Matthew 25:16-18 (Faithful Diligence With the Talents of Our Lives)

Recall in the parable of the talents that the man, who represents Christ, was about to go on a journey.  Having accomplished the work He came to do (Joh 17:4), He was going to depart out of this world to the Father (Joh 13:1).  And so calling his own slaves, who represent His disciples, He entrusted to one five talents of His possessions, to another two, and to another one, each according to his ability.  A talent was a considerable sum, worth 15-20 years wages for a common worker.  In what way are our lives themselves and how we live them a talent, at least, entrusted to us by the Lord for the service of His kingdom?  How much did the Lord pay for His own slaves (Mat 25:14) that demonstrates the value to Him of a redeemed life for His kingdom cause?  See 1Pe 1:18-19; cf. Eph 1:18.  How much good can one life do in 15-20 years whose heart’s intention is to further his Master’s kingdom?[1]  In this sense, how have those who have grown up in Christian homes and been taught the Scriptures from their youth been entrusted with more talents than others who are gathered into Christ’s kingdom later in life?[2]  Cf. 2Ti 1:5, 3:14-15.  What then does this parable remind us about how our life’s work should be in the service of Christ for the advancement of His kingdom regardless of whatever our vocation happens to be?  Although Paul was a tentmaker, Peter a fisherman, and Luke a doctor, would they have considered those things to be their primary vocation, or was their primary vocation their service to Jesus?  Cf. 2Co 1:1, Eph 1:1, 2Pe 1:1.  Is that our primary vocation?

Consider that a Christian, especially in our culture, may save for retirement from secular work and commonly have 15-20 years of life left to serve his Master without the need to provide for his needs; he is also an elder with skills developed over a lifetime that could potentially benefit God’s kingdom more than others.  Shall he then bury his remaining talent in the earth by idling away his time being entertained after the manner of the world, or use it to further God’s kingdom?  Knowing this, how might a wise servant prepare for that day?  Might he spend less on himself and save even more to retire even earlier as a better steward of his Master’s resources?  Might he avoid the lifestyle practices of the world as Daniel and his friends did with the food of Babylon for better health and longevity to be of even more service to God’s kingdom on earth?  Cf. 1Co 6:19-20.

What does the parable say happened after the man went on his journey?  See Mat 25:16-18.  Notice that immediately may be understood either in regard to the man who immediately went on his journey (see the KJV), or to the slaves who immediately set to work with their talents (as in the NAS); in what way are both true?  How long after imparting to His disciples the truths of gospel was it before Jesus went away to heaven?  How long after Jesus ascended to heaven did the disciples set to work the gospel talents entrusted to them?  Recall that Jesus’ death and resurrection would happen later that week, followed by His ascension 40 days later, and then Pentecost shortly after that when Peter preached to a multitude and 3000 souls were added to their number (Act 2:41) and the Church began to grow.  Although God is patient and forbearing and the opposite of Pharaoh and the Egyptian taskmasters who oppressed the children of Israel with servitude (cf. Mat 11:28-30), does that mean that He has no expectations of His servants for what they should accomplish with their talents during the seasons of grace appointed for them?  Recall that the Lord originally put or placed man in the garden of Eden to cultivate and keep it (Gen 2:15), and observe that the Hebrew word used there means literally that He caused the man to rest in the garden (cf. Young’s Literal Translation).  Hence, the rest that God has for men is not exclusive of the faithful diligence required to keep a garden, but is actually related to it.  Think: was it the case that Jesus, having accomplished the Father’s will on earth, might have taken some time off to just relax and enjoy some worldly pleasures before going to the cross?  See Luk 9:31,51, 1Jo 2:15-17.  Would that have afforded the same sort of rest that comes from having faithfully accomplished the will of the Father that Jesus exemplified and to which He calls men?  Consider too that as the Lord has appointed the seasons of the year during which tilling, planting, and weeding must be accomplished in a garden in order to produce a harvest, so does He seem to have appointed spiritual seasons that with faithful diligence must also be observed in order to obtain a spiritual harvest and multiply the talents He has collectively apportioned to men; cf. Dan 9:24-26, Mal 3:1, Mar 1:14-15, Act 1:7, Rom 5:6, Gal 4:4, Eph 1:10, 1Ti 2:6, Tit 1:3, Heb 9:10.  What then does the example of Christ “straightway” taking His journey, or His disciples “immediately” going to trade with their talents, teach us what God expects of His servants in order to accomplish His will in establishing His kingdom in the fullness of time?

 

[1] I am only one, but I am one.  I cannot do everything, but I can do something.  And that which I can do, by the grace of God, I will do.  D. L. Moody

[2] Dwight Moody once said two and a half persons were converted to Christ at one of his meetings.  A friend asked if he meant two adults and a child.  The facts were just the opposite—two children and an adult—because he understood a whole life is saved when a child is led to Christ!