You Have the Same Opportunity to be Faithful & Receive the same Reward As Others Do

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel narrative of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ as it was written and recorded by the beloved physician Luke. More specifically, today’s passage is found in the sixteenth chapter of this New Testament book. “And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods. And he called him, and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of thee? Give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer steward. Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do? For my lord taketh away from me the stewardship: I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed. I am resolved what to do, that, when I am put out of the stewardship, they my receive me into their houses. SO he called every one of his lord’s debtors unto him, and said unto the first, How much owest thou unto my lord? And he said, an hundred measures of oil. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty. Then said he to another, And how much owest thou? And he said, An hundred measures of wheat. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and write fourscore. And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light. And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mannon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations. He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s who shall give you that which is your own? NO servant can serve two master: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other .Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Luke 16:1-13).

            “And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him. And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God. The Law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it. And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail. Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery” (Luke 16:14-18).

            “There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: and there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, and desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bostom: the rich man also died, and was buried; and in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead” (Luke 16:19-31).

            THE SAME WAS ACCUSED UNTO HIM THAT HE HAD WASTED HIS GOODS! HOW IS IT THAT I HEAR THIS OF THEE? GIVE AN ACCOUNT OF THY STEWARDSHIP! WHAT SHALL I DO? FOR MY LORD TAKETH AWAY FROM ME THE STEWARDSHIP! I CANNOT BIG! TO BEG I AM ASHAMED! (MATTHEW 25—THE PARABLE OF THE TALENTS! THE ONE WITH FIVE TALENTS! THE ONE WITH TWO TALENTS! THE ONE WITH ONE TALENT!).

            When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find a series of parables Jesus told within His public life and ministry—parables which aren’t recorded in any of the other gospel narratives which are present within the New Testament. As you begin reading the words which are found at the beginning of this chapter you will find Jesus speaking directly unto His disciples—and not only speaking unto them, but speaking unto them concerning something very specific which He took the time to speak about on more than one occasion. If you truly take the time to read the four gospel narratives which are found within the New Testament you will find the Lord Jesus Christ taking the time to emphatically speak to His disciples and followers concerning the concept of stewardship. It is absolutely impossible to read the four New Testament gospel narratives written by the gospel authors and not encounter and come face to face with this reality of stewardship, for if there was one thing our Lord sought to drive home within the hearts and souls of His disciples and followers it was the reality of stewardship. What’s more, is that the Lord didn’t merely seek to speak to His disciples and followers concerning stewardship, but He sought to speak to them to teach them the tremendous importance of being wise and faithful stewards of what they had been given. Perhaps one of the greatest truths surrounding stewardship is the understanding that nothing we have belongs to us and that everything we have been given was given to us by the living God. It was James who emphatically wrote that every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father above in whom there is no shadow of turning—a reality which we must needs recognize and understand. If we are to truly understand—and not only understand, but also walk in the reality of stewardship—we must needs acknowledge that everything we have and everything we have been given was indeed given to us by the LORD our God. Even whatever wealth we have is a gift from the Almighty God, for Scripture clearly states that it is the LORD our God who gives us the ability to create and make wealth.

            I sit here today thinking about and considering the tremendous concept of stewardship and how this principle lies at the very heart of pretty much everything that we do within and throughout lives. We dare not, we cannot and must not think and believe even for a minute that we have not been called to live our lives as wise and faithful stewards of what has been given—and not only what has been given, but also what has been entrusted unto us. It is absolutely necessary that we recognize that at the very heart of stewardship is not only the understanding that everything we have has been given unto us by the living and eternal God, but also that what we have been given has been entrusted unto us. There is a tremendous and incredible need within our hearts and souls to truly understand that although what we have been given is indeed a gift from the Father of lights in whom there is no shadow of turning—that gift does not come without and apart from responsibility. When we think about the concept of what we have been given being a gift from the Father of lights above we acknowledge that everything we have belongs to Him, and everything we have originated with Him. When we think about the concept of what we have being entrusted unto us we acknowledge and come face to face with the tremendous knowledge and understanding that with anything and everything we have been given there is a responsibility that has been bestowed upon us. It is with this in mind we must needs recognize and acknowledge the awesome and tremendous truth that the living and eternal God not only gives unto us that which He entrusts us with, but He also gives unto us what He knows we are capable of.

