The Parable of the Talents

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By David A. DePra

Transcribed by software with minor edits.


In Matthew 25, we have a series of parables by Jesus.  For the most part, they all begin with the same phrase, “For the kingdom of heaven is likened unto, or is like a...”  What that tells us is that Jesus is describing how God works with his people spiritually.  The Kingdom of heaven or the Kingdom of God is the rule of God.  It's the realm of God.  Within that rule or realm of God is how God works because he's sovereign.  All of these are descriptions of how God works with his people, and so is the case with the parable of the talents in Matthew 25.  


Now Luke tells us, in Luke 19, which is the parallel passage, Luke tells us that Jesus told this parable because they thought that the physical kingdom was going to appear immediately, and he wanted to make sure they understood it was not.  That's why he begins this parable, verse 14, Matthew 25, by saying, “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.”  He is showing them that there is going to be a long time between His departure and His return.  


Jesus wants to describe to them what's going to be happening during the Church Age.  Now, of course, they don't understand any of these things at that point.  WE can understand by looking back with a 2,000 year history of knowing what has happened since.  They would not have understood this, but nevertheless, they would afterwards.  Jesus often told them, “You're not going to understand what I'm talking about right now, but afterwards you will.”  And so is the case here.  


And so Jesus begins to talk to them about God's dealings and workings with his people in the spiritual kingdom or the spiritual realm -- or if you prefer, this is how God works with His people in our spiritual life, in Jesus Christ -- because Jesus is the King and Christ in us is the Kingdom of God.  


Now, I read verse 14, “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 one to one, he gave five talents…”  


Now let's stop right there and get some definitions starting with this term talents.  For some reason, folks jump to the conclusion then when it uses the term talents, it's talking about the ability to do something. We surmise from that that here is Jesus picturing the giving to people of the ability to do stuff.  In fact, this has been misinterpreted to such a degree that we think it actually means things like playing the piano, singing, organizing, or whatever it is.  We say, Well, we can use those talents to the glory of God.  But in reality, what is being spoken of here as a talent has absolutely nothing to do with those things whatsoever.  Talents here means money -- it's a denomination of money of that time, because he Jesus wants to emphasize that what God is giving, what Jesus is giving of his own goods, is that which is of great value, He uses money.


Jesus pictures Himself giving unto one five talents, and to another two talents, and to another just one talent.  Now, we need to understand that he gave them all the same thing.  The amounts might have been different in the parable, but what he gave is the same thing.  It's all talents.  It's all money.  


Now, what do we suppose the talents represent spiritually speaking?  It says here clearly in verse 14 that these are goods, symbolically speaking, type and shadow, that belong to Jesus Christ.  Well, clearly the talents represent his life.  There could not be anything of more value.  But in addition, it also represents truth.  


Now, I say that simply because in the first chapter of the Gospel of John, it says of Jesus, “In him was life, and that life was the light of men.”  And so when you receive life, you only receive life because you receive Jesus.  And he's also, in addition to being the life, he is the truth.  He can't separate the two.  To make a long story short, the goods that Jesus is picturing himself giving to his people, it's his life and the light that goes along with it.  


Now, of course, there's a whole lot more that goes along with it as well.  Those are two primary things.  We read, for example, in Collagen's chapter two, that all the treasure of wisdom and knowledge is found in Christ.  All.  We read in Romans 8:32 that God has freely given us all things in Jesus Christ.  We read in 1 Corinthians 2, that we understand what God has given us freely by the Spirit.


This is a picture of the fact that God Almighty has wrapped up everything that He has to give humanity in His Son -- and has freely given to us His Son.  Now, I say it that way because a lot of us make the mistake of thinking that, yeah, we received Jesus at salvation, but then God adds to us on top of Jesus a whole bunch of other things.  That is not the truth.  We can get into some pretty serious error if we begin to draw that out into an experiencing of Christ.  God has not given us things in addition to Christ.  God has given us Christ in whom are all things.  There are no things in addition to Christ.  There is only Christ, but in him is all.  It's a great thing to understand that if God has given you Christ, if you have received Christ, then you have all that God has to give.  There's nothing he has left to give.  Now, somebody's going to say, Well, I'm a Christian.  I received Christ, but where are all the things in Him? Well, it's only as we discover and grow to know Christ that we come into an experiencing of all that God has given in him.


