TALENT on loan from God
All the talents we possess are on loan from God, given to be used. When we effectively deploy our gifts, we achieve a triple win: we feel good, the church is encouraged, and God gets the glory.
In Matthew 25:14-30, Jesus unpacks a poignant but powerful parable about stewardship. When we talk about stewardship, we mean taking care of something that belongs to someone else. Jesus tells this story in Jerusalem in the week leading up to his death, burial, and resurrection. And so the story begins:
“For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property.
The 'it' to which Jesus refers is the kingdom of God. The 'man' going on a journey is Jesus, who is preparing to return to the Father following his death and resurrection. The 'property' entrusted to his followers is the gospel.
But in the story, the property given is a talent - or two, or five. The word talent comes into English from the Greek (through Latin and French), and originally meant a large sum of money (20 years work for day labourer). The property owners gives different amounts to his servants (1, 2, and 5 talents), and at the of the story, he comes back to see what they've done with them.
The one given five has invested in business and doubled it and now has ten. The master says, 'Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master'. The one given two has invested in business and doubled the property and now has four talents. The master says, 'Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master'.
But the one given just one talent says, 'Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ This didn't go over so well with the master who responds:
You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.
There are some key take-aways for us from this text:
- Everybody has something.
- What we each have is different.
- It's not how much you have, but what you do with what you have that matters.
- If you can be faithful with a little, God will entrust you with more.
Our tendency is to get caught up with comparing ourselves to others - who has more than us or something different from us. But that's a fools errand, because someone always has more. The issue isn't quantity, but faithfulness. The one who had just one talent wasn't punished because he only had one talent, but because he didn't use what he had.
All our talent is on loan from God - it's a gift he's given us to bring blessing to others. There's nothing more rewarding that using our gifts and doing what we're good at. Remember, when we faithfully use what have, we feel good, the church is encouraged, and God is glorified.
A practical way to do that at Centrepoint is to join a ministry team. Find a team where you can use your gifts for God's glory, and let's go for the big win!