November 13, 2011
Matthew 25:14-30

In this passage, we find ourselves in the middle of a series of statements Jesus made about the absent, but imminently returning master. In Matthew 24:36-44, Jesus spoke of His return and said, “No one knows the day and hour, not even the angels of heaven…” In verse 45, He said, “Be ready.” In Matthew 24:45-51, Jesus spoke of how unwise it is for a servant to serve as though his master will not return and discover what he has done. The parable of the wise and foolish virgins (Matthew 25:1-13) points out the foolish virgins were not prepared for the coming of the bridegroom. In each of these stories, the master or the groom is absent, but will appear when least expected.

Now we come to the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30) and again see a dramatic picture of responsibility in the absence of the master. Three men receive talents or abilities from their master. One received five talents, one received two, and one received one. These talents are essentially the gifts or abilities given to someone to do the job he or she has been asked to do. The parable focuses on the useless one-talent man—useless not because he had only one talent, but because he refused to use what he had. Gifts, talents, abilities and opportunities not used are lost.

Have you ever wondered why some people seem to be given much responsibility and others are given little? From time to time, we may hear people questioning why a certain person seems to get the great opportunities. Could trustworthiness be a factor?

The story before us is about responsibility, accountability and trust. The text contains three simple and practical truths:

I. The Lord Sovereignly Dispenses His Gifts (v. 15)
The recipient of the gift does not determine the nature, size or function of the gift. “To one he gave five talents, to another two and to another one, to each according to his ability, and immediately he went on a journey.”

God gives us opportunities and abilities to serve Him.

II. The Lord Requires Accountability for His Gifts (v.19)
The master who gave the talents also inspects how those talents are used.

The Christian life is a life of responsibility. We have been entrusted with the gospel. We have been entrusted with the Word of God. God has entrusted His people with His program and purpose on earth. The question is: Can we be trusted?

The apostle Paul pictured how God entrusts His people with valuable treasures in 2 Corinthians 4:7, ” But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of man.”

III. The Lord Responds to the Neglect of His Gifts (v. 26)
Please notice our Lord’s words of anger are not about the person, but about the person’s performance. The one-talent man who buried his talent lost everything. He is a picture of a saved soul and lost life.

Look at Paul’s sobering words in 1 Corinthians 3:13-15, “…each one’s work will become clear; for the day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work of what sort it is. If anyone’s work, which he has built on, endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”

Your usefulness and fruitfulness in God’s kingdom work will be determined by your trustworthiness. Can you be trusted with all He has given to you?

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