Again, you can't separate the things of God from the one in whom they're given.  He is, in fact, the personification of life, light, truth, and all that God has to give.  There are many ways to picture this, and Jesus uses many ways to picture it in the parables.  This is but one.  When he delivers unto him his goods, it doesn't say it outright.  It's a little bit of a different picture.  But what we're talking about here is the fact that Christianity is Christ in you, the hope of glory.  If Christ is in us, he is our life and he is the truth.  He is our light.  In him, God has given us all things, and we are to set about discovering Him.  As we will read in this parable, God wants us to multiply the life and the truth, and we're going to discuss what that means.  This is all about receiving Christ and all that is in Him.  Jesus uses a picture that they could understand, and of course, we can as well.  Now, again, verse 15, there were different amounts of the goods of Jesus that were given, and it says according to each his several ability.


Now, we need to talk about that because it would almost sound like God's playing favorites.  If he gives more of life to one, then he does to another.  But that's not the picture that God is giving.  It isn't that he gives each person a different amount of Christ.  It's that each person is in a different phase of spiritual growth such that they can experience what God has to give.  So in other words, and it says it here, according each to his own ability, he gives the person five talents because that person at that point is able to experience and express and be responsible for that much.  But it's all the same Christ.  How many understand we all receive all of Christ at salvation? But all of us can't express him and be responsible and know him all the same at all times.  We're all in a process of growth.  But this process of growth is actually not what we think.  We think that what it means to grow is to become a spiritual giant, so now we can handle five talents.  That a thing, and that's nonsense.  To each his own ability has to do with the fact that in order to experience Christ and walk in him, and manifest him, we have to be reduced and made weak.


That determines our ability, if you will.  To plug this into the parable, the reason that this first person was given five talents was that he was weak enough and had come under the work of the cross enough to be able to be responsible for five talents and to multiply those five talents according to the glory of God.  We have to get this.  This is not about being good enough to receive five rather than two.  This is about being weak enough or showing you're weak enough.  It's about decreasing that he might increase.  It's about being reduced under the work of the cross so that, if I can use this language, God can entrust you with his goods.  Now, even though in the parable, the way that it's set up, and I think again, these parables are told to reveal spiritual principles that we can take and apply to living and experiencing Christ.  Even though in the parable, it looks like, all right, this was handed out at the beginning of the life of these people and it was maintained through to the end that they were called to a comp.  I think that there's a wider application of this.


I think it's a fact that if I'm given two talents at some point in my Christian experience, I think if I'm under the work of the cross and go on with God, I can be reduced to the point where the two can now give way to maybe five more or 10 or whatever it is.  This is a growth process.  Your ability, as it's described here, that determines how many talents you receive is going to change.  Hopefully, the more you are reduced, the more you decrease in your own self-rightelessness, the more you decrease in your self-occupation, the more you decrease in your spiritual pride, the more Christ can increase in you, which is the talents.  Again, this is the life of Christ in us.  Now, of course, all of this goes back to the statement that Jesus made in Matthew20, Matthew 16, where He said, if anyone would come after me, let him deny himself, pick up his cross daily and follow me, for whosoever would lose his life for my sake will find me as his life.  How many see that that's a decreasing of us under the work of the cross, but then an ongoing increasing of him in us.


It's all about where our faith is, it's all about where our righteousness is, and it's all about the fact that we know the truth.  It's not academic or theological knowledge, it's about relationship, it's about faith.  We will pick up our cross daily, and as we do, we will decrease, He will increase, which is a multiplying of what we were originally given.  I mean, the fact that it can be multiplied, and we see that at the end of the parable, the guy that had five had 10 at the end, it shows that this is a very fluid picture of spiritual growth.  We don't need to get into this keeping score thing that Christians tend to do, in competing with one another and even comparing ourselves with ourselves.  It's just a spiritual principle.  If at one point in time I have two talents, well, I can multiply that to 500.  If at one point in time I have five talents, I can multiply that to 500.  The point is that even though the amount's different here in this picture, it's still all life in Christ.  And that can't be limited and defined by amounts.  It's eternal.  So it is talking about each person's ability, because of their stage of spiritual growth, to be responsible for and entrusted with that which belongs to Jesus, life and truth.


