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A Parable for Our Time

Matthew 25:14–30

Jesus told a story of three men who were asked to steward their master’s treasure while he was away. When he finally arrived back, the master asked the stewards how they had managed his finances.

The first servant told his master that he’d doubled his treasure and now he had ten talents to give back. The second man had doubled his portion as well and now he had four to offer. The landowner was delighted with both of them.

He then turned to the third servant, who had been given a single talent. This servant had been afraid to take a chance, so he had buried his talent in the ground, then returned it to his master. Poor guy. You can almost feel his shock at what comes next. His master exploded in anger: “You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed?” (Matthew 25:26 NIV). Then he added, in effect, “And yet you buried my gold so that now you’re giving me back only what is mine?! Those who risk nothing, do nothing, invest nothing, and fail to obey my command, I will take away even what they have.”

If you think Jesus was trying to get our attention with that story, you’re right. Read on. In the very next sentence, He tells of the day of judgment when the Son of Man, surrounded by all His holy angels, will separate the sheep from the goats. To those who have obeyed the Master, however great or however small their initial gifts, the very gates of heaven will fling wide open. It is not the size of the talent that matters at this point but the faithfulness of the servant. Those who have obeyed will be welcomed with open arms and abundantly rewarded. Those who have disobeyed, however, and those who simply sat on their treasure will be shown to the nearest exit. This is not a salvation by works but a revelation of responsibility. This declares how the saved are to steward God’s resources.

I can offer no more sobering challenge than Christ’s own words, not mine. Our Lord Jesus says, “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love” (John 15:10).

Oh, that we pastors might take that admonition to heart and obey His Word so that we might rejoice in our Father’s love!

—Chuck

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