Summary: God has called us to be faithful stewards which includes using our spiritual gifts to serve the church.
What do you want to hear at the end of your life?
Matthew 25:14 – 25:30
George Bernard Shaw, the 1925 Nobel laureate in literature, shortly before he died was asked by a reporter "Mr. Shaw," "if you could live your life over and be anybody you know, or any person from history, who would you be?" "I would choose," replied Shaw "to be the man George Bernard Shaw could have been, but never was."
I like that response. It was a good response. But as much as I like Bernard Shaw’s response, when I come to the end of my life, I don’t want to say what he said. At the end of my life, I want to be able to say, “By the grace of God, I have fulfilled God’s will for my life, I have become the man God desired me to be.” In essence, I want to be able to say what Jesus said a few days before His death. In John 17:4 Jesus says, “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.” Is that what you want to say at the end of your life?
And at the end of my life do you know what I want to hear from God? What do you want to hear at the end of your life? I want to hear God say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” How many of you would like to hear those words? Raise your hands. It’s either that or “you wicked and lazy servant.”
At the rate your living, and spending, might I add, if Jesus were to come right now, what do you think you’d hear? This is a very important question. If you were to drive home after church, and get into an accident, probation is over for you. It’s hasta la vista baby, for you! And the next moment for you is going to be the resurrection. Which side will you wake up on? Are you going to wake up next to Hitler and Mussolini, or on the other side with Martin Luther and John Calvin? Oh, I like those names.
I want to journey with you through the parable of the talents this morning. Most of you are probably very familiar with this parable. Before going into the actual passage, let me give you a quick summary of this parable for those who may not be familiar with this parable before we journey through it verse by verse.
Jesus said that a master was getting ready to take a long journey. So he called in his servants and distributed his wealth among them. Then he left. And then he came back. And when he came back he called for an accounting, and those who had invested wisely, he rewarded. And the one who did not invest is condemned. That’s the parable in a nutshell.
(14) For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them.
Who does the man traveling to a far country represent? God. Who do the servants represent? The servants represent you and me.
I like the way the NIV puts it. “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them.”
The goods do not belong to the people—they belong to God. They are His goods and they have only been entrusted to His servants.
(15) And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey.
The talents in the parable referred originally to money. A talent of silver in Bible times was worth about twenty years’ wages for the common laborer. Today that would equal around a half million dollars. That is not cheap. Understand that God has entrusted us with a lot.
Now while the talents in the parable referred originally to money, they also symbolize something else.
I would submit that everything we have and everything we are comprise the talents entrusted to us by God. Would you agree?
This includes our abilities. This includes our time: each precious moment of every day, every week, every month, and every year given to us. This includes our material and financial resources. And it includes our relationships with loved ones and friends. In short our very lives!!!
Everything we have is entrusted to us by God, and we are called to be good stewards! Do we believe in stewardship? Amen! It is one of the 27 fundamental beliefs of our church.
Friends, stewardship is about the right use of our life. And money is a part of that life. Money is simply a representation of time, talent, and sweat - poured into a piece of paper or a checking account. It ALL belongs to the master. All of it! Amen!