Let us pray: Dear Savior, in love You have given to each of us various gifts in varying amounts. Today we thank You for entrusting such talents and blessings to us! And we also ask that by Your grace You move and impel us to use them wisely for Your glory! For thereby You are honored and those we touch with our gifts will be uplifted, and we will have proved that Your investment in us was not in vain. Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST, THE GIVER OF EVERY GOOD AND PERFECT GIFT!
Text : Matthew 25: 14-30
Fellow Redeemed Sinners:
One of the main reasons the stock market has whip-sawed up and down so much over the past few weeks is something known as: the margin call. Buying stocks on the margin means buying them with borrowed money. Huge hedge funds have borrowed money from various lenders over the past few years and bought stocks with that borrowed cash. That buying helped propel the stock market higher. And as long as this feeding frenzy kept going those funds could pay off their borrowing with the paper proceeds of their paper gains. And then they borrowed more on the margin and repeated the process again and again. But, eventually this house of cards must collapse. Thus, when stocks went down, the borrowed money, the margin, was called by the lender. So, these funds had to sell stocks in order to pay back that money. But, the more they sold, the more prices nose-dived, and that brought on more and more margin calls. This “de-leveraging” of the market has led to across the board losses for almost everyone. Yes, settling accounts with a lender is seldom fun.
Today our lesson reminds us of this fact in the form of the lazy servant. But what about the other two servants? For them this settling of accounts was a blessing and a joy, wasn’t it? They were able to return the principal to their master along with copious amounts of his interest because they were resourceful, wise, and prudent with their original investment. The question therefore is: which servant are you? Or,
ARE YOU PREPARED TO SETTLE ACCOUNTS WITH GOD?
“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave 5 talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey.”
These servants are called: “slaves” in the original Greek text. They are slaves bought with a price. Of course, the spiritual meaning is: they are Christians, you and me, who have been bought with the price of Christ’s blood on the cross. As slaves they possess nothing on their own. Everything given to them is to be held in trust for their master, God. And notice how God gives each of them various talents according to their ability. That is, God recognizes how each of us is distinct and different and has natural abilities. God gives spiritual and physical blessings, talents, to us based on that innate, God-given ability.
The fellow with 5 talents goes at once to put that money to good use. He invests it wisely. He doesn’t buy on the margin or take undo chances. He doesn’t sit on it, either. No, he spreads his spiritual gifts around knowing that God will bless them, for that’s why God gave them to him in the first place! And lo and behold, they double into 10! The second man does the same thing and reaps a double reward for his efforts, too. But the 3rd fellow is lazy. He doesn’t really appreciate the blessing given to him and doesn’t believe that it has inherent power to multiply itself. So, he hides it in the ground. You can say: “He’s cautious.” But if that was the case, at the very least he could invest it in a CD or a money market fund. After all, any lender expects a return on the principal, doesn’t he?
Of course, this parable isn’t about money. It is about spiritual gifts handed out to believers from God’s gracious hand. All of us have been bought and paid for by God for a price. The blood of Christ, His Son, paid for our souls. God now owns us. And in His absence from earth, Christ has entrusted us, given us, the gifts of the Spirit. They are: “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Obviously some of us have these gifts in greater measure than others. But, we all possess them in some form. Likewise, building on our personalities, God has handed out to us the ability to speak the truth in love, to let our light shine, to honor Him by our lifestyle, to use our brains to analyze situations and give wise counsel to others; yes, each of us have been given special gifts in order to build up His Church, His kingdom. And at the final judgment He expects a return on His investment.
So, have you put your inner joy over your salvation to work? Have you shared it with those who don’t know what real joy is? Do you have love for others in your heart?—And do you actively show it to them? When was the last time you taught another person patience? When did you engage in an act of pure kindness, and when asked: “Why?” you simply said: “Because God has been kind to me.”? Genuine goodness is hard to come by. Most people have an angle. So did you show another goodness without any angle? Have you taught your kids the importance of being faithful to God and His life-governing principles? Have you dealt with another gently, recalling that truth: ‘A soft answer turns away anger.’? Have you shown others that self-control, or saying “No” to sinful emotions is a better way to live? Do you really believe with all your heart that these gifts are active and not passive? That these gifts will self-propagate the more you use them because they come from the living, active Spirit of the Living God? Or, are you content to be selfish and lazy with them and conclude: “I’ve got mine, everyone else is on their own?” Are you prepared to settle accounts with God?
Eventually Christ will return to settle accounts with us, just like in our parable. Notice how God rewards this first fellow. He commends him, offers that pithy comment: “You have been faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things.” And then adds: “Come and share your master’s happiness.” Sharing the Master’s happiness, or sitting at His table, means the man is now free. He is no longer a slave. He’s free to enjoy heavenly bliss. The same is true for the 2nd man. But then we come to the 3rd fellow. Notice is excuses. Notice how he blames his master for his own laziness. Notice how he doesn’t trust his master’s goodness by calling him a “hard man.” Obviously this man knows nothing of his master’s love or large heart—just revealed in blessing and setting free the other two men. Moreover, this 3rd fellow didn’t even recognize the power or blessing of the talent given to him. He didn’t even realize or believe that it would and should return interest. Recall what God says through Isaiah: “My word shall not return to Me empty, but it accomplish that which I purpose and prosper unto that which I have sent it.” In other words, using the Spirit’s gifts will always bring blessings to God’s glory. Not using them mocks God and inhibits another’s salvation. Well, eventually this 3rd man lost everything. He is cast out into hellfire and damnation. And the talent he was given is bestowed on the one who has proven he can use it wisely.
Are you prepared to settle accounts with God? Have you really used your spiritual gifts? Or, are you afraid if you use them you’ll lose them? Not so! Just the opposite is taught in our lesson. So, in trust and in appreciation let’s all renew our efforts are being busy—not for ourselves, but for Christ our Master. After all, investing God’s blessings banishes fear. Amen