How important is it to you, to be trusted by someone who has authority over you?
If someone important entrusted you with an important task, would you be a faithful steward to accomplish the task you were given?
We will look at one of Jesus’ parables in this study that gives us an account of this very thing.
I will use Scripture taken from the Amplified Bible (copyright - The Lockman Foundation) for our study.
Our Scripture text will be taken primarily from Matthew chapter 25.
The background setting for this parable is the Mount of Olives and Jesus is speaking to His Disciples privately. It is two days before Passover and the arrest of Jesus.
Matthew 24:1 Jesus departed from the temple area and was going on His way when His disciples came up to Him to call His attention to the buildings of the temple and point them out to Him.
Matthew 24:2 But He answered them, Do you see all these? Truly I tell you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.
Matthew 24:3 While He was seated on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately and said, Tell us, when will this take place, and what will be the sign of Your coming and of the end (the completion, the consummation) of the age?
The next two chapters consist of Jesus’ response to His Disciples question to Him.
Jesus tells this parable to His Disciples to help them understand about the kingdom of heaven.
For this study, we will start with Matthew 25:14
Matthew 25:14 For it is like a man who was about to take a long journey, and he called his servants together and entrusted them with his property.
We can see already that this man is master over at least three servants.
We can also see that he has some wealth and is willing to entrust his wealth to these servants.
This master was about to leave for a long time. He doesn’t share with his servants how long he will be gone.
Matthew 25:15 To one he gave five talents [probably about $5,000], to another two, to another one--to each in proportion to his own personal ability. Then he departed and left the country.
What else can we learn about this situation?
We learn that this master knows his servants abilities and assigns them responsibilities accordingly.
The first servant is given the heaviest responsibilities. He was given five talents.
The second servant is also given a heavy responsibility, but not as much as the first servant.
The third servant is given the least responsibility of the three.
We learn that the master is discerning and fair in his assignments. Then the master leaves the country.
The three servants are now alone to choose how they will serve their master.
Let’s examine the choices they made for their master:
Matthew 25:16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he gained five talents more.
Matthew 25:17 And likewise he who had received the two talents--he also gained two talents more.
Matthew 25:18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money.
The first servant went into action at once. He put his five talents to work. This account says he traded with them and gained five talents more.
To trade with them has to mean that his efforts involved other people. The result of his efforts produced a gain of twice what he started with.
The second servant also put his talents to work and doubled what he had been entrusted with. We are not told how he accomplished this, only that he doubled what he had been given.
Please note that these two servants did not take any of what had been given to them, for themselves. They put all of what they had been given into the effort. The work they accomplished was completely for their master. They took no personal gain from their efforts.
The third servant decided to choose a different way. He hid what he had been given. He did not put any effort into this choice, except to never tell anyone what he had been given and hidden away.
Matthew 25:19 Now after a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them.
Now we can learn some more from this account. The master returned and called the servants and settled the accounts with them.
Let’s take a look at what is NOT said here:
It is NOT said that the servants never expected the master to return. Would it be fair to conclude that the master had told them that he would be coming back?
It is NOT said that any of the three servants ran off before the master returned. It had been a long time.
Would it be fair to conclude that he must have been providing for them in his absence and that they knew when he returned they would be expected to give him an accounting?
These three servants were confident that their master would return. They did not doubt this. He must have been a man of his word and they trusted him completely to do what he said.
All right, let’s look at what happened next:
Matthew 25:20 And he who had received the five talents came and brought him five more, saying, Master, you entrusted to me five talents; see, here I have gained five talents more.
Matthew 25:21 His master said to him, Well done, you upright (honorable, admirable) and faithful servant! You have been faithful and trustworthy over a little; I will put you in charge of much. Enter into and share the joy (the delight, the blessedness) which your master enjoys.
The first servant approached his master, giving him the fruit of his efforts.
The master responds with glowing praise and appreciation!!
Can you picture this setting? How do you think the servant felt after his master’s response?
