Summary: God is the giver who give gifts abundantly. However we need to make sure we take advantage of these gifts rather than being slothful towards God. Among His gifts, the greatest gift we all need is the forgiveness of sins ours by faith in our Savior Jesus
By Rev. Ryan J. Ogrodowicz
Text: Matt. 25: 14-30
22nd Sunday After Pentecost
Taking Advantage of God’s Gifts
In a Baptism we have water and the Word of God. The Word of God is mighty. It’s powerful. It creates. We can go back to Genesis to find God speaking creation into existence. God said “let there be..” and there was. In Baptism there is the Holy Name of God present, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, the very Name Christ commands us in Matt. 28: 19 to baptized into. Where the Name is present, Christ is present and therefore life, salvation and the forgiveness of sins are present in the waters of Holy Baptism. It is in Baptism that Paul says in Romans 6: 4 “we were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” So there you have it: in baptism there is death and life—the washing away and killing of the Old Adam, that is, our sinful nature, and the brining to life the new man in Christ—all promises received by the gift of faith. Baptism is God’s work, not sinful man’s and it is a gift regardless of whether or not a person relies on it. God’s gifts are wonderful things but they are often rejected by unbelievers and even forgotten by Christians. That is one point of today’s text.
Three servants are given portions of their master’s property each according to their ability. Then the master goes away for a long period time. As soon as the master leaves the first servant, the servant with five talents trades with them to earn five more. The second servant having only two talents does the same thing and he too doubles his investment, earning two more talents. Both of these servants get a two-fold return on the talents they trade with. They took what they had been entrusted with and handled it properly. The third servant, the one who received only one talent, does nothing with his money. Rather than investing it he goes and hides his master’s money in a field. The text said the master was gone a “long time” plenty of time for a servant to learn how to properly manage what had been given him. He could’ve chatted with the other servants in order to get some tips on investing. Or he could’ve simply given it to professional traders, bankers who handled money all the time. A little interest would’ve been better than no interest. A little ambition on part of the servant would’ve been better none at all. However none of this happens. Rather the money remains hidden in the field throughout the duration of the master’s absence; the servant never touches it until he and the other servants are called to settle their accounts with the master. The first two servants are praised for the way they handled their master’s assets. He says to each of them “well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” When the third servant approaches his master, he can only return the one talent he had been given. His claim is that it was out of fear that he did nothing with the money. That’s his defense. Supposedly he was afraid of his master and therefore did nothing with what had been entrusted him. Even still that doesn’t stop him from calling the master a hard man and accusing him of reaping where he does not sow and gathering where he did not scatter seed. The excuse doesn’t work. And in the end this wicked and slothful servant is cast out of his master’s presence.