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  • Writer's pictureGWL

Well Done...




Well Done...

Matthew 25:14-30

At face value, Jesus’ parable from our Scripture Lessons today is about a rich man, and three of his servants, who were charged with looking after his money while he was away.

But as with most parables from Jesus, it has a deeper meeting. The parable begins, “for it is as if a man…” of course this is one of those times when we need to define what the word “it” means. “It” in the context of this parable, is the return of Christ. The second coming. So when Christ returns, it will be as if a person had gone away and entrusted his servants with his assets.

Of course, this parable is certainly about Jesus… But it’s equally about those who’ve been called, and trusted to serve the Lord in his physical absence. There’s no doubt that God has given each and everyone of us gifting‘s. If you’ve been gifted in song, singing, playing the piano, it’s said that you have a talent for music. If you’re good at basketball, football, baseball, soccer... you’re though of as having a talent for sports. Of course, back in biblical times a “talent” was actually a measure of weight. About 75 pounds of gold. Worth at least a years wages.

A talent was very valuable... very weighty! Just as our “talents” are valuable today.

Of course, talents vary in value. My “talent” for preaching is worth considerably less than Tiger Wood’s talent for playing golf!

But I also feel that there’s another part of this story that needs clarification. And that is the nature, the kind/degree of trust that was given to the servants. We’re told that the master called his servants, and he entrusted each of them with a portion of his money, of his estate. 5 talents, 2 talents, one talent. We’re specifically told that this master gave to each servant different amounts based on their personal, individual, ability. In other words, he entrusted his servants based on what he KNEW they were capable of doing.

These three servants were obviously gifted in their ability to handle money. So he trusted the servants to take what he had left them, and put it to work for his purposes.

Of course, as the parable goes, the first two servants did just that… They put their master’s talents to work. Both receiving a really good return on the investment they made. And both being praised by their master for their efforts: “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” The words I’m sure we all hope to hear when we stand before our Lord.

But when the master asked for an accounting from the third servant… He had done absolutely nothing with the talent that had been entrusted him. He went out and buried his masters money in the ground… offering a fairly lame excuse as to why he had not carried out his masters wishes.

So the Master, in what has to be one of the most somber, and pointed moments in any of Jesus’ parables, says, “take the talent away from him, and give it to the one who produced the most.” And throw this lazy servant into the outer darkness.

There’s absolutely no misunderstanding the point of this parable. It’s relevance for us today, is just as pointed as it was for Jesus’ disciples 2000 years ago. We have each and every one been entrusted with gifting‘s and graces in this life. All gifts from God; all of our “talents” are a portion of the great creative wealth that belongs to our Lord... we’ve been entrusted to use what we’ve been given for God’s glory.

And when you and I truly realize that all of our gifts, all of our talents, come from God, and are intended to be used in His service… we realize we have no choice. We must use what God has given us… We must use our talents… Our time, our giftings, our treasure… in service to the God, who sent his one, and only son, to suffer death on the cross, and to rise, victoriously from the grave, to give us salvation… and secure for each of us eternal life.

All too often we take our gifting and graces, our salvation… and we for all intents and purposes, bury it... we store it away, hoping to simply preserve it until Christ comes, and we can then use it to buy our way into the kingdom. But that was never Christ’s intention. Christ will demand an accounting of what each and everyone of us has done with our gifting‘s - his giftings.

Of course some will say, “I preached to thousands and brought the word of God’s saving grace to all who’d listen.” Others will say, “I helped other Christians in their spiritual life by leading Bible studies, by leading music, by clothing the naked, and feeding the hungry.” Many will confess, “I shared the good news of your love and grace and mercy with everyone I met... I honestly tried to teach those around me, my family, my children... that “Jesus loves me.” These are the people who will be able to say, “we took the talents you gave us, and we offered them back in service to you, investing those talents in people’s lives… Building the kingdom of God right where we found ourselves.”

But then there will be others who will say, “Lord, we knew you were coming back… So we buried what you gave us in the ground… Saving it because, we were afraid that we might lose what you had entrusted to us, and you would be mad.“

Let’s not waste what we’ve been given.

Let’s be a grateful people, who open our hearts, our lives... investing our gifts and service… to the One who has entrusted us, with carrying his light into the darkness of this world.

When we do, we can count on hearing those beautiful and affirming words, “Well done...”

Amen.


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