“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)
Today we continue studying the parable of the talents which Jesus told as part of the Olivet Discourse – His words on His second coming given privately to His twelve disciples just a day before He would be crucified. In today’s passage the master returned home after having been away a long time and he settled accounts with his three servants.
The servant who had received five talents and the servant who had the two talents came forward and told the master that they had made five talents more and two talents more, respectively.
Notice the words of praise spoken by the master. He calls both of these first two servants “good and faithful“. He praises them for their character, not for their results. The fact that they doubled His money is not relevant. It is the fact that they were faithful to Him that mattered.
Many Christians think they are not doing anything useful for God because they aren’t getting results. But God doesn’t praise people for being “successful”. He praises us for being “good and faithful”. Our success (or lack thereof) isn’t important to God. What is important is our goodness and faithfulness, not our wealth, social status, or whether we recycle.
Notice also that God praises His children. How cool is that? We all love to receive praise from authority figures such as our parents, teachers, and coaches. How much better to receive praise from God. It’s also worth noting that God is willing to offer praise to us – something many people (Christians and non-Christians alike) don’t realize.
As a result these two servants received two rewards. First, they were given more responsibility. They had been faithful over a little so the master set each of them over much.
God rewards goodness and faithfulness with more responsibility. Those people who used their lives for the purpose of promoting Jesus on this earth – regardless of the results – will have more responsibility in heaven than those who didn’t.
The second reward these servants received was they got to enter into the joy of their master. God will share His joy with people who live for Him on this earth. This implies that there will be differing levels of happiness in heaven.
While everyone there will be happy and no one will be sad, some will apparently be more joyous than others because they receive some of God’s joy as a reward for how they lived on earth.
Jesus (who is represented by the master in the parable) will return at an unspecified time in the future and at that time will settle accounts with those who claim to be His disciples who will each give an account for how we used the skills and resources God put at our disposal during our earthly life.
Many people who consider themselves to be Christians do not realize this. They think that once they believe and are saved that there is nothing more they should be doing. That is not at all true.
While those who truly believe and have had their sins forgiven will not face judgment regarding whether they will spend eternity in heaven or hell, their lives will be evaluated by Jesus as to how much they lived for Him versus how much they lived for themselves after being saved.
Those who lived for Him will receive His praise and rewards. Those who didn’t won’t.
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