Do you think the servant was pleased? Do you think the servant was glad he had accomplished this for his master?
I wonder if the other two servants were witness to what was occurring between the Master and this first servant?
If so, I wonder what they were thinking now?
Let’s consider the second servant:
Matthew 25:22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, Master, you entrusted two talents to me; here I have gained two talents more.
Matthew 25:23 His master said to him, Well done, you upright (honorable, admirable) and faithful servant! You have been faithful and trustworthy over a little; I will put you in charge of much. Enter into and share the joy (the delight, the blessedness) which your master enjoys.
This is amazing!! Even though the master had given this servant less to be responsible for, the master is just as lavish with his praise and pleased with this servants’ accomplishment.
The master knew this servant well, didn’t he? He gave the servant only what he knew the servant could handle. He didn’t ask too much of him.
This master is fair indeed. How do you think this servant felt after his master’s response?
This servant also must have been very glad that he had made the effort to serve his master faithfully.
Let’s see what happens next:
Matthew 25:24 He who had received one talent also came forward, saying, Master, I knew you to be a harsh and hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you had not winnowed [the grain].
Matthew 25:25 So I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is your own.
Matthew 25:26 But his master answered him, You wicked and lazy and idle servant! Did you indeed know that I reap where I have not sowed and gather [grain] where I have not winnowed?
Matthew 25:27 Then you should have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received what was my own with interest.
Matthew 25:28 So take the talent away from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents.
Matthew 25:29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will be furnished richly so that he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have will be taken away.
Matthew 25:30 And throw the good-for-nothing servant into the outer darkness; there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.
The third servant came forward and presented the talent the master had given to him along with a reason for his behavior.
Did the master accept his reason? Why not??
What was the masters’ response to this servant?
Instead of praise for keeping the entrusted talent safe, the master was angry with this servant. Why?
The master had given this servant the least of the assigned responsibilities. As with the other two servants, the master had been fair in his assignment.
This servant decided he didn’t want to do anything with what the master had entrusted to him. He chose to hide the masters’ property. He never told anyone that his master had entrusted a valuable asset with him. He was called wicked and lazy and idle.
He was also called a liar, because the master saw right thru the servants excuse. The master knew the servant just hadn’t bothered to make an effort.
What reward did the third servant receive?
The third servant lost the talent he had been entrusted with. It was given to the faithful first servant instead.
The third servant was then rejected and thrown into the outer darkness, described as a place where there would be weeping and grinding of teeth.
How do you feel the third servant felt when after the master had responded to his presentation?
Do you think the third servant was glad for the choice he had made?
I believe the answer is no.
How was the motives of the third servant different than the other two servants?
The third servant was motivated by laziness/selfishness. Perhaps fear, maybe even resentment that he had only been given one talent. It doesn’t appear that this servant had much love or respect for his Master.
The first two servants were motivated by respect and unselfishness. They were eager to serve their master. Their love and their efforts produced much fruit for the masters’ glory.
The third servant did not produce any fruit.
What does this parable say to you personally?
Are you making unselfish choices concerning what your Master has entrusted to you?
Are you eagerly serving your Master? Does your love and your efforts produce much fruit for your Masters’ glory?
When Jesus gives a person forgiveness, salvation and eternal life, He also entrusts that person with something valuable.
Jesus gives that person His Holy Spirit. He gives them His love, mercy and grace. He gives that person a spiritual gift that is enabled by His own power. That power is the property of Jesus.
Jesus gives that person the privilege of becoming a child of GOD. He gives that person hope, peace and joy. He gives that person assurance that he is loved always.
You may be able to list other things that Jesus gives to each person who comes to Him seeking redemption.
We as Christians are entrusted with much from our Lord. Don’t you think?
When we are ready to present all that we have accomplished, to our Master, will we be glad for the effort we made to serve Him and bring Him glory?
I pray that we all will.
May God bless us and help us each to do what we can, with eager loving hearts and willing hands.
Bible Study by InAwe