like the second servant, will you eventually serve Him sometime today? Both of the first two servants will spend eternity with the Master, though the first has a greater reward. Whether you’ve served Him all of your life, or you previously delayed, but now are walking faithfully with Him, you will hear those wonderful words of praise when you enter into His Kingdom: “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Or will you believe that He will probably return later, but, like the third servant, you never get around to surrendering your life to Him? Woe to those who are like the third servant! They too will be cast into the outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.
This is a very real place called Hell. These people are not sent there because they didn’t do good works or make good decisions, but because they are sinners who have rebelled against God. When we trust in Christ for salvation, we are forgiven of our sins, adopted into the family of God, and given an eternal relationship with Him. Because of this wonderful gift of God, we want to serve Him. Because we know that He will return soon, we want to serve Him immediately, and be found faithful when He comes.
I long for the day when I hear those words: “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Will you be hearing them too? What if Jesus were to return today? What if He were to return this very hour? Which servant will you be?
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