Enabling A Response
Reverend Anthony R. Locke
February 7th, 2010
at First Presbyterian Church of Tucker
Matthew 25:14-30 English Standard Version
14 “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property.
15 To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away.
16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more.
17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more.
18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money.
19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them.
20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’
21 His master said to him, ‘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.’
22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’
23 His master said to him, ‘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.’
24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed,
25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’
26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed?
27 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.
28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents.
29 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.
30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
This passage is a illustration in one of Jesus’ sermons. I usually assume the story is real unless it is labeled a parable. This story seems to be made up by Jesus since it begins “It would be like . . .”
Regardless, Jesus is going to drive home one big idea with a couple secondary lessons.
Before we hear those lessons, let’s look at the story.
Jesus asked the hearers to imagine a rich man is going on a long journey. How long? Not sure, but it is being counted in years.
And the Master of the house calls the chief servants to him that he might entrust to them the management of his assets. This is more than giving a spare key to your neighbor and asking them to look over your house while you’re gone. No, this man gave these servants power of attorney over his affairs.
And these men are NOT slaves like we think about here in America. They were highly educated and trusted men of industry that worked like Jacob who served Laban, if you know that Old Testament story.
And to one man he gave 5 talents, to another 2, and to another 1. A talent is 3,000 shekels of gold, or about 10 years of income for the average person. So the master entrusted one million dollars to one guy. Two million to another, and 5 million to the most trusted or maybe the most talented.
And no surprise, money makes money. The first two guys were faithful in pursuing the welfare of the master and they doubled their principle. The guy with 5 million returned 10 and the guy with 2 million returned 4.
They rejoiced to see their master. They were ready. That is the heart cry of the church in every generation. “Even so, Come Lord Jesus!” Those who are faithful wait with joyful expectation of future blessing. Those who are unfaithful with God’s assets are fearful of His return. Your own heart can help be a gauge for you to know if you are ready to see God.
And when we do stand before God — look at the master’s words. To the one who returned 10 million dollars the Lord’s says, “you were faithful over little” . . . Does any one here think 10 million is little? The master thinks 10 million is little compared to the reward He has set aside for those who increase the kingdom of the master. Both of these faithful servants are invited into the festival that was thrown to celebrate the master’s return.
The third man wasn’t ready to stand before the master. His lack of action diminished the power of the master’s assets while the master was away. This man was foolish because he didn’t seek to increase the influence and dominion of the master. The servant wasn’t asking, “How might my master’s kingdom be enlarged?”
In truth, the servant despised the master. He was convinced the master was a hard man, reaping where he did not sow, gathering where he hadn’t gathered seed. The Philistines did this to Israel in the Old Testament. They gathered the harvest of the Israelites. They were thugs. Brute beasts. Selfish, manipulative, and evil. The third servant treated the master like he was a Philistine.
The worthless servant claims he was afraid. He buried the master’s wealth in the ground out of fear. In truth there was no fear of God in his eyes.
When the worthless servant says, “Here, you have what is yours,” that was a legal term to say, “I am no longer responsible.”
There is a day coming when we will no longer be responsible as we are today.
- We won’t be responsible to pray for each other.
- We won’t be held responsible by God for knowing the Bible. All people will know the Lord.
- We won’t be responsible to work for the expansion of the kingdom. We will no longer pray, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done.”
- We won’t be responsible for sharing our faith, reaching out to the lost, writing letters of encouragement, and prayer.
There is a day coming when we will stand before the Master and say,
- “Look God, look at what was accomplished by your goodness! Your graciousness to me has returned double. Your kindness and loving providence over my life has born fruit that resounds to your glory, not me. You are worthy of worship! You are worthy of my praise!”
- Or, we will stand before the Lord, and say with cynicism and distain, “Here, You have what is yours, now leave me alone.”
- Of course God will do exactly that, He will send that wicked and worthless person to a dark place that matches the darkness in their heart.
- Why would the Master invite that person into the festival? The man would be miserable! He really doesn’t know the master at all. He is trying to cut his ties with the master.
- What ingratitude it is to hold the Master’s wealth in our hands and not use it for the expansion of His kingdom.
- What slander and blasphemy to say that God attempts to increase His glory unjustly like a unholy Philistine!
- i. Do you think God is a bully and not worthy of service?
- If you receive from God good things and return to Him evil things then your life confesses you don’t think very highly of Him.
- If you lived your life for God, would it be a missed opportunity for you? Would you loose your life and regret it? Or can we trust God to return back to us more than we give?
- If you live for God, would He be stealing your well deserved glory?
- Is God a cruel task master, or is He worthy of our best service?
- i. Do you think God is a bully and not worthy of service?
- ii. Do you feel like your one bag resources won’t be judged like the five baggers?
- Do you think your bank account, your communication skills, your network of influence is too small for God to notice how you managed your time, treasure and talents for the Master?
- Do you think life is unfair because other people have more than you? More time, better looks, better family connections, more money, more education, more opportunities.
- Are you blaming their success on their larger stewardship, and using your envy and jealousy as an excuse for not doing your best?
This parable has one main point. We are all able to give the right response of faithful stewardship back to God regardless on the size of our stewardship.
We have a response ability, the ability to respond with faith, confident in God’s goodness and love. We are able to respond and we are promised that we will be rewarded beyond our imagination.
It has not entered the imagination the good things God has prepared for those that love Him.
The good things we will receive from God according to our faithful stewardship will make the sufferings of this life unworthy of eternal conversation.
You have a moral duty to live for God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all you mind and with all your strength.
For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him.
God is looking for you this morning. God is looking for churches like this one. Willing to employ their hands in the master’s kingdom within our community that He might get the glory.
There is never a day when we can take all our earlier investments, build really big protections around them, bigger barns, and sit back in our comfy chair to live out the rest of our days as though we are on vacation.
Every day is another day that must be redeemed for the Lord. We must daily give the right response to expand His kingdom.
Jesus lived this way.
- As an early adolescent He reminded His family He must be about His Father’s business.
- In His high priestly prayer He spoke of the careful protection He gives to all His children.
- Jesus would stay up all night praying so He would have the ability to respond right the next day.
- He implored the disciples to pray that they enter not into temptation.
- Jesus was born of the Spirit, Baptized by the Spirit, led by the Spirit into the wilderness, strengthened by the Spirit to overcome the Devil, and anointed with the Spirit to declare His ministry of reconciliation when he opened the scriptures and read, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
What does God’s Spirit desire to empower you to do for His kingdom today?
- What sin is it time to overcome?
- What person is it time to invite to church?
- What prayer should we be sending up on behalf of our family, friends and this community?
What does a responsible Christian life look like? How does a responsible church operate in 2010 here in Tucker Georgia? How should we leverage this property, these relationships, and this Gospel for increasing the kingdom for the glory of God?
God’s Spirit is searching for you this morning to enable you to give a right response to the opportunities you are being given every day to bring glory to God. He is worthy. He loves you so much. He wants to reward you with things that you can’t imagine, but we must take the responsibility with a response of ability provided to us by the Holy Spirit.
May we be responsible servants of our master until that day we see Him face to face. Amen.
Benediction: Jude 24-25
Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever.
 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.