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Many people think of stewardship only in terms of offerings for some worthy cause.

The principle of stewardship applies to every area of life.

“Taking the Stew out of stewardship” is the theme for next few Sunday mornings.

Today we are talking about The Stewardship of Talents.

Text

Matthew 25:15 (AMP)

15 To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and then he went on his journey.

Scripture Reading

Matthew 25:14-30 (AMP)

Prayer

Father, we thank You for the opportunity to lay our tithes and offerings on your alter today.

We thank You for the opportunity to share, by doing this, in the ongoing program of our Lord’s cause through the only institution He has commissioned to do His work in this world, His church.

As we lay our gifts on the alter today, may they be money, our time, and our talents, we lay them down in service and love.

In Jesus name we pray.

Amen.

Introduction

Faithful or unfaithful, all of us are stewards and will be all our lives.

We can’t help it.

We are stewards of the years, the time God has given us to live.

We are stewards of our bodies.

We must take care of them and use them for God’s glory.

We are stewards of all we possess.

Our possessions belong to God and must be used for Him.

And we are also stewards of our minds and our abilities.

It is our responsibility to develop our skills and use them for God’s purpose.

This is the stewardship of talents.

As our parable illustrates, a talent was an ancient unit of money or weight varying on the time or place.

The parable that is our text has largely given us the use of this word to refer to a serial, natural ability.

This is true because it tells us of the master delivering his goods, his talents, to his servants in Matthew 25:15 (AMP)

15 each according to his own ability; and then he went on his journey.

We can think of this parable as a drama that Jesus presented to get those who heard and saw it to understand a timeless truth.

This drama has three acts.

Each act can be described as a single word.

The characters are clear, and their exits and entrances are in sequence.

  1. Act 1 is called “investiture” it is Matthew 25:14-15

Matthew 25:14-15 (AMP)

14 “For it is just like a man who was about to take a journey, and he called his servants together and entrusted them with his possessions. 

15 To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and then he went on his journey.

We must understand that all we are and all we have is a gift from God, and therefore, we are His stewards.

But we learn here that God does not give to all alike.

To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability.

This is a clear and sober statement of the inequality of human endowment.

The results of intelligence tests are not new, they are shown clearly here in this story.

We are genetically different and therefore have various levels of intelligence and potential.

God created us that way, and our parable illustrates this fact of life.

  1. First, we have our five talent man.

“To one he gave five talents.”

We need these five talent people.

Although we have not always been true to it, the genius of Australian democracy is equality of opportunity.

But we must go beyond this and insist that there shall be no difference in status whatever, regardless of a person’s aptitude’s, abilities and energy.

We must not fall into the error, on which some insist, that these people of superior ability are more trouble to society than they are worth.

A pioneering psychologist, William James wrote in 1906, and this is prophetic, “ the world, is only beginning to see that the wealth of a nation consists more than anything else in the number of superior men that it harbours.”

Dr James was well before his time.

B. But we also have our two talent man.

“To one he gave five talents, to another, two.”

The five talent people are the brilliant stars in humanity, but the vast majority have two talents.

They are the hordes of useful, average people.

It is these two talent people who really bear the burdens of the world, people of good, average ability, who use the talents they have to serve God and man.

The five talent people are few and far between, and too often they succumb to the lust for power or the temptation greed.

The one talent people are too easily manipulated by the unscrupulous for their own gain.

But the two talent people form the working nucleus.

They stay hitched.

We need these two talent people.

C. We still have the one talent man.

“To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one.”

Could it be that this parable was told for the benefit of the one talent people?

In our drama the five talent mane and the two talent man are really minor characters.

It is the one talent man who is the main actor and the villain.

His portrait is shown in detail.

Nothing in the parable is clearer than the fact that the one talent man was expected to be as faithful to his master’s interests as the five talent  and the two talent men.

We need these one talent men.

Are you a one talent person?

Don’t worry if you are.

Be faithful to what you have.

We must accept those limitations we cannot change as the will of God for us and then go on to serve God the best we can.

The master, after these things had taken place, “then he went on his journey.”

That is act 1 complete.

