Due Diligence in the Kingdom
Today’s lesson fills me with conviction. It is a passage with which we are all familiar: The Parable of the Talents. There are those who want to make this parable about money, and we should certainly use our money wisely. But I think that to focus on that aspect is to miss the point. The point of the parable is stewardship; that is, the use of all the resources that the Lord has given us for the benefit of His Kingdom.
So the Kingdom of heaven is like a wealthy man who goes on a long journey and so entrusts his servants with his property while he is gone. This reminds us, as did yesterday’s parable, that our Lord taught his disciples that he was going away and would be gone “a long time” before his return; that is, Jesus did not expect to return immediately, liberal theologians, notwithstanding. Before he leaves, the master dispenses money to each servant “according to his ability,” a very important detail. We are reminded that we are not only not given the same gifts but even gifted in different amounts; that is, some of us are more gifted and capable than others. And that’s okay; they have the more responsibility. But that’s not the point of the parable, either. So let’s continue.
The servant given five talents (a lot of money back then) earns five more. That’s a one-hundred percent return! But hear what the master says, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” Wait a minute; he had been faithful over only a little? Yep, that’s what the master said. We are reminded that when we have done our best, we have done only what is expected of us (Luke 17:10), but we are also reminded that our reward is greater than anything we can conceive. The master rewards the servant who had only two talents the same. Note our Lord’s justice: the man did all he could do with what he had, and he is similarly rewarded.
But the third servant hid his master’s talent out of fear. He even accuses his master of being a thief! Our God owns the world; there is nothing that is not His. His master convicts him of being so lazy he wouldn’t even deposit the money in the bank! And after taking the talent from him and giving it to the one who had ten talents, the master says, “To everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” And this is fair. Let us be good stewards of what has been entrusted to us, lest it be taken from us – justly.