That ability is determined by how much they've been reduced under the work of the cross.  Right away, we see that this is completely different than natural thinking would indicate.  The ability has to do with being emptied of yourself.  The talents are his life and his truth.  We are always in the process of multiplying that or not against spiritual principles as to how God works with his people.  Here we have Jesus giving to one of his servants, it's pictured to five talents, to another two, to another one, to every man according to one's own dunami ability, power.  The less power that you have is your own ability of the better.  Because when you are weak, then you are strong in Christ, according to the Apostle Paul.  And it says, And then he took his journey.  Now, obviously, all believers are not lined up, so to speak, at the same time receiving talents from Jesus Christ.  This is just a picture.  And so he gives you your talent, so to speak, yes, when you're saved, but then also in an ongoing way, it's adjusted as you go along.  The same with me, you could live 100 years ago and that could happen a thousand years ago and it would happen or today.


It's a picture.  It's a spiritual picture.  Picture.  Now, there's also another picture here within a picture.  We could apply this to the entire Christian life in a general way, but we can also apply it into different seasons of the Christian life.  Perhaps God wants me to enter into a particular season of experience with Him.  Maybe it's a trial of my faith and it can be pictured when this begins as God giving me two talents.  What did I do with what I was given during that trial? And at the end of the parable, that would apply to the end of the trial in this case.  And so you can apply this on many levels.  And that's not a departure from what the Bible is teaching here because he says, For the kingdom of heaven is like unto.  It's about God's spiritual dealing with his people, as I said.  We've got to keep that in mind when we read all of the parables, spiritual principles that apply on many levels to the life of the believer.  Okay, so in the parable, he takes his journey.  It says, verse 16, Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same and made him five other talents.


And likewise, he that had received two, he also gained another two.  But he that had received the one went and dug in the earth and hid his Lord's money.  We have two that multiplied what God had given, and we have one that, as we're going to see, did not.  Now, gained by trading, says here, says, I think in Luke, multiply.  What does that mean exactly? Because a lot of Christians easily get under bondage on these matters.  We think when we read a parable like this, that we're under some pressure, under fear of punishment even for some, that we go out and we start saving souls.  That we go out and we start a ministry.  Then that, of course, presents a particular problem for those who can't preach, who don't have those particular abilities to minister and so forth.  We begin to question, well, how can I multiply? How can I make the grades, so to speak? Can we understand we do that? We're actually putting ourselves under a law.  We're right back under legalism of a different kind.  Instead of trying to earn salvation here, we're trying to earn a reward if we do that.


That's contrary to the word of God.  God would never have things that way, and that's proven a thousand times over in scripture.  And so how do you multiply? Well, you multiply once you understand that this is life and truth.  You understand that you first have to multiply what God has given you through Christ in your own self by growing your own self.  You can't go out and minister Christ if you don't know Him.  You can't be an expression or an extension of Jesus.  He is Christ.  If he's not even having his way with you.  You can't.  The first way that you multiply, we alluded to it earlier, is you have to decrease that he might increase in you.  You have to lose your life that there might be a greater and greater release of his life in you.  If we're not responsible for that over our own experience in relationship with God, how can we say that we're called to minister to others? That would be absolute nonsense, and yet so many people do that.  So many people today, and I'm not trying to be critical, but I think it needs to be said because it explains the state of the church.


So many people today are pastoring churches and in ministry that should not be.  They were never called to that by God, or if they were called, they jumped the gun and didn't get their own personal life straight and solid in Christ and then just launched out in a ministry.  It's created really, at the very least, spiritual immaturity everywhere, but really it's created error.  Because if there's a principle that holds true in the New Testament about people that ought to be ministering as pastors and so forth, is that they themselves have to be solid in Christ.  I mean, all the qualifications for ministry that we find at Timothy, Titus, and other places boil down to that in the end.  But then, of course, our idea of a pastor in this day and age in and of itself is in question, which I don't have time to go into.  How do you multiply the life and truth of Christ? Well, certainly as an underpinning, as the basis of any ministry and the outward to other people, you have to have room made for Christ in you.  That's done by God crucifying in you whatever is hindering the life of Christ in you.


