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Summary: God requires us to be faithful with what we have, not with what we do not have.

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Introduction:

A. The story is told of a man from the east coast who had always dreamed of owning a cattle ranch and had finally saved enough money to buy his dream spread in Wyoming.

1. His best friend flew out to visit and asked, “So, what’s the name of your ranch?”

2. His buddy told him that he and his wife had had a really hard time coming up with a name that they liked.

3. Since he and his wife couldn’t agree on what to call the ranch they settled on this name, “The Double R Lazy L Triple Horseshoe Bar-7 Lucky Diamond Ranch.”

4. His friend was really impressed and then asked, “So where are all the cows?”

5. The new rancher replied, “We had quite a few…but none of them survived the branding!”

B. Sometimes when it comes to faithfully serving God, we make it far more complicated than it has to be.

1. It’s possible to get so caught up in trying to identify our gifts that we never get around to using them.

2. As we will see in today’s lesson, when it comes to serving God, it is far better to do something, than to do nothing.

C. As we have been saying in this series, God is faithful and we can trust in Him and His promises.

2. Because God is faithful, he calls us to be faithful.

3. Last week we discussed our need to be faithful in attendance and I encouraged us all to make a couple of commitments.

a. First, a commitment to be present when the church gathers.

b. Second, a commitment to contact those who are missing from our gatherings.

4. May God bless us as we keep those commitments.

D. Today I want us to work toward being more faithful in service.

1. I’ve chosen for our text what is commonly referred to as the Parable of the Talents.

2. Before we jump into the text, let’s set the context.

3. This parable comes in the section of Matthew’s gospel where Jesus is giving an answer to the disciples’ question about His Second Coming in Matthew 24:3: “…When will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”

4. Jesus warns them to be on guard so that no one will deceive them and he helps them understand that once He leaves, He will come again.

5. He challenges them in Matthew 24:44 to be ready because the Son of Man will come at an hour when He is least expected.

6. In chapter 25, Jesus compares His coming to the eastern custom of a bridegroom arriving in the middle of the night. (from the Parable of 10 virgins)

7. He concludes by saying in 25:13: “Therefore, keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”

8. Chapter 25 ends with parable of the separation of the sheep and the goats in an end of time judgment scene.

9. Sandwiched in-between is the parable of the talents.

I. The Parable

A. I’m sure what we have here is a scenario that was common in Jesus’ day.

1. Wealthy individuals often had numerous servants, and wealthy individuals often took extended trips.

2. Given the uncertainties of transportation in those days, the time of return for even a well-planned trip was often open-ended.

3. And so, before the man left on this trip, he called together three of his servants and entrusted them with some of his wealth.

B. Jesus used the term “talent” as he talked about how much was entrusted to each of them.

1. A denari was a day’s wage which was worth about 18 cents.

2. A talent was the equivalent of 6000 denari. (6000 day’s wages)

3. And so a talent was worth about $1100, which was a huge sum of money in those days.

4. Today, a person making $20,000 dollars a year, makes about $75 dollars a day.

5. So, 6000 day’s wages, or one talent, in today’s money would be about $500,000.

6. The first servant was given 5 talents or $2.5 Million.

7. The second servant was given 2 talents or $1 Million.

8. And the third servant was given only 1 talent or only $½ Million ($500,000).

C. Aren’t you amazed by all this?

1. Keep in mind that these folks are servants. They likely don’t even draw a salary and don’t have much if any money of their own.

2. I’m also amazed that the master doesn’t give them any instructions about how to manage or protect the money.

3. If all that isn’t alarming enough, the master doesn’t distribute the money equally.

4. Fairness says that he should have distributed the 8 talents by giving each of them 2.66 talents.

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