Summary: The Parable of the Talents provides a condensed description of what life is all about. God has entrusted each of us with resources and opportunity. He grants freedom to choose how we will invest our time, money, etc... But we must live life understanding
What’s Life All About?
Have you ever asked yourself, “What am I going to do with my life?”
Maybe when you were in your senior year of high school the career counselor helped you ask that question. Maybe in the midst of a great crisis you found yourself asking, “What am I going to do now? There can be those times in prayer when it is very natural to ask God, “What am I going to do with my life?” During a transition from one season of life to another—from childhood into adulthood, in midlife, at retirement—there is a need to look back at where we have been and try to get our bearings as to where we go from here. What will you do with the next 20 years of your life?
The story Jesus tells in our text this morning sets forth essentials for answering those kinds of questions. The Parable of the Talents is life’s meaning in a nutshell! I know of no better summary of what life is all about than the one Jesus gives us here in Matthew 25.
The story is about a man who goes on a long journey. Before he leaves he entrusts his property to his servants. Two of those servants are faithful to the master’s desires. One is not. When the master returns he requires each servant to give account of what he has done with the property entrusted to him. The two faithful servants are rewarded. The unfaithful servant is cast out.
Let’s consider three fundamental facts of life that we can draw from this story.
1st. Our Master has entrusted to each one of us certain resources and opportunities.
When we hear the word talent we do not think of the same thing as the disciples did when Jesus was telling this story. For us a talent has come to mean ability or natural gifting. But in this story a talent is about a 100 pounds of metal, probably gold or silver. The dollar value of a gold talent today at current gold prices (about $ 415 an ounce) would be about 1600 ounces at $ 415 or $ 664,000. Although we can’t know exactly how much money a talent was in our story, we know it was a lot of money. And the point we must see here is that God has entrusted every person in this room with something very valuable. Even the one talent man was given a lot of money to handle.
What do the talents represent in your life? They represent everything God has given you—which is everything you are and everything you have. What do you have that you did not receive from God? Paul asked that question to the Christians in Corinth. 1 Cor. 4:7 “For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?”
Here is something we must remember as we journey through life. Every ability I have, every dollar I have, every opportunity that comes my way, the very air I breathe come to me from God. I am not my own. I am bought with a price, the precious blood of Jesus. Everything really belongs to God. He has simply entrusted me with it during this brief event we call life.
The moment I think that the money I have belongs to me to do with as I please is the moment I am already thinking wrong about life. The moment I think I have success because of my capability or my efforts is the moment I am already thinking wrong. Do you have good health? Do you have a good job? Do you have money? It is all on lend to you for a brief season. Deut 8:18 "And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth...” NKJV
Why are we not more thankful? Because we forget where it all came from. A subtle misunderstanding comes in and it gets us off track. If we’re not careful we can start thinking that God is lucky we give Him ten percent. There are serious dangers in that kind of thinking. We will not just give account for the ten percent. You and I will give account for every penny of it. It’s not mine to use as I please. It’s to be used, as God wants it used.
In 1 Cor. 12 Paul talks about the diversity of spiritual gifts in the people of God. Some are granted more prophetic insight than others. Some are given faith. Some are given words of wisdom. God grants to some people more leadership abilities than others. Paul talks about that but then he reminds them of a very important principle. Did God give one person more ability than others just so that person could use it to his own selfish ends? No! 1 Cor 12:7 “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.”