Now you have to have that, or it's not really multiplying or gaining by trading.  Again, what you've been given is not an ability, so to speak, to preach.  What you've been given is not, so to speak, on the first line of interpretation, these spiritual gifts.  What you've been given is Christ.  How many understand that all the spiritual gifts and all the fruit of the Spirit are of His life? What do we think they are of? Our life? There's nothing of God that comes from natural life in Adam.  There's nothing of God that is found in you by nature.  We need to get rid of this nonsense that God roams the earth or roams the body of Christ, looking for someone with the great ability to do this or that, says, I'm going to make you a preacher.  That's utter and complete absurdity.  God couldn't care less about that.  God Almighty gives us His son, and I've already said it, in whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.  In whom are all the gifts of the Spirit.  In whom is all the fruits of the Spirit.  The fruits of the Spirit are Christ being manifested.


Why do we think it's another absurdity.  Why do we think that there are two in dwellings in a believer, the Spirit of God and then also Christ? And that all the gifts are of the Spirit of God and all the fruit of the Spirit of God, but over here is Christ, and I guess all he did was save us.  This is nonsense.  Jesus Christ dwells in us by the means of the Spirit of God.  He said so.  The Bible says so.  If there's any doubt about that, read John 14, 15, and 16, Jesus makes it clear that every purpose for which the Spirit of God was to be given, was to reveal Him, to glorify Him, to manifest Him, boil it all down in the purpose of the Spirit of God is to reveal Christ to us and in us, and then through us to others.  It's all about Jesus Christ.  The Christian doesn't manifest the Holy Spirit.  The Christian manifests Christ, and the Holy Spirit does the work to make that possible in the believer.  We need to establish that because we get these things all confused and mixed up.  Even though on the surface, it might not seem like it's an important thing to distinguish, it ends up dovetelling off into areas that, frankly, create great error and great misinterpretation in the Christian life.


We need to come in to a knowledge of Jesus Christ.  We need to experience Him.  And if we do, then His life will be multiplied.  And yeah, because it's his life, then there will be the gifts and then there will be the fruits.  But it's all Christ.  You can't be out here trying to multiply gifts and fruits.  Notes to the disregard of Christ.  We have to have our faith in Him and abide in Him.  Jesus said so, if you don't abide in Him, there's not going to be any fruit.  Do we think there's going to be gifts? No.  Abide in Him means to not abide in ourselves.  Abide in Him means to live in and out from Him, relying upon Him and drawing from Him for every single last drop and shred of life for every single thing we need, and is the entire object and preoccupation of our living.  The Lord will teach us how to do that.  Ask Him to do whatever it takes to bring us into that, and He'll do it.  It'll take time, but He'll do it.  That's how, in a personal way, you and I can multiply the life of Christ in ourselves personally.


Multiply the life and multiply the truth.  You will come into a knowledge of Him, but you have to pick up your cross daily and lose your life.  You have to be under the work of the cross that you might be crucified, that your self-righteousness and your religiousity might be crucified, and that the life of Jesus might have free reign and free release.  Not only of that's happening in you and I personally can we expect to be able to minister to others.  Now, before I begin to talk about ministering to others, I want to turn to first and second Peter.  I want to turn to the first chapter in each of those epistles where it actually uses the word multiply.  It's tremendous verses.  In first Peter, chapter 1, verse 2, at the end of verse 2, it says, Grace unto you and peace be multiplied.  Shows you God's will.  Now, how is it multiplied? Well, second Peter, chapter 1 tells us how.  It says in verse 2 of second Peter 1, Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through a knowledge of God and of Jesus, our Lord.  How many understand that's a personal, inward knowledge?


It's what Paul was talking about to the Galatians.  When he said, I travail that Christ be formed in you.  Galatians 4:19, he meant inwardly, realized and expressed.  That's an inward revelation and knowledge and experiencing of the person of Jesus Christ who dwells in the believer.  That's what Paul travailed that we would have.  That's the purpose of God.  It's the basis for everything.  It's what Christ in us is all about.  Peter says, It is through the inward realization.  It is through the knowledge.  That's what the word knowledge means in the Greek.  It means an experiencing of.  It is through the knowledge of God and of our Lord Jesus Christ that grace and peace be multiplied unto us.  Peace is a fruit of the Spirit.  Grace is an overall, really, that covers all the life and truth of God.  God wants to bring us into a knowledge of Himself.  But that can't happen simply by God narrating to us biblical doctrine.  The doctrine we're going to have and need to, but God's got to reveal Himself to us in an inward way, which we'll always agree with doctrine biblically, but this has to be something that is inside that comes to govern us.


