Responding to God’s Gifts

Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents.
—Matthew 25:16

As we continue to look at Jesus’ parable of the talents in Matthew 25, we come to a second truth in this parable. We each respond differently to our opportunities of service.

We have seen that the master who was going on a journey decided to entrust his slaves with different amounts of money. The first slave, the one who received five talents—around one million dollars—immediately traded with them and gained five more talents. Notice this guy didn’t say, “I know the master told me I need to work on His behalf and expand His kingdom. And I’ll certainly get around to it. But first I need to rear my family. I need to make sure my job is secure. I need to make sure I get that promotion. And then I’ll go out and do what the master instructed me.” No, the Bible says “immediately” the first slave did as he had been instructed to do.

What exactly did he do? The first slave traded the five talents and gained five more talents. The Greek word here for “traded” carries with it the idea of a continuous action. That is, the slave didn’t go out with his five talents and buy five thousand lottery tickets and hit it big and say, “Okay, I’ve done what I’m supposed to do. Now I can go do what I want to do.” Instead, the word conveys the idea that this first slave continually worked and worked and worked with the money entrusted to him until he had doubled it. He gained five more talents.

In the same way, the second slave—the one who received two talents, around $400,000—also went out and doubled what he had. He gained two more talents.

But the third slave—the one who received one talent, around $100,000—went away and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. It was very common in Jesus’ day for people to bury things that were of value. Today there are some people who don’t trust the banks. So they put their money away, perhaps hiding it under the mattress. That’s what this guy did. He hid the money that the master entrusted to him.

Every time I read that passage, I’m reminded of the story of the pastor who was preaching on the subject of spiritual gifts. And he preached from Romans 12 about how some had the gift of teaching, some the gift of exhortation, some the gift of mercy, and so on. After he finished the message, a woman came up to him and said, “Pastor, you didn’t mention my gift.” He said, “Well, what gift do you have?” She said, “God has given me the gift of criticism. What do you suggest I do with my talent?” He said, “Ma’am, you should go out and bury that talent.”

Well, that’s not what Jesus is talking about here. The slave who buried his talent, the one who buried the resources that the master had entrusted to him, hid it so that he could go and spend his life doing what he wanted to do. The only problem is, one day there is a day of reckoning that is coming. Are you using or hiding the resources God has given you?

Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Talent Search,” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.


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