Good and faithful Steward   Leave a comment

Talent

Talent

The last 2 posts discussed about working hard to earn our daily bread and for the kingdom of Christ. In both posts, mention was made about this sin called laziness. Laziness is often what causes people to sin. A lazy person is an idle person and an idle person is more prone to sin than someone who is busy working.

The Psalmist prayer was:

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” Psalm 90:12

Every single day, every breath is a gift from God. What are we doing with these 24 hours? On average, we sleep 8 hours daily. What do we do with the remaining 16 hours? Does this hand help others during this time or remains idle?

God has entrusted Christians gifts and abilities. God has equipped us so that we can equip others. God has blessed us so that we can be a blessing to others. It’s not because we deserved anything but because of His own purpose. Every time we have should be an opportunity to do good and not evil.

Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” Eph 5:16

In the parable of the 3 servants we see a story which clearly demonstrates that God expects us to multiply what He has entrusted us. In Luke 19 we see a similar parable with minas instead of talents.

He called together his servants and entrusted his money to them while he was gone.” Mat 25

We see that the master went for a long trip which indicates that there’s enough time to do what is right but no clue when the time will come to give an account of what has been done.

He gave five bags of silver to one, two bags of silver to another, and one bag of silver to the last—dividing it in proportion to their abilities. He then left on his trip.”

In other english bible versions, it is the word “talent” which is used to describe what was entrusted. It is equal to 75 pounds. A denarius was the usual payment for a day’s labour and a talent was roughly the value of twenty years of work(about 6000 denarii) by an ordinary person.

The servant who received 5 talents/bags of silver actually got a wealth equal to 100 years of work. Jesus wanted to emphasize that much was given to one who had more abilities. We should also not forget that there’s greater responsibility on the one who received more. He should toil harder and be more careful of not spoiling a single penny. Let us consider that the master knew well the abilities of his servants. We Christians have been gifted with different gifts. Some are called to be pastors, teachers, evangelists, deacons, elders etc.

A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other. To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice; to another the same Spirit gives a message of special knowledge. The same Spirit gives great faith to another, and to someone else the one Spirit gives the gift of healing. He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and another the ability to prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to discern whether a message is from the Spirit of God or from another spirit. Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages,while another is given the ability to interpret what is being said. It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have.” 1 Cor 12:7

Since these gifts are given when we become Christians, they are not innate. It is the Spirit who gives these gifts. Whether it be in the parable of the talents or 1 Corinthians 12, what has been entrusted was given for a purpose. It was given to produce something. In 1 Corinthians 12 it was given to edify other believers whilst in Matthew 25 to increase wealth.

What we read next is this:

The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.” (NIV)

Went at once? Time is money. Time is souls. Lost of time is waste of money. Waste of time is lost of souls. A property bought 20 years ago has more value nowadays than 20 years ago because with time it increases in worth. The one who received 5 bags/talents was able to double what he received. The wealth acquired was equal to 200 years of work by a usual worker! 5 bags did not produce 1 more bag. On average, each bag produced one more bag. It was the same for the one who received 2 bags. The wealth of the master was now worth 80 years of work instead of 40. Each bag again produced one more bag. What about the one who received just one bag? He went to dig a hole in the ground. Why? Because he feared someone could steal it? Jesus did not say that he stole a penny from it. So he did not owe anything then, right?

In business terms he was indebted to the master since 10 dollars today will not be able to buy the same thing in 20 years.  No interest was accrued on that capital. A house which you could have bought cheaper 5 years ago is probably not affordable today.

After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them.”

A long time. This is enough to say that the master knew that the time of maturity to reap had come. The servant who already obtained 3 more talents could have rested because he could no longer be blamed for not being productive. But no, he toiled to make each of his talents bear fruits. He was blameless. A success in one area would not compensate for a deliberate act of laziness.

None of the servants knew when the master would come. But the time had come when the master returned and wanted to settle accounts. We will  need to give account to what we did one day.

For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body.” 2 Cor 5:10

Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God.” Romans 14:12
The servant who received 5 talents said:  The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.”

His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!

A few things? If 100 years is a few thing, what could be these many things? The time for rejoicing has come for these 2 servants who doubled what they received. They were not commended because of how much they did but because of their faithfulness.

But the one who received just 1 talent said : ” ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’

Oh these arguments appear to be so legitimate.”I could not serve God because of my wife, husband or work etc”. Jesus in the parable of the feast said :

But they all began making excuses. One said, ‘I have just bought a field and must inspect it. Please excuse me.’ Another said, ‘I have just bought five pairs of oxen, and I want to try them out. Please excuse me.’ Another said, ‘I now have a wife, so I can’t come.’”

Granted the master was a hard man who wanted to reap where he did not sow, but why did not the other 2 dug a hole?

His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.”

What God gives should always bear fruits. ‘Wicked and lazy servant’, these are the terms used by the Master. The servant had the same time as the other servants. A long time just to double a single talent. But no, he hid the wealth and dared to return it unfruitful to the master. It’s lazy people who are afraid to work. Hard workers don’t fear to work.

“‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

A servant who is not productive is a worthless servant.

I won’t say may ‘God help me to be a hard worker’ but rather may God forgive me for not being a faithful and productive servant. I often hear that some people have some hidden talents. But Christians should NOT have hidden talents, everything given by God to them is for a purpose. It is sad to see that many Christians still don’t know what God called them to do. The bible clearly says that each of us has been given a special ability so there’re no reasons to be unproductive. There’re either good stewards or lazy ones.

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