Friday, September 3, 2010

Use It or Lose It - September 3, 2010

Matthew 25:14-30 (New International Version)
The Parable of the Talents

14"Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. 15To one he gave five talents[a] of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. 17So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. 18But 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. 20The 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. 25So 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? 27Well 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. 29For 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. 30And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'

If you have spent any time in a church pew, or reading the Bible, you have probably come across this The Parable of the Talents. To many then interpretation has always been thought of as a spiritual gift or money that has been given by God. But in studying this section of Scripture, I found that it is talking about something very different.

Here again you have to go back a few verses in Matthew to find what Jesus is speaking about. He is answering the question of the disciples as to how it will be at the end, when the Kingdom of God is established. The parables are speaking of different conditions of churches and mankind that Jesus finds when he returns. Again we read that he has been gone on a very long trip, and he has left somethiing of value with his people.

What Jesus is talking about is his Word, the Scriptures, which is very important to God. He has left His Word with his servants to share with the lost world around them. As you can read from the parable, some of God's servants were given God's Word and chose to study and learn and share the it with those around them. That led to an increase of believers and a harvest of many fold. Others may not have been so deeply familiar with God's Word, yet they shared what they knew and the knowledge they had, and a harvest of believers returned to them as well. To those servants who have used what they have learned through God's Word to share with others, God gives additional responsibilities to care and increase His followers, and will reward them for building the Kingdom of Heaven.

It is the "wicked and lazy servant" that has squandered and not accepted the Word left to him and used it to increase the Kingdom of God. There will be churches and people who have been given knowledge of God through His Word, and knowledge of the message of salvation through Jesus, yet they choose to keep it hidden, and bury it in formalities, traditions, and rituals. They have kept it from the people and world around them, knowing that Jesus would someday expect an accounting. They knew and feared God, yet they chose to hide the truth of His Word and keep it to themselves. It is these people that have not taken to heart their service to God and it is they who will lose their reward.

It is for each of us to accept the responsibility of the knowledge of His Word that He gives us. Through the Holy Spirit, God reveals through the reading and study of the Word, the truth that we are to share with others. This is the truth of His salvation found in Jesus Christ. We can't just take what we read and learn from the Bible and bury it in the company of other believers. Sure it is good to have Bible study and to take time in personal study as well, but once we learn what God has given us, we need to take that next step and share it with a lost and dying world. The more we do so, the more we will receive the spirit of evangelism, and we will develop a heart for those that need to learn the life-saving message of Jesus Christ.

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