Make yourselves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys.
In the parable of the talents in Matthew 25, I find a word of warning and a word of challenge. The word of warning is in verse 30. The master says, “Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Those are the same words Jesus used to describe what happened to the tares–the phony Christians–in Matthew 13. They will be cast into hell. Jesus was saying that one way to distinguish a true believer from a fake believer is by his willingness to serve Christ faithfully. To say you are a follower of Jesus Christ but to spend your life serving yourself does not cause you to lose your salvation; it just reveals you were never saved to begin with.
Let me illustrate it for you this way. Let’s say one day I am watching CNBC, and this financial expert comes on. He says, “The dollar is going to plunge in value, and on December 31, it is going to be declared worthless. You better trade all your paper money for gold.” I begin to panic. I order every book I can from this financial expert, I subscribe to his monthly newsletter, and I am absolutely convinced that on December 31, the dollar is going to be declared worthless. Every Sunday, I find a way to work it into my sermon: “Trade in your paper money for gold!” Sure enough, December 31 comes around, and everybody who is holding paper money loses everything they have–including me. Because even though I said I believed this was going to happen, I did not believe it enough to do something with my own money.
The Bible says there is coming a day when everything you have is going to be declared worthless. If you want to make sure you are prepared for that day, you better start investing in those things which are going to survive your death and the return of Jesus Christ. Not to do so is to show that you really do not believe what you say you believe. That is what Jesus was saying here. A true believer is going to invest his life in those things which he says he believes in.
Here is the challenge in this passage: given the brevity of this life and the length of eternity, start investing your time, your money, and your opportunities in building God’s kingdom. Why? Because one day we are all going to be judged by what we have done in this life, whether it be good or worthless. What opportunities and gifts has God given you?
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Talent Search” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2005.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org