Daily Devotional - 21 July 2020
“The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together” (Matthew 25:21)!
This morning, I’ve been thinking about ‘talents’...specifically the ones Jesus referred to in His story when He was explaining the Kingdom of God and our need to be ready for His return (Matthew 25:14-30). For those unfamiliar with the story, a rich man decides to take a long trip and doesn’t stipulate when he plans to return. In the meantime, he hands over some of his wealth to employees and asks them to work on his behalf with the money he is giving them. He gives one employee five bags of silver, to another two and to a third one bag of silver. He then departs with the full expectation that these employees will work to increase his holdings.
The one who was given five bags quickly goes to work and through shrewd investments increases the five to ten bags of silver. The employee who has only two bags of silver, too, sets to work and doubles the silver he was given from two to four bags. The third employee doesn’t even try; he digs a hole in the ground and drops the bag in, burying it until his employer’s return.
When the rich man returns, he has each of the employees come to give an accounting of how they have used his silver. The first explains that he has doubled his employers investment from five to ten bags. His employer is overjoyed and promises him a promotion and then invites him to a party to celebrate. The exact same thing happens when the employee who was given two bags presents his employer with four. He too is given a promotion and invited to the celebration.
However, it is quite another story for the employee who comes to his employer holding a dirt covered, holey bag of silver. It is quickly apparent that this employee didn’t even try–was it fear as he claimed, “I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth” (25:25)? I don’t think so. The employer sees right through him; he accuses him of being lazy and wicked. He’s only been concerned with his own interests, rather than those of his employer; he thought to collect a paycheque for doing no work. The employee had accused the employer of being harsh and reaping the rewards from other people’s hard work; yet, he himself, wanted the benefits of an employee without working for it. As a result he is deemed ‘useless’ and terminated. The single bag of silver given to the one with ten for future investing.
As I was reflecting on this story, I got thinking about how horrible it would be to be the one standing in the accounting room holding the filthy rotten bag. Too late to make things better, my lack of effort in full view of everyone. While the employer had been away, the employee could ‘fake’ making efforts on his behalf; but now in the accounting rooms, his guilt becomes apparent and there is no hiding from the truth. He had a job to do, he had the resources to do it, but rather than work on the behalf of his employer, he thought to take advantage of his absence.
Reading further in Matthew (25:31-46), Jesus explains how the story relates to the Kingdom. He warns them that after an absence, he too will return and there will be a great accounting of all people. Those who have been faithful–the sheep–will be placed on His right and will hear their reward, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world” (25:34). Those who have not worked to increase the Kingdom of God during their time on earth, will be set on Jesus’ left–the goats–and will hear their judgement, “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (25:41). What determines who ends up on Jesus’ right and left sides? Our use of the ‘bags of silver’–the talents, gifts, provisions, resources–used in order to increase His Kingdom to bless others with a meal for the hungry, a cup of needed water, a place to stay, clothes to wear or even a visit to the sick and in prison (25:42-43).
God isn’t interested in having your merely calling yourself a Christian without living the life of a disciple–attempting to collect a paycheque without any effort. He has given us the tools we need to bless others in order to ‘increase His holdings.’ Those who attempt to ‘fake it’ will be sorely disappointed; those who serve faithfully and are loyal to the work Jesus has called us to do, will never be!
~ Pastor Jane
First licensed for pastoral ministry in 1994, Pastor Jane Peck has served in camp and church ministries in three denominations, five provinces and in a variety of roles. Her most recent position is that of Pastor at Hope Chapel which she began in 2020. She is excited to see what God can and will do in the days to come!