IN GOD’S SERVICE
Mighty God, pierce this moment with your presence, pry open ev- ery corner of my life to you, pervade my being with your grace.
Read MATTHEW 25:14-30
The Parable of the Bags of Gold
14 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. 15 To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag,[a] each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. 17 So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. 18 But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
19 “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’
21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
22 “The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’
23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
24 “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’
26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.
28 “‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. 29 For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
- Matthew 25:15 Greek five talents … two talents … one talent; also throughout this parable; a talent was worth about 20 years of a day laborer’s wage.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Shut out all distractions now, so you can focus on the Word and grow in wisdom.
A talent was a weight, valuable according to its metal. We don’t know its value in this story, but we do know that the talents were distributed unequally in proportions of five, two and one. Jesus was not reinforcing status, hierarchy, or inequality in this story, but simply describing how things are. Humans differ; each one is gifted differently from others. What matters is not the quality or number of our gifts, but what we do with them.
The fundamental problem with the useless servant was his attitude. Lacking self-confidence, he could have committed himself to learning more and trying harder, but didn’t. Instead, he grumbled and complained. He was bitter about his lot, envious of those better endowed, and resentful of his master. Yet the master placed no impossible demands on him. He asked him only to work within his ability and develop what he had. By putting his talent in a hole, to be returned intact but unchanged, the servant ignored the trust placed in him. The outcome was ‘use it or lose it’ – loss for him and gain for the two who worked hard.
We see these attitudes in the church as well as in society. Sometimes we prefer things to stay as they are, rather than use our gifts to effect and direct changes around us. The result is that things change anyway, but we are not part of it. We can also run away from responsibility because we don’t have the gifts that others exhibit. Yet those who have many gifts still have to work to develop them. The master isn’t rewarding a class of elite indolent people. God has entrusted all of us with gifts and he asks everyone to use them well. We’re called to think, plan, pray, and act, so we can be useful citizens in God’s kingdom.
What are the gifts God has given you? How might you develop your talents more for Christian service?
Lord Jesus, in your mercy strip me of the illusions I have about myself. Renew me in your image and fit me for your service.
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