Stewardship, Part Three: Talents
Matthew 25:14-20 For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his ability; and immediately he went on a journey….
This familiar parable is in fact so well-known that it’s easy to forget its continual application in our lives. Those who received five talents traded them, made five more, and were ultimately made rulers over many things. Same with the two-talent man. Notice that God was looking for how faithful they were—not at what they started and ended with. The reward was based on faithfulness, not on results.
“Then he who had received the one talent came and said, “Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.”
This man wasn’t a squanderer, nor a Prodigal Son. And he supplied a reason many can identify with, but which contains a wrong idea about God. He called his master hard, blaming him for his own unfruitfulness. His master responded by rebuking him, and then doing something “unfair: “So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.”
“Use it or lose it” is a worldly phrase that happens to be exactly correct in the spiritual realm when talking about stewarding. If the faithful steward receives more to steward, he’ll likely keep on stewarding, perhaps not even noticing the more he’s given. The unfaithful steward may not even notice that what he had was taken away. With his wrong attitude toward God, it might just provide another excuse for complaining about his life.
Whether we notice the principle at work or not, this story is a lesson in the importance of stewarding whatever we have, especially when we think it’s only the “one talent.” Maybe you don’t think you have enough time—just a talent’s worth. Of course you have the 24 hours a day that everyone else has, but you may well have a single talent’s worth of free time. Are you using your free time wisely and in submission to God? God’s not a legalist and He knows our needs better than we do. Ask Him to direct your free time to be more in accordance to His will.
Do you think you aren’t talented? If so, apologize to God, who made you fearfully and wonderfully (Ps. 139). Then stop comparing yourself with others and coveting their gifts, and ask God what your talents are. He has put a great deal of talent in each one of us. Tell the devil you’re not going to listen to his lies anymore, and take some serious prayer time and effort (take a gifts test, talk to someone who knows you well) to find your talents, and then get going using them! Be like the 5- and 2-talent people. Just start investing!
Prayer: Lord, all gifts are from You—everything. I confess that I have given too much time to wanting gifts I don’t have and comparing myself to other people. Please forgive me for that, and help me see and connect with what You’ve put inside me. Help me to see where to start using my gifts, and give me the necessary kick in the pants to get going in the right direction. Thank You!