            I can think of no greater introduction to this concept of stewardship than the parable which is found in the twenty-fifth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew. It is in this particular gospel narrative we find Jesus teaching His disciples and followers concerning the Last Days and the importance of being watchful, the importance of being ready, the importance of being prepared, and the importance of praying. Within this particular chapter there is an incredibly powerful parable Jesus teaches and speaks concerning a lord and master who took a great leave and journey into a far country. Prior to his departure, however, he would entrust unto his servants a portion and measure of his goods and his wealth to care for, to look after and steward in his absence. As you read the words found in this portion of Scripture you will find that it would be unto one of the three servants this lord and master gave five talents according to the ability within him. Unto another servant this lord and master gave two talents according to the ability which was found within him. Unto the third and final servant we find the master giving one talent according to his ability. If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand about this parable it’s that the only thing the servants knew was that the master was taking a leave and going on a long journey and that he had entrusted into their care a portion of his goods and a portion of his wealth. If we are to truly recognize and understand the importance of this parable we must needs acknowledge the fact that prior to the master’s departure he did not provide any instruction to these servants concerning what they should do with the talents given unto them. In all reality, I find it truly astonishing to think about and consider this parable and how within it we do not find the master providing any type of instruction to the servants as to what they should do with the talents they had been given.

            I sit here today thinking about the parable of the three servants and the talents which were given unto them, and I can’t help but be brought face to face with the absolutely awesome and astonishing truth that these servants were appointed as stewards, for they would be called and invited into something beyond what they had perhaps encounter and experienced. THE TRANSITION FROM SERVANTS TO STEWARDS! Oh I cannot help but think about the words which are found in this particular narrative and passage of Scripture and how this parable brings us face to face with three servants who perhaps had their own unique responsibilities given and appointed unto them by the master prior to his departure. In fact, I would dare say that it was based on how they handled their responsibilities as servants in the presence of the master that would ultimately determine what would be given unto them in the absence of the master. In fact, I would dare say that this might be one of the greatest truths that is found at the very heart and center of this parable, for that which was given unto these servants would be directly based on how they handled their responsibilities while the master was still present with and among them. Pause for a moment and think about how their ability was truly gauged, for when and as you read the words found in this portion of Scripture you will find that the master gave unto each of these servants according to their several ability. How was their ability ultimately determined? As you read the words found in this particular parable you must needs acknowledge and ask yourself how their ability was determined by the master, and I am absolutely and completely convinced the answer to this is found in how they handled and managed their responsibilities while the master was still present with and among them. We dare not and must not think and believe for one minute that the master was not taking notice of how they handled their responsibilities and how they handled their tasks, their roles and their assignments while he was still with them.

            As I think about and consider this particular parable of the master and the three servants I can’t help but think about the fact that all three servants were appointed as stewards over a portion of the master’s wealth and goods, however, that which was entrusted unto them was based solely and entirely on how they handled that which was asked of them while the master was still present with them. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this and how absolutely challenging it is, for it would be very easy to allow ourselves to get caught up in the fact that the master entrusted unto each of these servants a certain portion and measure of his goods and his wealth. The truth and underlying matter, however, is that the master gave unto each of these servants based on the ability he himself had judged while they were still with him. In all reality, it was how these three servants handled themselves in the role of servants that would ultimately determine how they would appointed and ordained as stewards. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the fact that each of these servants were indeed appointed a portion of the master’s goods and wealth, and each of these servants was indeed given something that belonged to the master. Regardless of their ability, and regardless of the ability that was determined by the master, each of these servants was indeed and was in fact given a portion and measure of the master’s goods, wealth, and possessions. Oh it is truly captivating and astonishing when we take the time to think about this, for it calls and forces us to acknowledge that the master determined their ability based on how they acted and how they behaved as servants. It is true that each of them would be appointed as stewards over a certain portion of the master’s goods and possessions, however, that which they would be given was indeed appointed unto them based on what the master had determined of them while he was still present with and among them.