2. Act 2 is called the “performance” it is Matthew 25:16-18.

16 The one who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he [made a profit and] gained five more. 

17 Likewise the one who had two [made a profit and] gained two more. 

18 But the one who had received the one went and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

What do we do with the Masters talents?

Do we invest them for His glory, or do we hide them in a hole in the ground?

Do we use them for the advancement of His kingdom?

Do we perform according to the abilities He has given us?

Are we true, can we be trusted?

A man is accountable in accordance with his endowment.

  1. The five talent man has his hour on the stage.

How did he perform?

“16 The one who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he [made a profit and] gained five more.”

He performed well.

He was true to the trust put in him.

His shrewd investments proved immensely profitable, he had a one hundred percent profit.

All people should use their talents for God’s glory and the welfare of others.

B. The drama continues.

How did the two talent man perform?

Hw went well also.

“17 Likewise the one who had two [made a profit and] gained two more.”

We could visualise the two talent man as the blunt, honest type, a solid man.

If he invested in a farm he would drive his oxen hard and work from sunrise to sunset.

By sheer grit and hard work, he doubled his investment capital.

Abraham was a five talent man, and so was his grandson Jacob, but you cannot get from Abraham to Jacob except through Isaac, and Isaac was a two talent man.

If we were to only preach about Abraham and Jacob, and people like Martin Luther and John Wesley, the ordinary person like you and me, might get the idea that among Christians there is a hierarchy with the giants at the summit, the lesser heroes below, and the rest of us far, far down the line.

But this isn’t so!

In the divine economy what is required is not that a person be spectacular or successful, but that they be faithful.

Therefore Isaac stands with Abraham and Isaac on equal terms.

C. Now are you ready for it? The main character appears.

How did this one talent man perform?

Not well!

“18 But the one who had received the one went and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.”

This man neither invested nor squandered the money given to him.

He put it in a hole in the ground.

He was afraid to risk it.

He avoided the responsibility of investing it.

But this doesn’t need to be true for the one talent man.

Not at all!

If only he is willing to be used, God will use the one talent man.

The question is, have we been faithful or unfaithful in the use of the talents God gave us?

The question is not, did you have five talents, or two, or one?

But what use did you make for the Master’s gain of the talents He gave you?  

3. Act 3 reaches the climax, it is the “reckoning” in Matthew 15:19-30.

“19 “Now after a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them.

There will be a reckoning!

The central interest here lies in the scene of the reckoning and in particular in the position of the cautious servant, whose faithlessness receives such a stern rebuke.

Every Christian should have the ambition to be a successful servant of God.

Success as God reckons it, has no relation to us being equal to anyone else.

Success depends not on equality but on individuality.

Success is measured in terms of faithfulness.

Carefully constructed to show exactly the lessons Jesus intends, this climactic falls naturally into two scenes.

  1. The first scene we will call :Reckoning and Rewards”.

20 And the one who had received the five talents came and brought him five more, saying, ‘Master, you entrusted to me five talents. See, I have [made a profit and] gained five more talents.’ 

21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful and trustworthy over a little, I will put you in charge of many things; share in the joy of your master.’

22 “Also the one who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have [made a profit and] gained two more talents.’ 

23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful and trustworthy over a little, I will put you in charge of many things; share in the joy of your master.’

  1. First, there was the accounting with the five talent man.

He had been faithful to the trust given to him.

He was rewarded.

He was commended with his lord’s “well done.”

The master also said in verse 21 share in the joy of your master.

2. Second, there was the accounting with the two talent man.

We mustn’t miss the point of our Lord’s teaching here.

This two talent man was just as faithful to the trust put in him as the five talent man.

Verse 22 says “‘Master, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have [made a profit and] gained two more talents.’ 

Like his more gifted fellow servant, his increase was also one hundred percent.

That the master’s commendation was in exactly the same words for the two talent man as for the five is not accidental.

Jesus deliberately constructed His story show that though there may be degrees to endowment, every person is required to make the most of their gifts.

B. Now the second scene, let’s call it “The Reckoning and Judgement.”

24 “The one who had received one talent also came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a harsh and demanding man, reaping [the harvest] where you did not sow and gathering where you did not scatter seed. 

