Horses can tell us a lot about their masters. One of my friends Jeff Scholten had Elianna and I over to ride horses at his house. He put the saddle on one of them, and I hopped up on the horse. I grabbed the reins and the horse does nothing. Jeff jumps up on the horse grabs the reins and instantly the horse does what he says. The horse can tell if the master is strong enough to command them, if the master has their best interests at heart all by how the master holds the reins. If a horse could talk they would speak very clearly about the identity of the master that they love.
The parable of the talents is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning that Jesus uses to instruct people about how to make use of the gifts that God gives to us
And I think most of the time when we consider this parable we think about the servants. There are three. And each servant is given a different size gift by the master to be managed while the master goes on vacation. Two of the servants say thank you and manage the money well. One decides to bury the money and makes nothing. Two servants rewarded while the other receives a horrific punishment. Today I want to know why these servants did what they did. Specifically I want to know why the third servant didn’t want to use the gift.
He tells us very clearly, “Master I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed.” Translation – he thought the master was out to get him. He considered his master some sort of venture capitalist thief profiting off his back so he did nothing.
What was the motivation for the other two servants? You don’t hear them ask for anything in return. You don’t hear them complain or as why one got more than the other. They simply say “master…here is what you gave me…so I give you back this.”
Their different response was completely related to how they viewed the master. The servants who heard that he would trust them with something so important – led them to want to be good managers themselves.
The servant who wasted his gift simply couldn’t see the graciousness of his master and he paid an eternal price.
Want you tell you another story. There was a man who worked in a factory. His boss put him in charge of a few workers. His job was to make sure that the day ran as scheduled. The man never really built a relationship with his boss. In fact all he knew was that his boss was rich. He knew that his boss owned a huge mansion and that he would regularly go out with the “big wigs” as he called them upstairs to golf instead of work. At least this was his impression. His boss was someone who took advantage of the folks “downstairs” he would say.
The man had a constant suspicion of his boss. So he was constantly looking for better positions rather than excelling with the talents of the staff that had been entrusted to his care. Because he looked to greener pastures he neglected his duties. The boss finally did check up on him and while his co-workers got raises he was fired. The problem was that he was so busy assuming his master was a bad man that he didn’t do the work that was entrusted to him. He should have taken inventory of his duties and gifts and completed his tasks – instead he buried his head in the ground looking for better opportunities.
Friends how much of what God has given you have you buried in the ground of self-advancement or self-enjoyment rather than directing every gift you’ve been given toward the glory of God and the good of others? How many times do I say things like this – I don’t have enough or I don’t have any more or I can’t? When we constantly wish for more instead of managing what is given well – that’s really saying to God you aren’t good…you don’t know what is best.
See when we forget how good God is – when we don’t trust him – that’s when we look to ourselves. Planning, budgeting, saving its all good its all vital but done without realizing why we do it? Even giving without knowing why is useless. When we forget the identity of our God as a good giver that cannot be outspent we become the third servant living in fear that we will never have enough. Sin causes us to manage our blessings from a position of lacking and fear not of abundance, contentment, and management.
So for today the why of the two servants becomes your why too. How amazing is it that God in the story goes on vacation and gives gifts to the servants in the first place. See God doesn’t NEED me to do anything for him. But he loves you and wants you to trust him so he graciously hands you weighty treasures. And the most weighty of those treasures is the precious blood of Jesus. For every one who has will be given more AMEN you have been given talents – giant weighty measures of God’s love and that love wells up to abundance. It can’t run out. There’s nothing expected or attached to it. God simply says here it is. Use it – enjoy it – rejoice in it. My forgiveness is a never ending supply of love for you to have and to hold for eternity.
As much as this story is about knowing the master – a God who gives graciously…this parable also tells us how God knows us.
Friends you want to know one of the most frustrating things for me as a Christian? I carry a lot of guilt for what I could have done for God’s kingdom and not just in church but in my community in my family – my budgeting mistakes, my debt, my wasting of my abilities. When I see these servants I see something amazing.
God knew what to give them. See maybe sometimes you feel like “if I had more I would do __________”. Maybe you feel like Pastor talked about money so I should but I can’t because I messed up and I’m stuck in debt. Maybe you feel like gosh I’m just happy to pay my bills this week. Maybe you feel like Pastor doesn’t have a right to talk about this – well the Bible does so sorry.
In this story you don’t see a God who said to the servant he gave one I expect you to return fifty.
God doesn’t expect you to do what you can’t. Instead he says I gave one 5 – I gave one 2 – I gave another 1. Simply manage your finances however much or little to the glory of the master who loved you first. That’s not just for at church that’s every time you go to the store, go to a movie, or take care of your family.
See friends I know that this topic is a touchy one. It’s the thing that we like to burry in the ground where nobody talks about it or sees it even though the Bible talks about it in more than 2300 verses. We often are that third servant. But as we see the identity of our master as the best gift giver now we want to shed light on this. Now we want to say very simply – God you blessed me with X financially so I will share, plan, save, and budget Y for these areas in my life.
Its planned, its proportionate, and most of all its done in trust. Knowing that our God is the one who gives us always exactly what we need to serve Him. AMEN