Summary: Jesus is coming again. You can’t avoid standing before Him in judgment. Well if Jesus were to return today, and if it was your time to give an account to the Lord, what would be the outcome? Would you hear commendation or rebuke?
Opening illustration: Several years ago, Donald Trump said this in an interview: "I'll be 36 next year and I've done everything I can do. Sometimes I think it was a mistake to have raced through it all so fast. What's the next level up? The grass isn't always greener … I work, and I don't worry. How can you top that? … I protect myself as well as anybody can. I prepare for things but ultimately we all end up going … I don't believe in reincarnation, heaven, or hell. But we go someplace. Do you know? I cannot for the life of me figure out where.'"
That is a picture of a man who is so busy possessing this world he is making no preparations for the next. Before we point a finger, we ought to realize it's easy for us to do the same thing. The fact is - most people have absolutely no idea what life is all about.
There are three things you can do with your life: you can waste it, you can spend it, or you can invest it. Let us turn to Matthew 25 in the Word of God and catch up with our final narrative and see what 3 different people did with their lives …
Introduction: Jesus is winding down his ministry on earth; he spends his energy just before his final dinner, betrayal and death answering a weighty question his disciples bring before him. They ask, in 24:3, “when will these things be and what will be the sign of your coming and the end of this age?” It sounds like an informational question, but the emotions behind it run deep. They are asking, “How will we know that you are coming back and that you will set things right when you do?” They are afraid of being left behind to fend for themselves in a cruel and painful world.
Jesus responds compassionately, answering them with a series of stories meant to encourage them both to trust Christ to return to complete his promise and to occupy their time continuing his work until he does return. The parable of the Talents is the last of three parables, and should be read in conjunction with what follows it – Jesus’ description of the final judgment. With it, Jesus answers our fears. He tells us that God keeps his promises, and that we are not abandoned, but are well equipped to reflect the grace and kindness of our God. He also tells us that, *because* we have been generously invested in by God, we are expected to invest in God’s world, and we will be shaped by the choices we make.
Why has God given us this life?
1. Our Life is an Opportunity (vs. 14-18)
This parable is about a wealthy employer who entrusts three key employees with some of his money. He gives the 1st employee 5 talents, the 2nd, and the 3rd 1 talent. A talent in that day was equal to about 10,000 denarii, and 1 denarii was equal to a day’s wage, so the guy who received 1 talent had about 27 years wages. It was an incredible amount of money!
Think about it – up until now these guys were just ordinary working stiffs, but with a single act, their master changes their destinies forever. It was an opportunity of a lifetime – it was a defining moment for them. Now, the first guy, realizing the opportunity, immediately goes to work. He wastes no time because he knows that he may never get another opportunity like this.
Now remember, Jesus is telling a parable. So the master, the servants, and the money represent something deeper. The master represents God who gives generously. The servants represent believers, who have been entrusted with much, and the talents or the money represent the abundant life God has given us. It represents all of life - our mind, our abilities, our spiritual gifts, our body, our money, and our will. Like the servants in the story, our God, our master, has given us in this one life we live, literally an opportunity of a lifetime.
The master has called each of us, and He offers us some incredible opportunities in this gift of life:
• To do away with our old life and bring a new one.
• To have our past cleaned up & our sins forgiven.
• To have a friend who will never leave us.
• To gain a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind.
• To be led to do right, encouraged when we are discouraged, lifted up when we fall, filled when we’re hungry, equipped for every good work, and given the power to overcome any circumstance.
• To be given a hope for dying, a peace that passes all understanding, a joy unspeakable, and a purpose for living.