I have the privilege of serving in the 3rd-5th grade Sunday school class. This past Sunday we learned about the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25. In the parable, the Master gives one servant five talents, one servant receives two talents, and the last servant receives one talent. The first two servants increase their talents by working hard and trading. But the last servant buries his talent and was rejected by his Master when brought into account for how he used his talent. His reasoning is quoted below:
“And the one also who had received the one talent came up
and said, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed. And I was afraid, and I went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.” Matthew 25:24-25
As we learn about being a good steward of what God has given us, I think it would be beneficial to look at this parable and understand what motivated the first two servants to work hard and increase their talents, while the last servant, who ultimately was deemed worthless and rejected, hid his talent. I think that much is revealed in the last servant’s speech to his Master, who is representing Christ in this parable.
First, he says, “I knew you to be a hard man.” I found it interesting that the Master agrees with all of the worthless servant’s speech, except for this first phrase.
“But his master answered and said to him, ‘You wicked, lazy
slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed.” Matthew 25:26
God is powerful, God is in control, God is our authority, God is just, God speaks truth even when it hurts, but God is not hard. Over and over again the Bible talks about God’s love. He displayed His love for us mightily in Christ’s death that was orchestrated to save us from the wrath that we deserve for rejecting Him in thought, word, and deed. The worthless servant’s view of God led him to unhealthy fear. Matthew Henry says this in his
commentary on this parable:
“Good thoughts of God would beget love, and that love would
make us diligent and faithful; but hard thoughts of God beget fear, and that fear makes us slothful and unfaithful.”
While this parable provides a warning that may spur us to think deeper about our work for the Lord, let’s not stop at a fear of God’s judgment. God uses warnings to get our attention and I will admit that I am prone to get stuck in fear when I hear passages that show God’s just consequences for sin. But I know that God is working to help me see beyond that fear to a motivation that will endure and that will produce a joyful service to Him. All that God has done for me, He has done from His deep love and goodness. As we enter this month of stewardship, I pray that our hearts will be motivated by God’s good and loving nature, and that we will learn from the example of the worthless servant and take care to view God correctly, by His grace!