If God reveals to us his son in an inward way, that is going to be done in our spirit, but it's going to filter down through, through the work of the cross by abiding in Christ and by seeking Him.  It's going to filter down through and eventually renew our minds, and we're going to understand and be able to believe all the more, and the result is going to be grace and peace.  Isn't it great to know that if you know Jesus, grace and peace will be multiplied? Doesn't that tell us something about Him? We all want grace and peace, and we tend to ask God for grace and peace as things.  God would say to us, I can't give you those as things.  They're not things.  They're the result of knowing Christ because they're all in Him, the result of experiencing Christ.  Right there, we have examples of how things are multiplied.  Now, that's a basis of things to personally have the life and truth of Jesus Christ multiplied in us.  But it isn't the will of God that we receive from him and bottle it up and bury it like this one guy did.


God wants us to be vehicles through whom He can express Christ.  He really wants us to be extensions of Christ.  Now, what we need to understand about that is that you don't need to be a preacher to do that.  You don't need to be even in a church to do that, if you come right down to it.  You can minister to the body by simply allowing Jesus Christ to have you.  If the life and truth of Jesus is multiplied in you and I, if we're seeking Him and have ourselves before Him in every way that we know how, in every situation, and His life and truth is being multiplied in us, then we are ministering to the body of Christ spiritually.  We are an expression of Christ to the body and an extension of Christ to the body.  Why? Because we are members one of another in Christ.  Now, this is a growth process, and I'm not suggesting that if I grow spiritually, automatically, all the impacts of that are in you or vice versa.  I'm talking about an overall effect.  It can't be denied.  If I am one in spirit with you and you are one in spirit with me, then to the extent that the life of Christ is multiplied in me through my weakness, the life of Christ can have a greater and more free impact in you.


Now, the opposite is true too.  If anyone is in Christ and they begin to corrupt and be irresponsible with regards to the life of Christ, that will hurt the body of Christ.  It'll hurt the health of the body.  We read that in 1 Corinthians 11.  For this reason, many of you are sick and some of you have fallen asleep.  We're members of one another, and you can never separate that.  This isn't a matter of needing to be geographically with people.  Now, if you can be in a growing, healthy church, fantastic that there are many that can't be or are limited somewhat in that.  But you can nevertheless have your own life in Christ and be under the work of the personal cross and be experiencing weakness in yourself onto having Christ as your strength, and that will be administered to the body.  It'll be one you won't even see.  You'll be benefiting people, you don't even know what their names are.  You'll be benefiting the greater body of Jesus Christ going all the way back to Adam.  I'm not suggesting the people that have passed on have an immediate realization of that.  But I am saying that when Jesus Christ comes back and all the body is resurrected and joined together literally, I am saying that whatever has been accomplished in each one, there will be a sharing.


I'm glad to know that.  Your suffering is not just for you, neither is your rejoicing.  Paul teaches that numerous times in the New Testament.  When one suffers, all suffer.  When one is comforted, all are comforted.  But see, in this day and age, we have so corrupted and watered down the truth in Christ that we barely even realize any of these things when they happen, if they even do happen.  Well, if they are real and Christ really is in one person, then it is going to affect life in Christ for another.  And we've got God's word on that now.  We can contribute life, multiply life to the body of Christ, even if we don't seem to have any outward ministry at all.  We can do that just by having our own life in Christ.  Of course, all of this is enhanced by prayer.  You and I need to be praying constantly, praying always in the Spirit.  That means praying always, not by emotion, not by brain power, but in the Spirit.  In other words, be praying in the sense of joining the Lord Jesus in His will.  In His intentions and in His agenda.  We can do that.


We can pray for each other.  Paul said, I suffer for the body's sake.  I fill up that which was lacking for the body of the sufferings of Christ.  Jesus left apart, left over that we have to accomplish in that way.  He accomplished the redemption.  I'm just saying bringing it into experience, we can impact each other.  Now, Paul in 2 Corinthians 4 explains this.  He explains it in such a way that it could not possibly be misunderstood.  2 Corinthians 4 is a chapter about ministry.  The chapter begins where Paul says, seeing we have this ministry.  Then he goes on, talks about having the treasure in an earthen vessel that's Christ in us, the hope of glory.  He makes it a point to say that the power is not of us, but of God.  Again, everything in us that is of God is of Christ, and nothing that is in us is of us.  The job of the cross, the job of the Spirit of God is to bring us to the place where we see we are nothing, where we are reduced in our own strength.  Not to put us down, but to get us to the point where we are able to rely upon Christ.


