In the Parable of the Talents Jesus is contrasting those servants who use the spiritual treasures entrusted to them to further their Master’s interests in the world with those who bury them so they are of no use to anyone, including themselves. After commending the servants who acted according to His will as being good and faithful, which is a reflection of His own nature, what did the Master in the parable say would be their reward? See Mat 25:21,23. For what reason did He say that He would put them in charge of many things? What does this again remind us about the importance of faithfulness? What were the “few things” that the Master had entrusted to these two servants that they had been faithful with? See Mat 25:15-17, and recall that a talent was worth 6000 denarii, which is the equivalent of 15-20 years wages for an average worker. If such is considered “a few things”, how much must “many things” encompass? Cf. 1Co 2:9. What does this remind us about the greatness of the eternal reward for those who are faithful to God with whatever “little” they may have here in this life? See Mat 24:45-47, Luk 22:28-30, Rev 2:26, 3:21. What does the hope of a personal reward for one’s own labor also teach us about the fallacies of socialism that centralizes all ownership with the collective?
Consider one who is poor in the world’s goods and lives in a small home on a little lot; although he may envy the rich man’s possessions of a larger home with its yard and garden and swimming pool, if he cannot maintain and keep neat and clean his smaller possession, would he even be capable of managing a larger estate, or would it most likely fall into a similar state of disrepair as his current property? Considering the greater loss incurred to the larger estate than to a smaller one by an unfaithful manager, in what way does God’s goodness extend even to the unfaithful by not giving them their heart’s desire for more, lest they incur a stricter judgment for squandering more? Cf. Luk 12:48. What does this also remind us about the importance of being content with whatever the Lord deems best for us? Although the second servant was commended and rewarded for having faithfully managed his two talents, would it necessarily have turned out the same if in envy he had sought five talents as the first servant, but wasn’t capable of managing those extra talents and there was a loss instead of a gain?
Besides putting those who had been faithful in a few things in charge of much more, with what even greater treasure did the Master reward them? See Mat 25:21,23. What is the source or cause of the joy with which Jesus rewards His faithful servants? Does it come from having obtained things, or from having done the right thing that is pleasing to God? See Joh 15:10-11, Rom 14:17. In what way is that joy especially rich and full when doing the right thing is difficult and even costs us sacrificially? See Luk 6:22-23, Joh 17:13-14, Act 13:50-52, Phil 2:17-18, 1Th 1:6, Jam 1:2-4. See also Jesus’ own example in Heb 12:2 for the joy into which he invites His good and faithful servants to enter. In what way is such eternal joy with which the Lord rewards those who by sacrifice overcome the world, the flesh and the devil reflected in the joy and sense of reward that those experience who sacrifice and overcome difficulties to earn a degree, or to learn a trade, or to speak a foreign language fluently, or to play a musical instrument? How does this help us to understand the difference between joy and fun? Although it is not necessarily wrong to have fun, how does the fun with which the world entices people compare to the more permanent, abiding nature of joy? Does the Lord promise His people fun, or joy? Was it with having fun in His kingdom that the Master in the parable rewarded His servants? As Christians, should our goal in life be to have fun or to have joy? Consider that the Lord Himself (and indeed all heaven) has unending joy from each sinner that is saved as a result of the sacrifice He made to redeem mankind; cf. Luk 15:7,10. Similarly, what is the great source of the permanent and abiding joy into which He invites His good and faithful servants to enter into that likewise comes from our own personal sacrifice? See Phil 4:1, 1Th 2:19-20, 3:9, 3Jo 1:4, and consider how in this way the Lord invites us to become participants in His creative acts and share in the joy of His eternal creation. How does this also help us to understand the great joy of parenthood, in spite of the many sacrifices it requires? Cf. Joh 16:21. While sex is fun, does it bring joy like children do? How does this help us to understand why it is impossible for homosexuals and others who are sexually immoral to inherit the kingdom of God? Cf. 1Co 6:9-11. Although they can have fun in this world, can such lifestyles ever experience eternal joy?
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The Atonement of Christ's Blood: Understanding How the Blood of Christ Saves and Reconciles us to God
- What is the relationship between Jesus’ sacrifice and our redemption, forgiveness and receiving an inheritance per the terms of the covenant / will that was effected by His death?
- From what, and to what, are we saved? Is it Jesus’ death alone that saves us? What part does His resurrection have in our salvation?
- Does the justice of God demand the satisfaction of blood before He will forgive, similar to what pagans throughout history have believed?
- What was the purpose of the Old Testament sacrifices?
- Does blood alone atone for sin?
- How does Christ’s death render powerless the devil?
- To whom was Christ’s life given as a ransom? From what are we ransomed?
- Why did Jesus not only die, but suffer and die? If all that was necessary was His shed blood, why didn’t God sovereignly ordain a more merciful death for His own dear Son?
- What is the relationship between a will or testament, and a covenant? What was willed to Jesus as an inheritance from His Father, and what was willed to us through the new testament in His blood?