Summary: Jesus tells of 3 servants who were given valuable "talents". Why was the Master in this parable pleased with the first two servants, but angry with the 3rd? And how did the "value" of those talents effect the decisions of each of those three men?
OPEN: Does anybody know what is the highest mountain on earth is? (Mt. Everest)
This mountain is located in the Himalayas on the borders of Nepal and China.
And because it is the highest mountain on earth, it is a popular destination for mountain climbers. But you need to have a lot of money to do this particular climb. It presently costs climbers about $20,000 to make it to the top of Mt. Everest.
Mt. Everest is a popular destination for mountain climbers, but that doesn’t mean it’s a safe place to be. This isn’t a tourist attraction like an amusement park. This mountain is an extremely dangerous place to climb. It’s said that the bodies of over 200 people are still up on the mountain. Climbers who’ve died on the slopes of Mt. Everest.
One climber noted:
“There are times when you literally have to step over somebody’s body to get to the top,”
One of the most tragic deaths occurred about six years ago (in May of 2006). A 34 year old Englishman named David Sharp managed a solo climb to top of Everest and was making his way back down when he began to suffer from hypothermia. He sat down and eventually he died. But as he lay dying - 800 ft one of the Camps on the mountain –he was passed by 40 other climbers who were headed for the summit. And not one of those climbers made an attempt at a rescue.
APPLY: Now, why did these 40 climbers leave Sharp to die?
Well, because they were on their way to top of the highest mountain in the world.
And they’d spent 1000s of dollars the privilege.
If they turned back now… they might never make the summit.
So, they just walked past the body… of a man they figured would die anyway
I want you to hold that thought in your mind for a couple of minutes. We’ll come back to this story at the end of the sermon. But for right now, let’s take a look at our text for this morning.
Here in Matthew 25 - Jesus is telling us that the Kingdom of Heaven (or the Church) is like a man who gave his servants a huge amount of money, called “talents”.
What’s a Talent?
Well, several chapters earlier (in Matthew 20) Jesus told a parable of workers hired to work in a vineyard. We’re told in that parable, that a Denarius was a day’s wages. And we know from other sources that one talent was worth 6000 Denarii.
Doing the math: It would take a person working 5 to 6 days a week for 20 years or more to earn one talent. So, if (say) we earned $30,000 a year for the next 20 years - that would make a talent worth around $600,000.
That’s ONE talent.
Does that sound like a lot of money to you?
The point the parable was, that each of these servants in the parable received a TASK they could do. Each of them was given something that the Master wanted taken care of. Each of the servants was given a responsibility the Master believed they could handle.
Last week, we learned that each of us is a servant of God
Romans 10 tells us that part of becoming a Christian is confessing that Jesus our LORD (Lord was a master, or slave owner). That means, that when we became Christians we should have given Jesus ownership of our lives.
He is the Master, we are His servants.
Now, fast forward to Matthew 25 where Jesus is teaching us that each of us (as servants) have specific tasks that HE wants us to accomplish. Each of us has been given “talents” that He wants us to use for Him.
Ephesians 2:10 tells this very thing when it says: “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus FOR GOOD WORKS that God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Now these “good works” (mentioned in Ephesians 2) have great importance to God.
That’s why Jesus used MONEY to get His point across.
A lot of money!
A talent was worth $600,000 in our economy.
That much money can get our attention real fast!
And Jesus used this valuable “talent” to drive home the fact that God has given us some valuable things to do for Him. No matter what I do for Him it has great value… because God said it did.
Colossians 3:23 tells us “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men”. It doesn’t matter if we’re doing things for Him in the factory or in the field. If we do what we do for Him… Jesus says that is of great value in Heaven.