            THE MASTER IS WATCHING! THE MASTER IS OBSERVING! Delving even further into this particular portion of Scripture you must acknowledge and come face to face with the fact that it was the master who determined the ability of each of these servants. This determination and judgment was made—not in his absence, but in his presence while he was still present with them. With this being said it is absolutely necessary and imperative that we understand that the master was carefully watching and observing these servants and how they handled that which was asked of and that which was appointed unto them. These servants were indeed carrying out that which was asked of them by the master, however, what we must needs understand and recognize is that this master was watching and observing them while he was still with them. In all reality, I would dare say this particular parable is a truly wonderful and powerful picture of the Lord Jesus Christ—and not only a parable of the Lord Jesus Christ, but how the Lord Jesus Christ tasked His disciples and followers with certain responsibilities and assignments while He was still with them. We know that the Lord Jesus appointed the twelve as apostles and sent them out as ambassadors of the kingdom, and we know that the Lord appointed and sent out another seventy whom He would also appoint as ambassadors of the kingdom. You cannot read the four gospel narratives and not encounter and come face to face with the absolutely awesome and powerful truth that while Jesus was present with and among His disciples and followers here upon the earth He was watching and observing them and how they handled that which they were asked and appointed to do. We dare not and must not think and lose sight of this particular truth, for it calls and draws our attention to the fact that while the Lord Jesus was present with and present among His disciples and followers here upon the earth He watched and observed them as they walked with and followed Him. WE dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for to do so would be to miss and lose sight of what is found at the very heart of this parable which Jesus spoke unto His disciples and followers. We must needs acknowledge and understand that it was while the Lord Jesus was walking among His disciples and followers that He carefully watched and observed their actions, their behaviors, and how they handled that which was given unto and asked of them.

            As you read the words which are found in the parable Jesus spoke concerning the master and the three servants you must needs acknowledge the fact that this master carefully watched and carefully observed each of these servants—not only judging their faithfulness, but also judging their ability and what they were able to handle. There is not a doubt in my mind that what was given unto each of these servants was given unto them based on that which the master had determined of them while he was still present among them. The master—when he was still present with and among these three servants—had carefully watched and observed them and how they handled their tasks, their jobs and their responsibilities. It was how they handled their tasks and their responsibilities while the master was still present among them that would ultimately determine what they would be entrusted with in the master’s absence. Perhaps one of the greatest questions we must needs ask ourselves is what we have been entrusted with in the Master’s absence. The Lord Jesus Christ walked the earth more than two thousand years ago and has not walked upon the earth as the Word made flesh which dwelt among us in that same length of time. The Master has indeed been away and has indeed been gone for two millennia, and in His absence men and women have been entrusted with a portion, a degree and a measure of His goods. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this and how absolutely incredible it truly is, for it calls and draws our attention to the truly awesome and powerful truth concerning the Lord Jesus and that which He has asked and required of us in this generation. There is not a doubt in my mind that each and every one of us has been appointed as stewards to some degree and measure—and not only have we been appointed as stewards to some degree and measure, but we have also been entrusted with a portion of the Master’s goods and that which belongs to the Master. It is absolutely undeniable that we as disciples and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ have not been entrusted with that which belongs to the Master in His absence, and that He has indeed and has in fact trusted us with a portion of Himself and a portion of His goods.

            Oh the more I think about and consider this particular parable the more I am brought face to face with the fact that the only thing the master told these servants appointed stewards was that he was departing and going on a long journey, that he did not know what day or what hour he would return, and that they were each given a certain portion of his goods and his wealth. With this being said, however, we must needs understand that the master did not provide any instruction to these servants concerning what they ought to do with the portion of his goods and wealth which was given unto them. As you read this particular parable you will find and encounter the awesome truth that the master simply gave each of these servants a portion and measure of his wealth and simply told them that he was departing on a long journey. I happen to find this absolutely and utterly fascinating, for the master was not only entrusting and trusting them with a portion of his wealth and goods, but the master was also trusting them to correctly and properly handle what they had been given. It wasn’t enough for the master to simply give unto these servants a portion of his goods, for the master also trusted them to know and understand what to do with what they had been given. This is truly something we must needs understand within our hearts and souls, for when we read this parable we are brought face to face with the master who entrusted unto these servants a portion of himself and simply trusted them to be wise and faithful with what they had been given. What makes this all the more interesting is that the language of wise and faithful does not come into play until after the master returned from his journey, and after the master took an account of the stewardship of these servants. The language of wicked and lazy did not come into play until after the master returned from his journey and after the master had judged the stewardship of his servants.

