Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money (Matt 25:14-18).
You probably know the parable of the talents pretty well. If not, you can read the whole thing there in Matthew 25.
Usually, when people preach the passage, they focus on the servant who hid the money. But something hit me as someone else was preaching this the other day, and I wanted to explore this aspect.
What does Jesus call the money? You see it there at the end of verse 18: “his master’s money.” It doesn’t belong to the servant, even though it’s been given to him. It still belongs to his master; he’s only been entrusted with its use.
And that’s the thing: how often do we see the things God has entrusted to us as our own?
Truly, nothing is our own. Even the increase of what is given to us, even what we gain through our own labor—our labor is not our own, either! Because God owns us fully, body and soul, and he also owns our labor.
When the servant who had been given five bags of gold was called into account, did he get to give the master back his five bags of gold and keep the other five? Did he get to say, “Here is your investment back, and thank you for the opportunity! Look, I made for myself five more bags of gold! Aren’t you proud?”
No, because the servant was also owned by the master. His labor also belonged to the master. Thus the profits of his labor ALSO belonged to his master.
There wasn’t even talk of, “Okay, you gave me five bags of gold, and with it I made five more bags of gold. So I’ll give you two more of those bags of gold as return on your investment and keep the other three for myself.” That’s not the deal when you belong to someone else: ALL of it belongs to them.
There is an interesting quote online from a violinist who was saying he’s offended when people say God has given him a gift, because he’s the one who developed his skill and he’s the one solely responsible for how good he is. He was not thankful for being born with a talent for musical performance—because there are people who, no matter how much time and effort they put into practice, will never be as good as him, and that’s no fault of their own nor praise for him. He should be thankful that he was born with two arms and two hands and ten fingers, because there are those born without them, or who lose them through no fault of their own. His abilities are entirely given to him, yet because he worked to develop them more, he believes he has been given nothing.
Yet how often do we do this ourselves? How often do you take for granted the things God has gifted you?
In Luke, this parable is a little more extended: the master went away to become king. When he returns, the servants who did his will were given cities to administer under him. And this, I think, is the context you need to remember: you are the servant of the King!
All of the resources God has given you, God has entrusted to you for his Kingdom. Everything you own, everything you can do; indeed, everything you are, God has given to you to use for the Kingdom of God.
And he expects you to use them for the Kingdom!
So ask yourself, honestly, what can you do? What do you have? Who are you?
Now how can you use that for the Kingdom?
Be creative! God has made us to be creative, because we are made in his image and he is the God who creates! What can you do for the Kingdom with what God has given you?
And pray. Always pray. Because you have been bought with a price. You have been entrusted with the King’s resources. Always seek the King’s will when using them!