When someone speaks of signs of the Lord’s coming we get excited. The Lord noted a few signs of the times of His appearing, but He bore down on two things–staying alert and giving Him a good return on the gifts He’s placed in you.
We need to be busy using what He’s given us to grow the Kingdom. Jesus told a story about a master who entrusted three different men with different amounts of his money (Matthew 25). He didn’t expect five talent results from the one and two talent servants. But, he expected at least interest on his money. They could do that with no effort at all.
Get With It!
The five-talent guy went AT ONCE and started trading. It doesn’t say this about the two others. One of the things that separate those who are fruitful from others is that they don’t procrastinate.
The coming of the Lord also promises a “settling up.” “the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them.” (Matt. 25:19, ESV). God isn’t going to simply verify that “we didn’t smoke and we didn’t chew and we didn’t go with girls who did.”
He’s looking for a return on His investment in us! Uh, oh!
The five-talent guy was happy because he could report that he had doubled his master’s money. The two-talent guy, too. Both were commended. “Well done good and faithful servant.” There was joy and more responsibility awaiting them. He didn’t berate the two-talent fellow because he didn’t gain as much as the five-talent guy. He didn’t expect him to. He maximized what he had.
Another Fellow Slinks In
The one talent guy, though. In fear he dug a hole and hid his talent. Fear was only part of the problem. Laziness and poor character figured into the equation also. (25:26) He described the others as good and faithful. This bird was wicked and slothful.
If we’re not making our talent work for the Lord we’re a negative and not a positive. If someone gives me $1000 to invest and I do nothing with it but I give it back at the end of a year I’ve lost money for that person. Inflation! Recently, he would have lost 3-9% of the value of his money if Ihad done nothing because of inflation.
Look at the audacity of this guy. He accuses his master of wrongdoing and supposedly that was the source of his fear. Baloney! His wicked and lazy heart was the problem, not the master who trusted him.
A Violation of Trust
That’s it isn’t it? Failure to invest what God has given us is a violation of His trust. It’s putting our ways and business before the Lord’s business. He is the Lord. He “pays our salary.” If we’re on the phone all the time and surfing the Internet while never doing anything for the Kingdom we’re taking from the Lord.
So, there are at least three enemies to productivity in the Kingdom—wickedness, laziness, and fear. 25:26, NLT “But the master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy servant!”
Even a minimal, safe investment would have given some interest. But, all he did was brush the dirt off the money and offer it back to his master. What was he doing all this time? Nothing? Most likely he was full of his own business. Maybe the master provided food and board. This fellow was going to be out on his ear. Fired!
Lord, I don’t want to bury what You’ve given me to invest. That’s it, isn’t it? We say, “I don’t want to bury my talent,” but this talent is the Master’s, not ours. He entrusted us with it to use in His Kingdom and make it grow.
What is the “least we could do?” Maybe tithe, attend services regularly and encourage our brothers and sisters. Spend some time each day in worship and prayer because that makes a difference in heavenly places.
Fruit-bearing isn’t that complicated. You don’t have to go to Lower Slobovia as a missionary to bear fruit (unless the Lord calls you).
ESV Matt. 10:42
“And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.” That covers nursery workers and lots of others.
“The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward.” Matt. 10:41
If You Want More, Be Industrious With What You Have?
So, they take away the lazy guy’s talent and give it to the 10-talent guy. Unjust? If you had money to invest, which one of these fellows would you want to invest it? Would you leave it with the lazy fellow out of “kindness” or would you give it to an investment person who could make some money for you?
Sometimes we criticize people for some of their ways of doing things, (and we should stay true to the Word), but those people are doing something while the other fearful, lazy, preoccupied-with-their-own business ones only criticize.
Unless the critic is in the battle for the Lord, does he have the right to an audience for his grumbling?
The master gives that one talent to the man who is going to use it and make him a profit. The no-return-on-the-master’s-investment servant? Out on his ear! “25:29 To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away. 30 Now throw this useless servant into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’” NLT
This is serious. Serious! I had better be working to make the Master a profit on his investment. (And because I am saved, why shouldn’t I want to be fruitful?)
Those three enemies always confront you when I want to multiply the Lord’s investment in me—fear, preoccupation with my own advancement, and laziness. Push past them.
It’s better to fail than to hide your talent and do nothing.