I recently noticed something missing from a parable in Matthew 25. I didn't notice before.
Jesus told a story of a man who decided to go on a journey. Before his departure, the man dispersed his money to his servants.
The story continues with the man giving five talents to one servant, two to another servant, and one to a third servant.
Talents were a type of coin. We don't know their value. We do know that the man chose the number of talents to give his servants according to their ability.
Did you notice that Jesus described the man "giving" the talents to his servants? Nothing about the text implies that the talents were on loan. These were gifts.
Here's what's missing from this parable.
The distribution of the talents by the man to his servants is not accompanied by instructions. The man gives no command. He just passes out the talents and then leaves.
Two of the servants know exactly what to do. They invest the talents and double their money. The third servant buries his single talent.
How did the two servants who invested their talents know what to do?
Speaking of the new covenant God would make with His people, God said to the prophet Jeremiah, "But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more."” (Jeremiah 31:33-34, NKJV)
When God puts His law in our minds and writes it on our hearts, His character is revealed in us.
Hold that thought!
In the parable, when the man returns from his journey, he calls his servants to report to him on their use of the talents he gave them.
Notice that the two men who doubled their money received authority over many of their master's resources. Somehow they knew that investing the talents was a low risk opportunity from profit and receiving a promotion.
“"Then he who had received the one talent came and said, 'Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed.” (Matthew 25:24, NKJV)
This servant knew his master's character. I'm under the impression that all three of the servants knew the character of their master.
How did they know? His law was in their minds and hearts!
The parable represents God's people who are recipients of the New Covenant. They have God's law in their minds, and written on their hearts. They know their Master and are inspired by the Holy Spirit to act according to His will. They invest God's blessings because they are blessed, rather than to be blessed. They've already received the benefits that matter most, and have nothing to lose by investing them.
I propose to you that the message of this parable is about more than giving God a return on the blessings we receive from Him.
The message is also an appeal to us to respond confidently to the influence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The Holy Spirit is the blessing that empowers us to invest in God's work and multiply His blessings.
The servant who buried his talent responded in fear. In his cost-benefit analysis of what to do with his talent, he worried most that he would not meet his master's expectations. His risk assessment factored in the wrong variables. He let his fear get the best of him, and he failed miserably.
It's easy to worry that we won't be good enough.
If we rely on our own power to meet God's expectations, we won't be good enough. We'll come up with all kinds of excuses for keeping our blessings buried where they can't be used. But there's nothing good to be gained by hiding God's gifts, as small as those gifts may seem.
God calls all of us, His children, to do things that our outside of our comfort zone. He equips us with the resources and with the power of the Holy Spirit to double our blessings.
God's desire is for you to be a good and faithful servant. God's promise is to empower you with His mind and His heart.
“Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10, NLT)
It's not necessary to let fear to get the best of you.
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