Matthew 25:14-30 (Pastor Heo)
The Parable of the Talents
25:14-30Ref — Lk 19:12-27
14 “Again, it will be [Secondly, the Kingdom of God will be] like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. 15 To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey.
16 The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. 17 So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. 18 But the man who had received the one talent 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 the five talents brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five talents. 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 the two talents also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two talents; 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 the one talent 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 talent 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 ” ‘Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. 29 For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
Today’s story is known well by most people as the parable of the Talents (today that means special ability or skill – but the English word came from Greek “talento” that means BIG money.) Talents at that time were the BIGGEST unit of money. One talent = 6,000 denarii / 1 denarius = daily wage of an ordinary man, SO… 1 talent = 20 years wages of an ordinary man. (So 5 talents = 100 years wages…)
Previously, we saw in the other parable we must keep watch because we don’t know the day nor hour that Jesus will come back.
- Last week: foolish or wise.
- This week: diligent or lazy / faithful or unfaithful
Are you diligent for the KOH? Or lazy?
The KOH is like a master going on a long journey, who gave talents to his servants before he left – each according to their ability.
- The one with 5 worked hard and gained 5 more.
- The one with 2 worked hard and gained 2 more.
- The one with 1 buried it – no gain, no loss.
After a LONG time, the master returns and calls his servants to see what they did with the money he gave them.
- 5 + 5 = “Good, well done – you’ve been faithful with a little, prepare for more jobs”
- 2 + 2 = “Good, well done – you’ve been faithful with a little, prepare for more jobs”
- 1 ~~ “I did nothing. Here is your talent.”
“WHAT!? So wicked, evil, and lazy! Give this to the one with 10, throw this one into the darkness!”
From this story, here are 4 lessons/questions.
(Today’s sermon title is “4 Questions”)
1. Talents = Do you have talents? Gifts?
Ex: The salvation God gives by his grace on the death and resurrection of Christ is the SAME. The salvation that Abraham received is the same as the one the mature Christian receives, the same a baby Christian receives, the same a pastor receives. But, in the matter of gifts, there is a difference.
- 1 Cor 12 “There are different kinds of gifts, but the one same Spirit, different services, different working, but the same God works in all of them.”
- Romans 12 “We all have different gifts according to the grace given to us. Whatever the gift, let him use it in proportion to his faith. Whether giving, leadership, showing mercy, etc.”
- If ONE talent were given to a man who had much ability, he would be disgraced.
- If FIVE talents were given to one with minimal ability, he would be destroyed by the heavy burden.
- FIVE were given to the one with the most ability –
- TWO to the one with average ability –
- ONE to the one with minimal ability.
God knows us all and knows which gifts are best for his glory and our benefit.
The fact that God gives different gifts does not mean he shows favoritism. Rather, he recognizes all human beings as unique individuals and gives talents in proportion to their ability.
Q 1: What has God given to you as a gift?
Think over this for a while. Do you have salvation? Yes, generally speaking, salvation is the gift of gifts – given by his grace freely. Do you have the love of God? This is a gift given to you. Do you have assurance of salvation, assurance of forgiveness? Family? Children? Time? Material? What a treasure – these are all talents! Money? Money is a gift from God as well.
Q 1: What has God given you and me?
Can you count the number of items God has given you?
2. Lesson from the two faithful servants
- One = 5 talents + 5 talents = 10 total
- Second = 2 talents + 2 talents = 4 total
In the final account with their master, they received exactly the same commendation and reward “Well done, good and faithful servant~”
“I will put you in charge of (make you ruler over) many things.”
God never demands from us what we do not have. BUT, he does require us to use to the FULL what we do have.
- We can be different in talents, but equal in effort.
- We can be different in talents, but equal in the eyes of God.
What does not matter is the PORTION of our talents, but the PROPORTION of how we use what we have.
The reward they received was even greater responsibility – more jobs – more work.
Responsibility = reward = blessing.
Do you want rest? Jesus says, “Come to me all you who are burdened and I will give you rest.”
