Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Managing His Stuff, His Way - The Story of the Talents

In Matthew 25:14–30, Jesus told the story of the Talents. In this story, the master entrusts different amounts of wealth to three servants. To one servant, he places five talents of money in his care, to another, two talents, and to another, one talent.  For context, one talent was 75 pounds of gold or silver and would have been worth around 10-20 years of wages.  So each of these servants was entrusted a large amount of funds.  This is certainly consistent with what I've seen in life as different people are entrusted with different amounts of wealth and responsibliity.
When the master came back, he found that the servants with five and two talents had each doubled the master's funds. In contrast, the servant with one talent had buried it, making no effort to put his master’s money to work, and coming up with a bad excuse to boot!
It’s interesting to note that the praise God gave the servant who had five talents and earned five more was identical to the praise that he gave to the servant who had two talents and earned two more. That praise was, “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!” (Matthew 25: 21, 23).
As for the servant who was entrusted with one talent, he was lazy, wicked, and unfaithful to God. In short, he was not a good manager.  Perhaps shockingly, he was punished severely for this poor managment and unfaithfulness.
Matthew 25:28-29 state, “Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. 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."
It’s important to understand what this means. The words “for everyone who has will be given more” means that everyone who has been a faithful manager, God will entrust with more. There is a compounding effect in play.  On the other hand, those have been unfaithful in their management of God's resources will lose even what they have been entrusted with. The servants who were entrusted with five talents and two talents demonstrated faithfulness to God and wise management, and thus God entrusted them with more. However, the third servant was not faithful, and therefore even that one talent was taken away from him.
We can say we are managing well for God when we:
(1) acknowledge in mind and heart that God owns everything - a critical first step
(2) act accordingly - that is, learn and implement God’s principles in managing what God has entrusted us, using our time, talent and treasure in accordance with God’s will, not our own will

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