“For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. “He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
(Matthew 25:14-30 ESV)
Yesterday we studied the first part of a parable Jesus told about the kingdom of heaven. In it a man entrusted three of his servants with his money before going on a long journey. We learned that God gives each of His children – those who are adopted into His family through faith in Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins [John 1:12] – talents and the responsibility to use those talents to steward His possessions. Today we see two responses to receiving such responsibility – a right one and a wrong one.
Notice that the servant who had received five talents went at once and began using his skills and abilities to turn those five talents into five more talents. The second servant, who had received two talents, did the same. The key words here are “at once”. They didn’t delay. The reason they didn’t delay was because of the confidence their master put in them.
God has faith in us and we should consider it an honor to be entrusted with His riches. If we do we’ll enthusiastically take care of the earth and all the things, animals, and human beings on it. This is precisely the reaction we see by the first two servants. They were eager to serve their master because of the confidence he displayed in them.
When other people show confidence in us it gives us confidence in ourselves. It makes us want to do the best job we can do with the skills that we have. It also makes us want to serve that person as a way of repaying them for the confidence they’ve shown in us, especially if that person is an authority figure such as a parent, boss, or coach.
But notice the response of the third servant who had received one talent. He went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. Rather than putting his talent to work, he hid it in the ground, a common practice back then which we’ve previously studied [Matthew 13:44].
While this servant did not lose his talent he did not use it either. As we’ll see in a couple of days when we get further along in this parable, his opinion of his master was flawed. And that prevented him from using the talent he had been given.
There is no greater way to demonstrate confidence in a person than to give the responsibility. Responsibility demonstrates trust and a recognition of ability. And one of the greatest blessings we receive when we accept God’s forgiveness of our sins is responsibility.
But not only do we get responsibility, which breed confidence, we get God’s help [Isaiah 41:10]. Whenever God asks those of us who are His adopted children to do anything we can approach it with confidence because He resides in us in the form of the Holy Spirit, guiding us and helping us all the way [John 14:16; Acts 2:38].
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