Then the man who had received the one talent came. “Master,” he said, “I knew you were a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.”
His master replied, “You wicked, lazy servant. So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.
“Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
I have to tell you – I don’t like that story!
If I was telling that story, I would have done it differently. I might even dare say – BETTER!
If I was telling the story, every one of the three blokes in it (read the full story in your Bible if you don’t know it) would have got the same amount to start with. What’s this five, two, one thing? How unfair it that? After all, like you, I’d like to believe God’s an equal opportunity employer! But that’s not how Jesus tells the story. And I have to concede he knows what he’s actually talking about…
One gets five talents; one gets two and one gets one. Doesn’t seem fair does it?
But even if the story had to be that way, then what do you know what else I would have done differently than Jesus did? I’d change who would have succeeded, wouldn’t you?
It’d be a heroic story about the one talent guy; the underdog. I shout for the underdogs. (It’s a British thing).
I would have had the one-talent bloke do best! Heroicly, against the odds, somehow the bury and tremble plan WORKS!
And can you guess who would have really blown it? Who’d be the loser? The smart-alec five-talent guy – he’d have invested in the wrong stock and then bang- it would have been all over for him quicker than you can say, “Credit Crunch!”
But again, annoyingly, frustratingly, maddeningly – that’s not how the story gets told. While I’m opening my soul up here, I don’t much care for the master in this story. Why? Well for one thing he doesn’t seem to leave any clear instructions as to what to do!
He gives them a chance – but he doesn’t really tell them what to do with what they have. He leaves it all up to them! Like He expects them to use their imaginations with his stuff! Then when he eventually comes back, because one of them didn’t do what he thought they should do, the one-talent guy gets SLATED!
In fact (what would the union say about this?) this master is hard enough that he takes the one talent from the one guy, and gives it to the guy with the most. No way is that fair!
Then – he throws him out! He chucks him out and the description of where he ends up is basically – hell. Needless to say, I don’t like that bit either.
The more I read it, the less I find I like in this story!
But here is my problem. It is not my story to tell. Who’s story is it?
It’s YOUR story!
It’s the story Jesus tells, and it’s about US. It’s my story too. Because God has entrusted you with some things. You’re here as managing servants, stewards. Talents, treasures and time. We are supposed to act not as OWNERS but as STEWARDS. To act creatively on his behalf, in his interests, with whatever he’s given us on trust.
This story reminds me that some day – when history’s journey is over, we’re all going to stand before God and give an account for what we have done with what we have had. And we’ll all remember this story then.
So, have you heard the story?
The story is for me and for you. It’s ABOUT you and me. However many talents you got. Maybe you’re good with money, or good with words, or good with your hands… you HAVE talents! That’s NOT in question. The question is What have you done with them? Have you trusted God enough to use what he’s given you?
By the way, this isn’t an issue about, “Do we get to work our way to heaven?” That has already been secured for us in a relationship with Jesus Christ. If you have accepted God’s grace in your life, if you have come to the cross, and asked Jesus Christ to lead your life and forgive your sins, then some day when you die you will be with God in heaven. That is a promise he has given you.
That’s not the issue of this story. This story says there’ll SOON be a day when we (and everyone who has ever lived) will stand before the only God — and you will give an account – for your stewardship of life. What we did with our moments on his behalf, how we used our abilities on his behalf, what I did with my money on his behalf. Did I invest my life like the owner would have wanted it invested? Or did I just use it all on me… Was I grateful enough, did I trust him enough, to make a difference in the world around me and in other people’s forevers – with what I was given? Because I’m not an owner, I’m a steward.
And isn’t it amazing to remember now that the one judged most sternly is (surprise, surprise) not one who did something wild, wacky or wasteful- but the one who, out of fear, did nothing.
What would you do for God — if you were not afraid?
What would you do for God with your life — if you weren’t afraid?
I read this yesterday: “Worry is the darkroom in which negatives can develop…”
Hmmmm… Fear of failure. Afraid of what others think. Afraid of success. Afraid of whatever we’re afraid of.
What holds you back and keeps you digging holes to bury yourself in?
I don’t like the story because it’s MY story about what I have to choose to do.
The story is about me. It asks the question, “Am I acting on behalf of the owner?” Do I know him well enough to know he loves me enough to do more than I can ever ask or imagine with what I give him.
I believe the story is about you. It’s your story.
If you don’t like the story, I know why.
What are you going to do – to give it a happy ending?