I'm going to understand that to the extent that we are dependent upon Christ, the power of God can move in and through us.  Why? Because He's the power of God.  It says so in 1 Corinthians 1, Christ, the power of God.  To the extent that you are depleted of your own power, and I'm not talking about just saying it, I'm talking about it happening, and are reliant fully by faith on Jesus Christ, well, now you're reliant upon the one who is the power of God.  God.  That is the only way in which the life and truth of Jesus can be multiplied in us or through us.  Now, he says we have this treasure and earth and vessels, and he talks about all the struggles and the sufferings and the trials in verses 8 and 9.  But verses 10, 11, and 12 are the important verses here that I want to get to.  Notice ministry in here.  Notice how the ministry he's about to talk about is based upon the personal experience a person who would minister has with Christ.  He says, Always bearing about in the body.  Now, that's a personal experience.  Always a bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus.


That's picking up your cross, that's experiencing Christ in the fellowship of his sufferings.  Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body, for we which live are always delivered on to death for Jesus' sake.  That the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal body.  How many see that's gaining by trading within? That's multiplication of his life within the person.  But, he adds in verse 12, so then death works in us, the death he just described.  But as a result, life in you.  That's the death in one member of the body, under the work of the cross, resulting in life, yes, in that person, but also a life that is shared that impacts the rest of the body.  This is how you and I can gain by trading.  It's how you and I can multiply to God's glory and the benefit of others, the life and the truth and all that is in Christ, all that he has given us to be responsible for, we can do that.  It comes back to the personal responsibility that God places on us with regards to what he has given us.


Now, how many understand, and this is certainly a related thing, that we should desire that other members of the body of Christ experience and know Christ, yes, as much as we do, but even more if that's how it needs to go, if that's how it's God's will.  In other words, I should have God's heart with regards to other members of the body, and I should want others to have that.  If I think what I have is fantastic, I'm going to want others to have that.  I'm going to want others to experience the Christ that I've experienced, and that's going to be my prayer.  That's going to be why I lay down my life and multiply and gain by trading.  It's not going to be just for me.  It has to happen in me, but it's not going to be just for me.  It's going to be first for God's glory that I may be a member of his body that he might use and glorify himself, and then so that I can be an expression of him and an extension of him as a member of his body to his glory, but that I could be someone who could be used as a vessel to contribute life to others.


And as I've just explained, I can contribute life to others without even saying a word or ever meeting them.  We can be that in Christ.  Now let's get back here to the parable.  I left off at verse 19, and here we come, here's Jesus coming back.  And it says, After a long time, the Lord of those servants came and reckoned with them.  In other words, he's going to call them to account and ask, What have you done with what I gave you? What have you become, really? It says in verse 20, So he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, 'Lord, you delivered unto me five talents; behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.  ' His Lord said unto him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant.  You have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things.  Enter, thou, into the joy of the Lord.  Now, again, spiritual principles here, this can happen all within this life in Christ, but it certainly has that application in the overall sense towards the end of the age when we stand before the judgment seat of Christ.


God has entrusted all of us, if you're in Christ, with some life and some truth.  When I say some life, I'm not suggesting that some gets more of Christ than others, just some realized life.  This is our state of growth, in other words.  We all have a certain realization of Christ at any point in our spiritual growth.  We have that, we have truth, and we're responsible for it.  God always holds us responsible for the life we have.  No more, no less, but he does hold us responsible.  He says, Be faithful over this.  What does that mean? Well, think of it as a servant who is in charge of his master's possessions.  Paul said, This is how you ought to think of us, said this in 1 Corinthians 4, as stewards of the mysteries of God, as ministers of Christ.  As it said in the beginning of the parable, everything Christ has given us belongs to Him.  None of it belongs to us, and we need to treat it that way.  We have no business doing with the things of God what we please.  We have no business using the things of God for our own personal benefit.


