Summary: Now one of the disturbing parts of the story to us is that He didn't give the servants the same amount. He gave 5 to one & 2 to another & 1 to another. We may think that is not fair. (PowerPoints available - # 144)
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
(PowerPoints used with this message are available at no cost. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and request #144.)
A. If you were to ask me, "What is the most famous parable that Jesus ever told?" I would answer that it is the Parable of the Prodigal Son.
When parables are mentioned we often think first of that parable where the Prodigal son went into the far country, squandered all of his money in riotous living, came to himself, went home, & found his father waiting for him.
The literary world has called this "The world's most perfect short story." It has been told & retold around the world because of its universal application. Almost every family knows of some such experience. So this is the best known of all the parables that Jesus told.
B. If you were to ask, "What is the most touching parable that Jesus ever told?" I would answer, "the Parable of the Good Shepherd & the Lost Sheep."
The good shepherd went out looking for the sheep that had gone astray, looking through thickets, climbing jagged rocks, searching, until finally he found the one that had gone astray. Then he brings it home, rejoicing. It is a tender story.
C. Or if you were to ask, "What is the most comforting story for the helpless?" I would choose Lazarus & the Rich Man. Lazarus sat outside the gate, his clothing tattered & torn, his body wracked with disease & pain. Dogs came & licked his sores. The only food he had came out of the garbage pails from the rich man's table.
Then he died, & found himself in Abraham's bosom. There all of his misery was over, & he saw an eternity free of pain & suffering. And we learn that the miseries of this world are as nothing compared to the joy that will be ours for all eternity.
D. But if you were to ask, "What is the most practical parable Jesus ever told? What parable applies more to how we live our lives today, & how God acts & reacts to us, & how we act & react to Him?" I think it would have to be the parable that we find in Matthew 25:14-30.
For most of you it is a very familiar parable, & a rather long one, too. So let me condense it into just a few sentences. Jesus said that a master was getting ready to take a long journey. So he called in his servants & entrusted his wealth to them. Then he left. And then, after a long period of time, he returned.
And when he came back from his journey he called for an accounting, & the servants who had invested wisely, he rewarded. And the one who did not invest is condemned. That's the parable.
As I said, it is practical. It applies to our lives because it shows how God treats us, how He reacts to us, & how we oftentimes treat His blessings.
I. THE MASTER ENTRUSTS HIS WEALTH TO HIS SERVANTS
A. Scene one opens with the master calling in his servants. He says to them, "I am going to entrust you with my wealth." So he gives 5 talents to one, 2 talents to another, & 1 talent to another.
Now if you are trying to figure out how much wealth he entrusted to them you need to realize that a "talent" represented 75 lbs. of whatever type of precious metal was being distributed.
If it was silver, then that meant that one man received 375 lbs of silver (probably silver coins), another received 150 lbs, & the last one received 75 lbs of silver.
He is the master. They are his servants. He owns everything. They depend upon him. Now he has called them in & said, "I have been watching you. I have concluded that you are faithful stewards."
I don't know how many servants he had. Maybe he had dozens. But out of all of them he selected these three. He said, "I am going away, & I entrust you with my wealth. You take care of it." That's the end of Scene 1.
B. We instantly draw some parallels, don't we? We realize that this master represents God, who has everything. God, who is the giver of life. God, who gives us air to breathe. God, who gives us the ability to see & think & plan & make decisions.
And we are the servants. Every day we depend upon His blessings, & God distributes His wealth among us.
C. Now one of the disturbing parts of the story to us is that He didn't give the servants the same amount. He gave 5 to one & 2 to another & 1 to another. We may think that is not fair. But then we realize that this master knows His servants. So He gives to each of them, vs. 15 tells us, "according to his ability."