            I have to admit that I am completely and utterly fascinated with and by the words found in this portion of Scripture, for the words which we find in this parable bring us face to face with the fact that while the master did indeed and did in fact entrust his servants with a certain degree and portion of his goods, he did not provide them with any instruction or insight as to what they ought to do with what had been given unto them. With this being said I can’t help but wonder if the master had himself been an example unto these servants, and when he bestowed unto them a certain portion of his goods, he was entrusting them to look upon his own example and how he conducted himself while he was with them. INSTRUCTION VERSUS EXAMPLE! This particular parable is absolutely and utterly captivating and astounding when you think about the fact that the master entrusted unto each of these servants a portion and measure of his goods and yet offered them not guidance, no details, nor any step by step instructions on what they ought to do with what he had given unto them. The only thing we know from this passage of Scripture is that the master distributed unto them based solely and entirely on the ability which was present within them. With this being said, however, we must also recognize and understand that while it is true the master did not give or provide unto them any type of instruction on how they were to handle and manage that which they were given, there was something else which might very well have been even greater and more powerful than instruction—namely, example. I can’t help but sit here and think about this parable and encounter the tremendous truth that the master distributed unto each of these servants according to their ability—an ability which he himself had judged—and what they did with what had been entrusted unto them was not only based on their ability, but also based on their witness of the example of the master while he was still with them. Oh we would like to think that the master ought to have provided them with some type of instruction as to what to do with the portion of goods which he had given unto them, and yet the truth of the matter is that the master had given unto and bestowed unto them something far greater than instruction—namely, example.

            As we read the four gospel narratives found within the New Testament—and not only as we read the four gospels, but also as we read the whole New Testament—we must needs recognize and understand that we have been provided with instruction on how to handle and how to appropriate that which we have been entrusted with and that which we have been given. With this being said, however, we must needs recognize and understand that we have been given something far greater and far more powerful than instruction—something which more often than not goes largely ignored and misunderstood. While it is indeed and is in fact true we have been given instruction within the divine Word of God concerning what we ought to do with what we have been entrusted with, I am absolutely and completely convinced we have been given something far greater and far more powerful—namely, the example of the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. What’s more, is that we even find the apostle Paul writing unto one of the churches instructing them to follow him as he followed Christ. In all reality we find within the New Testament two powerful examples of how we are to handle and how we are to appropriate that which we have been entrusted with—namely, the life of the Lord Jesus Christ, as well as the life of the apostle Paul. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this and how absolutely incredible it truly is, for it calls and brings us into the place where we understand and acknowledge the fact that we have indeed and have in fact been given a tremendous and wonderful example on how we are to handle that which we have been entrusted with. What’s more, is we must needs be truly and utterly grateful for the words presented to us in the four gospel narratives written by the gospel authors, for the words we find here in these books presents us with the single greatest example, witness and testimony in the history of humankind—namely, the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.

            It is with this in mind I would like to invite you to consider the actual words which are found within the twenty-fifth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew. I am absolutely and completely convinced that if we are to truly understand the parables which Jesus spoke in the sixteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the physician Luke we must needs give ourselves to an understanding of the parable He told and spoke unto His disciples when He spoke of His departure and concerning the Last Days. There is not a doubt in my mind that the words we find in the twenty-fifth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative of the apostle Matthew is an incredibly powerful witness to that which is found in the sixteenth chapter concerning this steward and that which was judged of the steward. For us to truly understand the words which are found in the sixteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the beloved physician Luke we must needs acknowledge and understand that which is present before us in Jesus’ words and parable concerning the Last Days and His departure from the earth and subsequent return unto His Father. With this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the twenty-fifth chapter concerning the parable of the master, the servants, and the talents:

            “For the kingdom of heaven is as a man traveling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five tal3ents, and to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained another two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money. After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and recknoneth with them. And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter into the joy of thy lord. Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: and I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 25:14-30).

           

As I read the words found within this particular parable I can’t help but think about and consider the fact that these servants were essentially judged on two different occasions and on two different accounts. On the one hand these servants were judged based on their ability while the master was still present with and among them, while on the other hand these servants were judged when the master returned from his journey based on what they did in his absence. Oh stop and consider that reality for a moment, for these servants would be twice judged by this particular master for how they handled what was entrusted unto them. These servants were judged initially in the presence of the master while the master was still present with and among them, and it was how the master had judged them that would determine what they would and could be entrusted with. It would be how the master judged these three servants while he was still present with them that would determine what they would be given in his absence, and it would be his absence and what was given unto them that would determine and bring about the second judgment. We must needs recognize and understand this particular truth and how incredibly necessary it is within our own hearts and lives, for in this parable we find these servants being judged in the presence of the master, and these servants being judged based on the absence of the master. If there is one thing we must needs acknowledge within our own hearts and lives it’s that we can and will be judged based on how we treated and how we handled that which the Master has bestowed upon and entrusted us with in His absence. The Master has indeed gone on a long journey as He returned unto His Father who was in heaven, and as a direct result of the Master being gone on this long journey we as His servants and stewards are being and will be judged based on how we handle what we have been given in His absence. It is absolutely necessary that we recognize and pay close attention to this, for it calls and forces us to acknowledge the responsibility we have in the absence of the Master—and not only the responsibility we have, but also the account and reckoning that can and will take place when the master returns.

