God knows what we can handle and what we can’t handle. We are specifically designed for our purpose/our assignment on Earth. We may not have all the gifts and abilities that we want, but we have the ones God intended for us to have.
Let’s take a look at the parable in Matthew 25:14-30, so we can get a better picture of this. To set the stage for this parable we must know that Jesus is answering his disciple’s questions about signs of the end of the age and his second coming. He is doing this in a private conversation as he sits with them at the Mount of Olives. See if you can pick out who or what these characters/objects represent: wealthy man, good servants, bags of gold, the master’s happiness, wicked servant, darkness.
Matthew 25:14-30 New International Version (NIV)
The Parable of the Bags of Gold
14 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. 15 To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag,[a] each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. 17 So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. 18 But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
19 “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 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.’
21 “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!’
22 “The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’
23 “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!’
24 “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘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. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’
26 “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? 27 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.
28 “‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. 29 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. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
The wealthy man represents Jesus. He is telling his disciples that he is about to go away, but will return. The good servants are Christians like me and you. The gold is the talent, ability, skill, and possessions we have. The wicked servant is the person that doesn’t use what he has for God’s glory. And the darkness—you got it, eternal damnation in Hell. How did you do?
These servants of the wealthy man had a defining moment that created a great opportunity. They were entrusted with great wealth. Two of the servants realized that it wasn’t theirs to begin with. They very quickly made the most of their opportunity to show faithfulness to their master.
Ephesians 5:15-16 New International Version (NIV)
15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise,16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
We, as Christians, need to make the most of every opportunity to glorify God with what we have. Many times our problem is that we don’t see the opportunities we have. We walk around blind to those defining moments that could be our greatest opportunities for kingdom work. When they come we must understand that there is a time limit. Think of the new opportunity that you see as wet clay just waiting for you. It will not stay wet and moldable. You must get to work, just as the good servants in our parable do. See your opportunities and take them! He has entrusted his work to us.
1 Peter 4:10 New International Version (NIV)
10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.
This is our role to play in these last days.
Let’s think about the guy with the one bag of gold. He let fear cause him to make a very unwise choice. His view of God was of a hard man with unfair expectations. If people have this view of God they will live out their lives with fear and will not be successful in what really matters.
The two faithful servants were given different amounts based on their abilities. This should give us peace. We are not asked to do things for God that we can’t really accomplish. He builds in success. But this is the kicker—each good servant received the same thing. They were both going to share in the master’s happiness. This is referring to our future in heaven together with Jesus, where our new life will be utterly amazing.
The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
The wicked servant is not going to think Jesus’ second coming is great and glorious, but those of us who are faithful and obedient will be filled with joy.
We need to remember that God’s kingdom will not be accomplished with money, power, talents, education. It will be accomplished through simple obedience and watchfulness.
Check your view of God. It will determine the choices you make.
Prepare now for Jesus’ second coming by being faithful with what he has given you. This may be as simple as mowing your elderly neighbor’s lawn in Jesus’ name or as complicated as writing a book that points to God.
I’d love to hear what Christ is leading you to do in his name.
Jesus is Lord,
Steve Adams, "Defining Moments Create Opportunities", Children's Ministry on Purpose, pgs 28-34.
"Parable of the Talents, www.allaboutjesuschrist.org.
Ray Hollenbach, "The Parable of the Talents", billy.graham.org.