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In the parable of the talents we have seen from the example of the first two servants who are described as good and faithful that our Master Jesus Christ invites us to enter into His joy by joining Him as participants in His creative act of building a kingdom of righteousness, similar to the way He has invited people throughout history to join Him in His original act of creation by being fruitful and multiplying on the earth and tending His garden.  We do this both by sowing the seed of His word and winnowing the chaff from the wheat to be gathered into His barn with our faithfulness on earth to His kingdom principles.  These first two servants knew their Master to be gracious and generous and so served Him from love and were rewarded accordingly.  However, the third servant, like the unbelieving Jews, the scribes and Pharisees, and the older brother of the prodigal son, did not know Him this way.  Because his heart was not right, he couldn’t see that his master reaped where he did not sow, and gathered where he did not winnow in order that his servants might participate in his enterprise and share in the joy of its reward.  Nor did this servant consider the beneficence of his master who more than any other sows plentifully, but reaps nothing at all, as his own unwillingness to do something with the talent entrusted to him illustrates; cf. Mat 5:45.  Because he perceived his master as harsh, stubborn, hard and even cruel, he served him only from fear; contrast 1Jo 4:18.  What account did this servant therefore give to the master of the talent entrusted to him?  See Mat 25:25.

In a previous study on Mat 25:18 we saw that the servant was likely worried about thieves (Mat 6:19), and so hid his master’s money for fear that he would be held accountable for it being stolen.  In a spiritual sense, thieves are those who deprive God’s people of the riches of His wisdom and truth (cf. Joh 10:8,10, Act 20:29-30, 2Co 11:14-15, 1Ti 6:3-5), and so this servant represents those who are careful to preserve that truth, but who do nothing with it to further His kingdom interests in the world.  Although he had done nothing with the talent entrusted to him that would commend himself to the master, what did the servant say in Mat 25:25 that he supposed would at least absolve him from wrongdoing and prevent him from being condemned by his master?  Cf. the self-description Matthew Henry paints of this man[1].  In like manner, should we suppose that just because we possess the riches of God’s grace and truth that we shall be absolved from wrongdoing if we are but careful to preserve them and even do nothing to oppose them?  If not, then what are we doing with our Master’s treasures entrusted to us not just to preserve them from being stolen by spiritual thieves, but to further His kingdom interests in the world?  Consider the third servant’s justification as he came to report to his master, which he supposed would excuse himself from condemnation: how is that like so many today when they consider the possibility of a day of judgment and what they suppose they will say to excuse themselves?  Will their excuses stand up before Him whose eyes are a flame of fire any more than did those of this servant?

Where does Jesus in the parable say in both Mat 25:18 and Mat 25:25 that the third servant went to hide his master’s money?  What is the significance that the word used is the same found in Mat 22:5, 22, 25:10,46?  Having been given our Master’s treasure, do we go away to our own business in the world because we love the world and the things in it more than we love Him?  Hearing His truth that even causes us to marvel so we have nothing to say do we go away unmoved and unchanged in our heart?  Having gone away from Him to our own pursuits and neglected to obtain the oil of God’s Spirit when it could easily have been obtained, will we find ourselves also going away to try and obtain some after we are awakened to come out and meet the Bridegroom, so that we ultimately also find ourselves going away into eternal judgment?  If one’s manner of living in this life is to go away from the Lord, should he be surprised that in eternity he will also find himself away from the Lord?

[1] “Lord, I was no spendthrift of my estate, no prodigal of my time, no profaner of my Sabbaths, no opposer of good ministers and good preaching; Lord, I never ridiculed my Bible, nor set my wits to work to banter religion, nor abused my power to persecute any good man; I never drowned my parts, nor wasted God’s good creatures in drunkenness and gluttony, nor ever to my knowledge did I injury to anybody.”  Many that are called Christians, build great hopes for heaven upon their being able to make such an account; yet all this amounts to no more than “See, you have what is yours”; as if no more were required, or could be expected.  Matthew Henry.

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