25 So I was afraid [to lose the talent], and I went and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is your own.’

26 “But his master answered him, ‘You wicked, lazy servant, you knew that I reap [the harvest] where I did not sow and gather where I did not scatter seed. 

27 Then you ought to have put my money with the bankers, and at my return I would have received my money back with interest. 

28 So take the talent away from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’

29 “For to everyone who has [and values his blessings and gifts from God, and has used them wisely], more will be given, and [he will be richly supplied so that] he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have [because he has ignored or disregarded his blessings and gifts from God], even what he does have will be taken away. 

30 And throw out the worthless servant into the outer darkness; in that place [of grief and torment] there will be weeping [over sorrow and pain] and grinding of teeth [over distress and anger].

This is an emotion packed image.

Jesus showed us the third servant’s report and the master’s response.

24 “The one who had received one talent also came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a harsh and demanding man, reaping [the harvest] where you did not sow and gathering where you did not scatter seed. 

25 So I was afraid [to lose the talent], and I went and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is your own.’

What was the problem with this guy?

  1. For one thing, he had no character.

He blamed his failure on his master.

This is why his master called him a “wicked” servant.

2. But then again, he had no courage.

Verse 25 So I was afraid [to lose the talent], and I went and hid your talent in the ground.

Being a man of only one talent was something for which he was in no way responsible, but for being afraid he was entirely responsible.

3. And again, he had no imagination.

This man missed the point.

He did not see that in his master’s plans he was needed as much as the men with two or five talents.

That is the thing that many of us fail to see.

We also lack imagination.

4. But above all, this man had no motivation.

He didn’t try.

Everyone agrees that motivation is a powerful ingredient in performance.

Talent without performance is inert and of little use.

5. What was the master’s response?

Let’s have a look at verses 26-30 again.

26 “But his master answered him, ‘You wicked, lazy servant, you knew that I reap [the harvest] where I did not sow and gather where I did not scatter seed. 

27 Then you ought to have put my money with the bankers, and at my return I would have received my money back with interest. 

28 So take the talent away from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’

29 “For to everyone who has [and values his blessings and gifts from God, and has used them wisely], more will be given, and [he will be richly supplied so that] he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have [because he has ignored or disregarded his blessings and gifts from God], even what he does have will be taken away. 

30 And throw out the worthless servant into the outer darkness; in that place [of grief and torment] there will be weeping [over sorrow and pain] and grinding of teeth [over distress and anger].

This was judgement, judgement on the man’s failure in stewardship, judgement o the sin of omission.

  1. The master judged his character.
  2. The master judged his motives.
  3. And the master judged him unfit to serve.

The first two men got to go to the big party celebrating the master’s return, 

21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful and trustworthy over a little, I will put you in charge of many things; share in the joy of your master.’

22 “Also the one who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have [made a profit and] gained two more talents.’ 

23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful and trustworthy over a little, I will put you in charge of many things; share in the joy of your master.’

This man, one talent guy, didn’t even get his foot in the door.

Conclusion.

The Master’s words cause us to examine ourselves.

If the man who kept his talent intact, returning it undamaged and unused, received such heavy judgement, what must they expect who destroy God given talents by drunkeness and lust, or squander the property they might have used for God’s purposes on the vanities of the world?

It makes me shudder to think of it.

Don’t lose your talent by default.

It can happen to anybody.

Until next time

Stay in the Blessings

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I really want to encourage you to be diligent with your Bible study time, because God has so much more for us than we can get from just going to church once or twice a week and hearing someone else talk about the Word.

When you spend time with God, your life will change in amazing ways, because God is a Redeemer.

Theres nothing thats too hard for Him, and He can make you whole, spirit, soul and body!

You’re important to God, and you’re important to us at www.refinerylife.org

When it comes to prayer, we believe that God wants to meet your needs and reveal His promises to you.

So whatever you’re concerned about and need prayer for we want to be here for you! Or even if you just want to say Hi, you can contact us

2020 IS A YEAR OF CLARITY

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