The more I think about this particular parable found in the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew the more I can’t help but think about the fact that while the master was away on his journey he had absolutely no understanding or idea of how the servants were faring, nor even what they were doing or had done with what he had entrusted unto them. It is quite astonishing to think about and consider the fact that the master would give unto each of these servants according to their several ability, and he would immediately go on his journey. Scripture doesn’t reveal how long the master was away from these servants other than Jesus describing how “after a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.” We aren’t given any clue or understand how long this time actually was, and with this being said we must needs acknowledge the fact that while the lord and master was away doing whatever he was doing, he was entirely and altogether unaware of what is servants were doing with what he had entrusted them with. Oh stop and think about the fact that it wasn’t until the master returned after being gone for a long time that he came unto these servants that he might reckon with them according to what they had done with and how they had handled what had been given unto and entrusted to them. Even this reality right here is quite intriguing when you take the time to think about it, for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely awesome and powerful truth that these servants had to know that regardless of where the master went and regardless of how long the master would indeed be gone he would still return. These servants had to know and understand that a day of reckoning would indeed and would in fact come, and that they would be called into account for what they had done with and how they handled what the master had entrusted into their care. The parable acknowledges and suggests that the master distributed unto these servants talents based on their several ability and then immediately took his leave and departed on his long journey—perhaps taking this journey to do some of the very things he thought these servants would have done in his absence. Scripture is not clear what this master did while he was away on this long journey, however, we do know that the master would ultimately return—and not only would the master return, but the master would reckon with these servants. THE RETURN OF THE MASTER! THE RECKONING OF THE MASTER!

Oh I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found in this parable and I can’t help but be brought face to face with the tremendous and astonishing truth concerning these servants and how they were each given the same opportunity and the same chance. We would like to think that the servant who was given the five talents was somehow given a greater opportunity than the one who was given the two talents and the one who was given the single talent. We would like to think that the one who was given the two talents was given a greater chance and opportunity than the one who was given the single talent, and somehow less of a chance and opportunity than the one who was given the five talents. The truth of the matter, however, is that regardless of how many talents each of these servants received from the master they were each given an equal opportunity to be wise and faithful with what had been entrusted unto them. What demonstrates and illustrates this all the more is when you think about and consider the words which are found in the master’s response to the servant who earned five more talents, as well as the servant who earned two more talents. As you read the words which are found within this parable you will find that the master didn’t bestow upon the servant who earned five more talents greater honor than the one who had earned two more talents. The master responded to both servants by emphatically declaring “Well done,” and describing them as good and faithful servants. What’s more, is that the master would also declare unto these servants that they were faithful over a few things, and they would be made ruler over many things. Not only this, but the master would also invite them to enter into the joy of their lord. We must needs recognize and understand the words which are found within this particular parable, for each of these servants was given the same opportunity to be wise and faithful with what they had been entrusted with. We dare not and ought not think and consider that the one who was given five talents was somehow given a greater opportunity than the one who was given the two talents, or the one who was given the single talent. In fact, I would dare say that the one who was given the five talents was not given a greater opportunity, but did indeed and did in fact have a greater responsibility, “for to whom much is given much is required.”

I absolutely love the words which are found within this particular portion of Scripture, for what we find here are three servants who each received a portion of the master’s goods, and who were each given the same opportunity to please the master. Each of these servants was given the same opportunity to be wise and faithful in the eyes of the master, and it made absolutely no difference whether they were given five talents, or two talents, or even one talent. Obedience and faithfulness is the same regardless of how many talents you have been given and what has been entrusted into your hands and into your care. We would like to think that the obedience of the one who had five talents was somehow greater than the obedience of the one who had two talents, and yet the truth of the matter is that his obedience was the same as the obedience of the one who had the two talents. It is absolutely necessary that we recognize and pay close and careful attention to this, for it calls and draws our attention to the fact that obedience and faithfulness is not determined by how much we have been given, but by what we do with what we have been given. One of the greatest things we must needs recognize and understand is that obedience is never and has never been characterized by how much we have been given but rather by what we have done with what we have been given. There would be those who would like to think that their obedience is somehow greater because they have been given and entrusted with more in this life, and yet the truth of the matter is that this simply is not the case. We would be incredibly naïve to think and consider—even for a moment—that our obedience is somehow greater because we have been given and entrusted with more from the hand of the Master. If you read the words found in this parable you will find that the servant who earned two talents was just as wise and faithful as the servant who earned five talents. Not only this, but the servant who earned two talents received the same commendation as the servant who earned five talents.

