How do we use our God-given talents?
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(All quotations from the King James Version unless stated otherwise).
Matthew 25:14 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.
The Parable is about one aspect of the kingdom of heaven. Christ is the man. The far country is heaven where Christ now sits at the right hand of God until the day that God has appointed for him to return and set up the kingdom of heaven upon earth.
verse 15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
Each of us who believe the gospel and are baptised into Christ become his servants awaiting his return. Talents represent our abilities. We do not all have the same abilities but Christ expects us to serve him to the best of our abilities.
verse 16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. 17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.
The first two servants in the parable are faithful. They serve according to their abilities and each makes a 100% profit. The profit represents the fruits of our labour in Christ. It is not to be supposed that it represents converts only, rather it covers the whole sphere of Christ-like activity.
verse 18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.
The third servant does no work at all for his master; he is a Christian in name only. Consequently he produces no increase.
verse 19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
The time that Christ has been in heaven is long by human standards. It is that way to give ample opportunity for generations of Christians to put their talents to work. The day will certainly come when Christ will return to establish the kingdom of heaven on the earth. There will of necessity be judgment which is represented here as a ‘reckoning’.
verses 20-23 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. 21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. 22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. 23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
Both servants receive an entrance into the kingdom of heaven described as ‘the joy of thy Lord’. This joy reminds us that the master himself had laboured more than his servants for the joy that he is giving us entrance to.
Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
God has promised him an everlasting kingdom.
Luke 1:32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
The man who had done nothing for his master compounds the gravity of his situation.
verses 24,25 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: 25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.
He describes his master in terms which would have made working for him all the more urgent. He knew without a doubt that his master expected some profit from the talent he had given him. He is without excuse. Christ is in reality not the kind of master that the servant describes; which is to our benefit. Nonetheless if we do no work in his service, we will have no reward.
verses 26,27 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: 27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.
The equivalent today would mean taking the talent to the bank in order to gain a modest amount of interest. In terms of the Christian life, I understand it to represent taking a full part within the church and using our talent in fellowship as Hebrews 10:25 describes.
Hebrews 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
If we do not have the ability to preach or teach we can still play a full part in fellowship and in this way help our fellow believers.
Matthew 25:28,29 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. 29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.
In the parable the talent still belongs to the master and is added to the reward of the one who had worked the hardest. The unprofitable servant is left with nothing.
verse 30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
The casting into outer darkness portrays a picture of one ejected from a lighted house into the darkness of the night outside. The weeping and gnashing of teeth connects us with the fate of those who cannot enter the kingdom of God.
Luke 13:28 There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.
The casting into outer darkness represents the death of those rejected. This is represented in symbol in Revelation 20:14-15 as a lake of fire which is said to be the ‘second death’. It is the ‘second death’ in the sense that the majority of those subjected to it will have been raised from the dead to be judged for the lives they had led.
Those who understand the purpose of God will be judged on how they have shown the love of God to their fellow men.
Matthew 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
Matthew 25:45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
The lesson is clear: If we want to enter the kingdom of heaven, we must use our abilities in the service of the king now; while we have the opportunity.
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I hope you have found this helpful.
May God bless you,