Summary: The sermon focues on the proper management of resources in a person’s life. It was delivered in a seeker church, but is believer targeted.
The Parable of the Talents
Dr. Marty Baker / Matthew 25:14-30/ March 9, 2003
America is fascinated with talented people. This is evident by the fact that 25 million people watched the 45th Annual Grammy Awards two weeks ago, and an estimated 40 million viewers will tune-in to the 75th Annual Oscars Ceremony on Sunday March 23rd.
Of course, you do not have to wait for an awards show to see the new talent emerging on the scene. You can just tune into American Idol and see the hopefuls week after week risk their egos to see what Simon says. If you’re not an Idol watcher, you may be looking forward to "The Search for the Most Talented Kid in America," NBCs edition run in the talent show race.
So many people think that this concept is new, but those of us who can remember all the way back to the 1980s realize that Ed McMahon was doing Star Search back in the Dark Ages. Now Star Search is back and if you can believe it, there is even a Pet Star Search. Actually, it’s a new show on the Animal Planet Network called Pet Star. It seems that we are desperate for talent.
A little over ten years ago, Rush Limbaugh burst on the national landscape with his daily three hour radio show. One of the trademark lines that you often hear him say is, "Talent on loan from God." Regardless of what you think about Rush’s philosophy and politics, he has one thing right: our talent is a gift from God.
Today, we continue in our series called A Jesus Story. This is a series built on some of the parables that Jesus taught. Parables are fictional stories that use real-life characters to reveal the heart of the people listening. Today, our focus is on the parable of the talents found in Matthew 25.
14 "Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them.
15 To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey.
In this story, Jesus describes a man who owned a great household or in today’s vernacular, a corporation. He often traveled great distances for extended periods of time. During this particular trip, he placed the management responsibility of the company on three individuals who worked for him.
The owner knew exactly what each man could handle so he proportioned the management responsibility according each person’s ability. One was given five talents, one was given three talents, and the third one was given a single talent.
A talent was actually a measurement of weight. Talents would vary greatly depending upon just what was being weighed out — gold, silver, copper. A single talent of either gold, silver or copper would have been a significant sum of money.
For instance, a talent of silver was worth 6000 denarii. A denarii was the amount of money that a laborer would earn in a single day, so one talent of silver would be equal to sixteen years of salary. Five talents would be enough money to live a long and prosperous life. If you were to translate that into modern terminology using the figure that a good laborer today makes between seventy and one hundred dollars a day, a talent would be worth over four hundred thousand dollars.
The owner entrusted these guys with a lot of resources. It is interesting, however, that he did not provide instructions for them to follow. How they handled the money and how they behaved while he was away was left entirely to the discretion of each individual worker. What did they do?
16 The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more.
17 So also, the one with the two talents gained two more.
18 But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
Two of the managers were diligent. The one with five talents and the manager with two talents went to work investing, trading, wheeling and dealing, and through their skills were able to double the respective amounts they had each been given. The third servant, given the single talent, simply buried the money in the ground. In those days that was a common practice to insure the safekeeping of valuables. Let’s read the next verse.
"After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them.
In our business world, we settle accounts at the end of the month, the quarter and the physical year. Whether this is a quarterly report or annual report, the parable does not say, but what it does say is that the owner returned to settle the accounts. God does not always settle his accounts in the time frame that we feel is appropriate, but one day, He will settle his accounts. That’s the message that Jesus is teaching here.