Oh dear brother, oh dear sister—as you read and consider these words you must needs allow yourself to be brought face to face with the fact that although these servants were each given a different portion of the master’s goods and wealth, they were each given the same opportunity to be wise and faithful. It made absolutely no difference whether one servant was given five talents, and another servant was given two talents, and another servant was given a single talent. It made absolutely no difference whether or not the servant who was given five talents earned five more talents, or whether or not the servant who was given two talents earned two more talents. Faithfulness and obedience is never and has never been measured in terms of how much we have been given, but rather in and with what we have done with that which has been entrusted into our hands and into our care. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we acknowledge and understand this, for it brings us face to face with an understanding of our own lives—and not only of our own lives, but also how we ought not compare our lives and what we have been given to those before and around us. It would have been very easy for the servant who was given the two talents to compare himself to the servant who was given the five talents and somehow think less of himself. It would have been very easy for the servant who was given one talent to compare himself to the other two servants, and to somehow have an inferior perception and thought of himself. If there is one thing we must needs recognize when reading this parable it’s that each of these servants was given the same chance and the same opportunity to please the master and to be wise and faithful with what he had entrusted into their hands. Each of these servants was given the awesome and incredible opportunity to be entrusted with what belonged to the master, and they were each given the same opportunity to be faithful and obedient in the sight of the master—regardless of how many talents they were given.

What makes this parable all the more intriguing is when you think about and consider the fact that when the servant with the five talents presented the five original talents plus five new talents, and when the servant with the two talents presented the two original talents plus two new talents, they both acknowledged what they had done with the master’s goods and the master’s wealth. Not only this, but these servants returned unto the master what had already belonged to him, as well as that which had not belonged to him, but what they had earned on his behalf. This takes on an entirely different level, for when we come to the servant with the one talent we find him not speaking about what he had been given, nor even solely based on what he had done with what he had been given, but we also find him speaking to the character and nature of the master. There is not a doubt in mind that the actions of the third and final servant who was given the single talent was directly influenced—not by his ability, but rather by his opinion of the master. The third and final servant did what he did with the master’s goods and possession—not because he did not have the same opportunity as the other two servants, nor even because he did not have ability within himself, but rather because of his view and opinion of the master. It was this servant’s view and opinion of the master that truly and ultimately determined what he did with what belonged to him. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand this, for it calls and draws our attention to what is present within our own hearts and souls. I am absolutely and completely convinced there are men and women among us within our churches who are choosing not to be faithful and wise with what the Master has entrusted unto them because of their view and opinion of the Master.

It is truly something to think about and consider the words which are found within this parable, for the servant who was given the single talent hid what was entrusted unto him—not based on his ability, but based on his view and his opinion of the master. Even when the master returned and called into account and reckoned with these servants based on what they had done in his absence, this servant spoke not about his ability, nor even about what the master had given unto him, but rather chose to speak about who the master was as a person. How absolutely and incredibly interesting this truly is when you take the time to think about and consider this, for it calls and draws our attention to the fact that this servant did not focus on what the master had given, but rather who the master was. It was this servant’s view of who the master was rather than what the master had given him that ultimately determined his actions and what he did with what belonged to the master. Oh I firmly believe we must needs acknowledge and understand this within our own hearts and minds, for there are countless men and women among us today who are choosing not to be wise and faithful servants—not because of what they have been given by the Master, but because of their opinion and view of the Master. What’s more, is I can’t help but think about and consider the fact that there are countless men and women among us within our churches who have the same view of the Master as this servant did of his master. There is not a doubt in my mind that there are men and women among us who view the Master as one who is hard, and as a direct result of this view and opinion of the master they choose not to be wise and faithful with what they have been entrusted with. Oh it is truly something astonishing to read the words found in this portion and passage of Scripture, for what we find here in this parable is this servant choosing to be lazy and unfaithful with what belonged to the master because he viewed the master as being a hard man.

