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The Parable of the Talents

(Matthew 25:14-30)

Lesson 4 -- second quarter 1996
March 24, 1996

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 1996, Christian Light Publications

Wasn't the one-talent servant short-changed?
What constitutes a successful steward?
What makes the unprofitable servant?

How often I have wished for the talents enjoyed by others! I marvel at all they can do. I think of the fun and satisfaction they derive from their abilities. I covet the attention and acclaim, the admiration and recognition they receive. And I wistfully (even enviously) imagine how wonderful life would be . . . if only I had the gifts they have. I wonder if the one-talent servant felt that way.

Let me talk of him (and in the process, I'll remind myself of a few things). Listen in; you might be one of us!

The one-talent servant got more than he deserved (just like the other two servants)! What he had entrusted to him he received only because of the generosity and trust of the master. So, was he short-changed? Of course not! He was given the opportunity of his lifetime.

The one-talent servant (or even the multi-talent servant) who frets about and covets the talents of others neglects his own talent(s)! Furthermore, the person who focuses on the "benefits" of any given talent has utterly missed the point of the talent in the first place! He has forgotten that talents are to be exercised in the best interests of the Master. The Lord did not dispense the talents intending that they be used selfishly by the receiver!

God is not only sovereign; He is all-wise. He talents each steward according to his ability. (That shows God is also merciful and considerate!) This means the one-talent servant had proportionately as much as the five-talent servant. Short-changed? Absolutely not!

If talent amount doesn't determine greatness in service, what does? If impressive results don't determine success in service, what does? Elsewhere in the Scriptures, Jesus clearly taught that greatness in His kingdom comes from . . . service! So talent and ability really have nothing to do with greatness. In today's passage, Jesus equates success with . . . faithfulness!

The one-talent servant could have achieved success and greatness equal to that of the others. The master had but two simple requirements of him: service and faithfulness.

My friend, the Master has no greater and no less expectations for you. He doesn't want you focused on anyone or anything but Himself. He wants you to serve His interests faithfully. Do that and you will succeed.

Wicked. Slothful. Unprofitable. This servant despised the stewardship; therefore, he despised the Master. Apparently he didn't think of it that way, and that led to his undoing. The servant thought himself a better judge than the Master in determining the proper use of the talent. The servant despised the potential for good in that one talent, and ignored it in order to pursue his own interests. He had neither time, nor interest, nor energy for the Master's interests. His punishment removed him totally from any need to consider the Master's interests any more. Let that be a solemn warning to us!

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