These people that make money over the things of God, they're committing an abomination.  They're being unfaithful to God.  I mean, it's just unbelievable.  It's so clear and so clearly laid out in scripture.  A faithful steward or a faithful servant does not take ownership over the master's possession.  What he does do is the will of God to the master's glory.  What he does do is multiply and gain by trading with the master's possession.  You'll note that here at the end, the servants, they don't keep either the five talents they were given in the beginning or the ones they gained.  They don't keep any of it.  They give all that back to the master.  But because of the faithfulness, they are able to receive authority and greater riches, really.  Now, in this we find a principle.  God Almighty, as I began to say, has entrusted us with a certain amount of life, light and truth, a certain experiencing of that as we go along to Christian life.  I want to emphasize again, unless I'd be misunderstood, I'm not saying that we are given different amounts of Christ.  No, we're all given the same amount of the same Christ, but we're all in a process of discovering Him.


Along the way, we have discovered different, I guess we could use the word amounts of Christ.  It's an awkward word, different dimensions.  We all have a different experiencing of Him.  All of it could be the truth, although there's a whole lot more of Christ yet to come.  But we're all in those different phases.  We've been given a responsibility and an accountability over that.  God says, when he said, Go and gain by trading, he says, I want you to be faithful over this.  I want you to be a steward over this to my glory.  Now, if we are faithful over what God has given us, then what does God take into the eternal ages? Well, He doesn't take things.  He takes the faithfulness in you and I, or turn it around, he takes you and I as faithful.  And He says, Great, well done, good and faithful servant.  Now I know you are faithful.  You've been faithful over a little thing here.  Now I know you can be faithful over big things.  How many see that the issue here is not the few things or the many things.  The issue here is the faithfulness because it speaks to the relationship that we have with Christ.


So again, you may not be out there preaching or seeming to have a lot to be faithful over.  You actually do if Christ is in you, as I tried to explain.  But it doesn't matter, just be faithful over what God has entrusted you with.  Do as will with regards to what God has entrusted you with, whether it seemed to be big or seemed to be small.  Because at the end of the day, it's not going to matter.  What's going to matter is whether you were faithful.  Faithful, yes, over that, but faithful to Him.  Did you allow Jesus Christ to have His way with you? What have you done with Christ? What does He mean to you? And what has He been able to do with you? If you've been faithfulful, and really, when you come right down to it, and I say this often, but I think the greatest expression of faithfulness would be to have a perpetual attitude to Jesus Christ that, Lord, I belong to you.  Do whatever it takes.  Lord, I'm not my own.  I don't own anything.  I'm here for you alone, and do whatever takes to bring me into the fullness of what you want to accomplish in my life.


That's an abandonment to Jesus Christ.  That's faithfulness.  That's true stewardship.  You can do that over a little thing.  I'm going to understand sometimes the most difficult thing of all is to be faithful to Jesus Christ when nothing seems to be happening, when he seems to be indifferent.  When he doesn't seem to be, so to speak, using you, when he seems to be indifferent to you and not paying attention to you, especially when you might be suffering.  Very difficult to be faithful in our heart and very easy to begin to despair and to gripe and so forth.  No, be faithful to him.  He hasn't forsaken you.  He's in you for Pete's sake.  There is no such thing as forsaking if he's in you.  Be faithful over that, and God will say, Well, you've been faithful, period.  I have a faithful servant here, and now I know that this servant will be faithful over anything that I entrust him with.  That's how you enter into the joy of the Lord and are able to have authority with the Lord.  Now you also received the two talents came, you delivered me two more talents, and I've gained another two and well done, good and faithful servant.


You have been faithful over the few things.  I will make you rule over many things.  Same thing.  How many understand that the guy that got five talents and the person that received two talents in this life differing amounts.  Nevertheless, both became faithful and they all received the same reward.  Read the parable of the laborers in the vineyard.  Servants were made responsible for different amounts of work, but at the end of the day, they all received the same reward.  We should want that for others.  We should want those who don't seem to have done a whole lot, if in fact, they have been faithful, to receive every bit that we're going to receive, if in fact, we have been responsible for much.  Paul wanted that.  Paul was made responsible for a lot and suffered a lot, and yet it was his desire that everyone receive a full reward.  When I say reward, I mean something, a maritorous reward.  I mean a full result, which is what the term reward means.  This is what we ought to desire and this is what is pictured here.  Whether it was the two or the five, the faithfulness is what mattered, and they were both able then because of the faithfulness to be made rulers over many things.