Rest is NOT joblessness – but rather doing something diligently with joy and happiness. Doing something for the glory of God for the benefit of others. Do you have a sense of responsibility for others?
If you feel responsibility, this is a REWARD for your faith.
Q 2: What are you DOING with what God has given to you?
Do you have salvation as the gift of gifts? If so… what are you doing with it? Do you experience the love of God in your heart? Then what are you doing with it? Do you have peace? Then what are you doing with it? What are you doing with your life? Time? Car? Good relationships? Money?
Q 2: What am I doing with what God has given me as a gift?
3: From the third (bad, wicked – do you think so?) servant
In a sense, it seems he was half OK – no gain, but no loss. He did keep that ONE talent VERY safely – he didn’t waste it for a bad purpose, for his sinful pleasure – for gambling or drinking. He saved it – just buried it.
At that time, in Jesus’ time, the best way to keep something valuable safely for a long time was to bury it under the ground. (For us today, put it in the bank?)
OK – no gain, no loss. But Jesus was SO angry, so sad – the master said, “You are wicked and lazy!”
What was it that made the Lord so angry, so sad? What do you think was the problem with this servant?
Was his problem just receiving the ONE talent? No, if he’d worked hard and gained just ONE more, he’d have received the SAME reward.
The problem was the third servant’s misunderstanding about his master.
He thought his master was a hard man (yes, Jesus, our Lord is our master – do you think he is harsh? unmerciful? stern?) and exploited the labor of others – reaping where he has not sown seed. He misunderstood about his master. This misunderstanding made him fearful and afraid of his master – because he was so afraid that he might FAIL, he never even tried to SUCCEED. He hoped to play it safe and protect himself from his “bad” master.
Maybe he wanted a vacation, a holiday because his master went far away. Because his master entrusted him with one talent to do work, he thought his master was harsh.
Yes, even us today, some Christians think, “Oh no, IF I commit my life to Christ more and more, maybe he’ll want me to go to some harsh tribe in another country and die a martyr….” We think “the more dedication to Christ, the more suffering in this life.” This is thinking that Christ is a harsh master. (Actually, the opposite is true – Christ is SO good that he died on the cross for our lives to give us wonderful abundant life.)
We sing songs, “God is good all the time” yes, he is the ultimate standard of goodness – so ALL he does is GOOD whether we understand it or not, whether we like it or not.
- If we think and believe that Christ is GOOD – then his goodness will be GOOD to us – through our experience.
- But, if we think that he is HARSH, then his goodness will be HARSH in our eyes.
Q 3: What do you think/believe of your Lord Jesus Christ?
What do you believe in your heart? How does your experience look?
4: How we should be in our attitude in our Christian life.
It LOOKS like a Christian inside is thrown outside when the Judgment comes. Yes, we need assurance of salvation – but ultimately speaking, salvation depends on God alone. Once salvation, it can never be lost if it is TRUE salvation – but we are not “safe.” There is no security apart from Christ (”Apart from me, you can do nothing.”)
Only Christ saves us. So we must depend on him alone, rest on him alone. But remember, this security we enjoy in God’s promises should not make us presumptuous / proud – please don’t become “cocky” with God – don’t ASSUME that God MUST let us in. We have no right to demand that he let us in.
We must live each day in our lives believing in his promises and dedicating our time and talents and wisdom and money to his work – and loving our brothers and sisters in Christ, witnessing to the lost, being generous to the poor and needy.
We must make choices that please God.
- Remember, everything we have, not only visible but also invisible – is not really ours.
- “You are not your own, you were bought at a price – therefore honor God with your body.”
- We are not OWNERS, we are just CARETAKERS (stewards).
Q 4: What will Jesus say to you and me when we stand before him face to face in the Final Judgment?
What will he say to us personally, individually?
There are two categories:
- “Well done, good and faithful servant! You’ve been good with small things, now I’ll give you more. Come and share your master’s happiness.”
- “Well then, you wicked and lazy servant! Go into the darkness!”
“Well done, good and faithful!”
May God bless all of us with this final reward and commendation that it may fall on each of us in the Last Day.