With all of this being said I find it absolutely necessary to ask you what you think about the Master, and how you view the Master? Are you one who like this servant views the Master as a hard man, and therefore you choose to be unfaithful and unwise with what has been entrusted into your care? Are you one who views the Master as that one who reaps where He has not sown, and gathering where He has not strawed? If you are truly honest with yourself and with the Holy Spirit as you read these words, how would you describe your view and your opinion of the Master? What’s more, is not only how would you describe the Master, but how would you describe that which the Master has given unto you? If you are a disciple and follower of the Lord Jesus Christ you have indeed and have in fact been given and entrusted with talents—that which is an extension of the goods and goodness of the living and eternal God. We dare not and must not think and believe anything different and anything less, for to do so would be to completely and utterly miss the point of what we have been called to do. Oh I can’t help but think about and consider this particular servant who was given the single talent, and how the sole reason why he did not take advantage of the same opportunity as the other two servants was simply and solely because of his view and opinion of the master. This servant viewed his master as a hard man, and it was that view of his master that superseded and far outweighed his ability and opportunity. WHEN OPINION TRUMPS OPPORTUNITY! Oh would it shock and surprise you to think about and consider that your opinion of the Master can indeed trump the opportunity you have been given by the Master? Would it surprise you to think and to consider that your opinion and how you view the living and eternal God can indeed and can in fact entirely and altogether distract you from the opportunity you have been given by Him? Oh there are men and women who are allowing their opinion of the Almighty God far outweigh and completely and utterly take over the opportunity they have been given from and by the hand of the Father of lights.

Oh I cannot escape this particular reality of this servant who was given the single talent, and how this servant took what the master had given unto him and entrusted into his hands, and hid it in the earth. This servant not only hid that which the master had entrusted unto him in the earth, but I am convinced that he moved on with his life and perhaps went on living his life as he desired and as he saw fit. The question I can’t help but ask is what this servant who was given the single talent did after he hid that talent in the earth and went about his way. Did this servant continue with his tasks, his responsibilities and that which he had done up to that point in time, or did this servant engage in his own desires, his own intentions and his own will? We don’t know what this servant did after he hid the talent in the earth and while the master was away, however, we do know that when the master returned and called into account the servant went and recovered what the master had given him and returned it unto him. The actions of this servant was not determined by opportunity, nor was it determined by ability, but rather it was determined solely and entirely based on opinion—and not only opinion, but his view of the master. This servant who was given the single talent was given the same opportunity as the one who was given the two talents, and the same opportunity as the one who was given the five talents, and yet rather than choosing to take advantage of the opportunity he took what the master had given him and hid it in the earth. Not only this, but even when he returned unto the master what belonged to him I would dare say there was a sense of accusation of the master when he spoke of and declared him to be a hard man who reaped where he did not sow, and gather where he did not straw. When this servant returned unto the master that which had been given unto him—not only did he accuse the master of being a hard man, but I would even dare say this servant spoke directly and entirely unto the character of the master himself.

The narrative of this particular parable is such which must needs be understood and acknowledged within our hearts and souls, for if there is one thing we must recognize when reading it it’s that not only did the master return, but the master also reckoned with these servants. When the master was departing he didn’t tell the servants where he was going, nor did he tell them how long he would be gone, however, one thing could have been understood as the master departed—namely, that he would return, and that he would reckon. This particular concept of the master returning and reckoning is especially interesting and intriguing when you consider it in light of the servant with the single talent, for you would have thought that the knowledge of the master returning and reckoning would have directly influence his actions, and yet the truth of the matter is that this servant was not at all swayed, nor was he influenced by the fact that the master would return and would reckon based on what he had entrusted into their hands and into their care. The master would indeed and would in fact return, and directly linked and connected to his return was the act of reckoning and calling into account that which had been entrusted into the hands of these servants. The master had entrusted a portion of his wealth and his goods into their hands as he traveled on his journey, and yet the master knew there was coming a point in time when he would return. It would be at his return he would call these three servants before and unto him to reckon with them and call into account that which he had given unto them. Oh we must needs understand and acknowledge this, for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely challenging truth within our own hearts and lives concerning the Master and how there is coming a day when the Master is going to return. In fact, one of the main and underlying truths found within the parables spoken by Jesus and recorded in the twenty-fifth chapter of this New Testament gospel is that the Master is coming and the Master is returning. It is absolutely undeniable, inescapable and undeniable that the Master is indeed returning and is indeed coming back.