Now let's get to the guide that had a bad outcome because there's a lot of truth in here as well.  Actually, there's truth in here that ought to be very encouraging.  Now, when I used to read this, I used to get scared because, again, am I guilty of hiding my talent? You've heard that.  If you don't use it, you'll lose it, and all these conclusions people come to over these parables.  But then I began to read this with a different understanding.  Even though this isn't a good outcome for him, and we certainly don't want to be in his place, they're nevertheless in this is a tremendous encouragement.  Let's read it and see what that is.  Verse 24, Then he which had received the one talent came and said, 'Lord, I knew that you were a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not strewed.  I was afraid and went and hid your talent in the earth.  So here, have what's yours.  And as Lord answered and said unto him, you wicked and slothful servant, you knew that I reap or I sowed not.  Was that your understanding of me?


And was your understanding of me that I gather where I have not strewed? Well, if that was your understanding of me, he's saying to him, then you ought to have at least put my money to the exchangeers, and then at my coming, I should have received my own with interest.  Let me stop it right there.  Now, obviously, this person did not do what was acceptable to the Lord.  He was not faithful over what God had entrusted him with.  But in this correction, we can derive both encouragement and instruction.  This particular servant had a wrong and faulty and really erroneous knowledge of God.  This person did not know God according to the truth.  Now we have to remember that this last servant here did receive some light and truth.  He received one talent.  There was a core there.  There was a basis there.  But despite that, he continued under a false knowledge of God.  He was afraid and had a completely corrupt idea of what was required of him.  But Jesus here is telling him something that ought to be an encouragement to us.  He is saying, All right, you didn't know me.  In fact, you were all wrong about me.


You believed lies about me.  You didn't believe the truth about me.  But even within your deception, you could have turned at least enough to multiply a little, which is represented by the interest, because the guy did receive some light and truth in the beginning.  What we're being told here is, listen, you and I may be in a bad place right now.  We may be trapped in legalism.  We may have a false knowledge of God, be afraid of God, be under condemnation, have some of the most ridiculous ideas about God.  We may be in a cult.  We may be in a false group.  We may be totally out of it.  But if God is calling us, if he has dealt with us, we at least have a spark in us.  We have something in us whereby.  In that context of darkness, we can still say, I believe Jesus.  I still believe Jesus.  I've found that to be true.  I've found that in the past I've been in, and I'm talking about way back when I was a teenager in groups that taught error, to be in situations where there seemed to be such darkness and despair to where I just couldn't find God.


In the midst of all of that, you can turn to Jesus Christ and believe and trust him and seek him.  Even if you don't understand anything else on the face of this Earth, you can at least understand he is faithful.  If you've got one talent, you can turn around.  That's an important distinction.  If you don't have any talents, then you're not even at that point.  That's okay, because God hasn't called you.  But this is somebody who has at least enough to turn.  You don't need to understand theology or academics.  You don't need to have a vast experience in Jesus Christ.  You can be in confusion and in error up to your lower lip, but you at least have enough to say, Listen, I can't explain, I don't understand, but I'm going to trust Christ and not my understanding.  You do have enough to do that.  And Jesus is telling us we need to.  And if we do, God can begin to work with us.  He can begin to take faith.  Without faith, it is impossible to please God.  For whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists, in other words, that he is present there available and that he is responder, the Greek word is, to those who diligently seek him, seek God wherever you are in whatever condition you are in.


He will be faithful.  And if you've been given anything from God, you've been given at least enough to know, enough to turn.  It'll be in you to do so.  This guy did not do that.  He could have, and that's where he failed, and that's the condemnation here.  You should have put my money to the exchange.  You should have believed despite your false knowledge of me.  You should have at least known that I was faithfully because I did give you one talent and he suffered loss.  Take therefore the talent from him and give it unto him, which has ten talents.  And he says for unto everyone that has shall more be given and he that has abundance.  But from him who has not, it shall be taken away, even that which he had.  And really in there we see again that principle that the body is all one, that if God doesn't get his will and his glory out of one person, he's going to get it out of another because he's going to have that fullness.  


That's the parable of the talents.  I think it's an encouraging parable.  It tells us that no one is insignificant in Christ, and that all that God tells us to do is be faithful and true to Him over whatever He has entrusted us with.


That's faithfulness, and that's a reverence for the person of Jesus Christ who dwells in us.


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