You cannot read the words found within the twenty-fifth chapter of this New Testament gospel narrative and not encounter and come face to face with the fact that the Master is indeed going to return and is indeed coming back. This reality was expressed over and over again in chapters fourteen through sixteen of the New Testament gospel written by John, and is even written and recorded in the fifteenth chapter of the first New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the Corinthian saints, as well as in the first and second epistles written unto the Thessalonian saints. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this particular truth and reality, for there is absolutely no avoiding or escaping the return of the Master—and with the return of the Master also comes the reckoning of the Master. It is this concept of reckoning that is found and presented in the sixteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by Luke, for within the parables Jesus spoke we find the master reckoning with the steward whom he had heard a report concerning his unfaithfulness. If there is one thing that makes the parable recorded in the sixteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel written by Luke so incredibly powerful and challenging it’s that the master and lord heard a report of the unfaithfulness and wickedness of the steward—and not only heard the report of the wickedness and unfaithfulness of the steward, but also called into account that wickedness and unfaithfulness. What’s more, is the master and lord of this servant declared unto him that he could no longer serve as steward in his house and over his wealth and possessions—essentially speaking of and suggesting this steward was fired from his role. Oh stop and think about how absolutely incredible this truly is when you acknowledge what is present in this passage of Scripture, for it forces us to come face to face with our own obedience, our own faithfulness and our own righteousness in the sight and presence of the Master knowing that there is coming a day when He will return—and not only when He will return, but will also reckon and call into account our stewardship and what we have done with what He has entrusted into our hands and into our care.

As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I feel compelled to call and draw your attention to the words which are found in the sixteenth chapter of this New Testament gospel, for in this parable Jesus speaks of a rich man who had a steward, and how that steward was accused unto him of wasting his goods. Upon hearing the reports and accusations which were brought unto him concerning this steward the rich man asked how it was that he heard such reports and such rumors concerning him. What’s more, is that this rich man not only asked how it was that he came to hear such rumors and reports, but also asked this steward to give an account of his stewardship. It is this reality of giving an account of one’s stewardship which I am convinced must be acknowledged within our hearts and souls as we read this particular passage and portion of Scripture. There is not a doubt in my mind that while ir is indeed true the Master and Lord of the house will indeed return and will in fact reckon and call into account our stewardship of that which we have been entrusted with, it is very possible that in the interim and meantime the Master has every right to ask us to give an account of our stewardship of what has been entrusted into our hands and into our care. Permit me to ask you a very pointed and powerful question right now—namely, if the Master were to ask you to give an account of your stewardship right now in this life, how would you respond? What would you say unto the Master if He suddenly appeared unto you and called you to give an account of your stewardship in this life and what has been entrusted into your hands and into your care? Not only this, but perhaps an even greater question is what is being spoken of concerning and regarding your stewardship in this life right now and what you have been given by the Master. Is it possible that you might be accused of wasting the Master’s goods in this life and/or even being like that servant who was given the single talent and buried it in the earth until the master returned?

I conclude this writing feeling compelled to call to our minds what is being spoken and what can be spoken concerning our stewardship of the master’s wealth and the master’s possessions in this life. Are we such who are being and who can be accused of wasting the Master’s goods, or are we those who are truly being wise and faithful with the goods of the Master? What we must needs recognize when reading the words found in this parable and passage of Scripture is that this steward was entrusted—not with his own goods and his own possessions, but rather that which belonged to his master. Oh we must needs acknowledge understand this within our own hearts and lives, for we are being called to be wise and faithful stewards in this life of that which the Master has entrusted into us, and we can and will be called into account for what we have done with and how we have handled that which the Master has given unto us and into our hands. The question I can’t help but ask myself when sitting here writing these words is how we would respond and what we would say to the Master if He not only asked us to give an account of our stewardship, but also told us that we were being accused of wasting His goods. Oh dear brother, oh dear sister—is it true that you might be found guilty of wasting the Master’s goods? Can it possibly be said that you are guilty of taking that which belongs to the Master and hiding it in the earth because you view Him as a hard man? How would you respond and what would you say before and unto the Master if He called you to give an account of your stewardship in this life? If you were truly honest with yourself and with the Holy Spirit—what have you done and what are you doing with the Master’s goods in this life? Are you being a wise and faithful servant who is exercising obedience in the sight of and before the living and eternal God? Are you taking the opportunity presented unto you and the ability given unto you to take what belongs to the Master and put it to good use in this life that you might present unto the Master—not only what belongs to Him, but also that which you have gained and earned as a result? Are you willing to take that which the Master has given unto you that you might increase it that when the Master returns you are truly able to hear those words “Well done good and faithful servant?” Are you such who will hear that you have been faithful over a few things and will be entrusted over many things? Oh that we would recognize and understand the clarion call and invitation being given in this life to be wise and faithful servants who are obedient to the task and assignment that has been presented unto us, and with what has been entrusted into our hands and into our care.

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