Have you ever dreamed about being rich?
I’m sure you remember the story Jesus told. A man goes on a journey and divides up his wealth with his slaves. One gets five talents, one two, and one receives only one. They were told to use the money wisely and increase its value until he returned.
That doesn’t seem so dramatic until you realize just how much change Jesus was speaking about. That talent, a unit of money, is a big deal. It was measured out by weight—58 to 80 pounds of silver or gold—and was worth 6000 denarii. A denarii was equal to one day’s wages for a common laborer during Jesus’ day. These slaves, representing people of all kinds (not just believers), were to manage a lot of wealth for their master.
We often do not think that what God has given to humans to manage is very much. But we are wrong.
“I threw that old dusty book away that was in the attic,” said the neighbor. “Really? What was it?” “Oh, an old Bible written by somebody named, ‘Gutten’ or something like that.” “You mean Guttenburg! Why one of those Bibles recently sold at auction for 2 million dollars!” “This one would only be worth a dollar, I’m sure. Some guy named Luther wrote all over it.”
We not only mistake the value of what we’ve been entrusted, but most of us forget who’s property it is—God’s! We’re only stewards of what we’ve been given to us for a brief time. There is a day of reckoning in the future when the master returns.
We’re not told whether the talent is to represent real property, or the other kind of talents or giftedness we associate with that word. Endowments of ability were given the name “talents” because of this parable, by the way. “What do you have that you did not receive,” said Paul. But whatever they are, they have one ultimate purpose for being in our lives. God entrusted them to us temporarily so that we might use them for Him until He returns, turning it into something more for the Master.
Now, the rest of the story: The five talent man turned his into five more; the two talent man doubled his also; but the one talent man buried his in the ground. Christ was not at all pleased with the last one. He was called “evil” and “lazy” and “worthless,” by the master. He obviously represents a person who is not a believer. He is thrown into “outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Reckoning day won’t be a happy one for such people, even if they have developed their gifts to a phenomenal degree. If their labors have not been for God, they are worthless in terms of His kingdom.
Jesus said, “Well done, good and faithful servant” to the five and the two talent men. We usually stop right there are think about how good that would be for Christ to say those words. But if we do, we have really missed the point. Read it all: “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in a few things. I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your master.”
There is a whole lot more than commendation going on here. Jesus is going to give rulership in His future kingdom to those who give good returns for their stewardship. In fact, Jesus said that the talent of the man who did nothing for the master was to be given to the five talent man. All the dominion going on in the world will be portioned out to the saints one day. Daniel prophesied about this day:
“Then the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people, the saints of the most High” (Daniel 7:27).
We all owe God everything, whether we are believers or not. And we all must improve that which we’ve been given from Him. The non-believers won’t do that, sadly. However, the believers have a great opportunity to maximize the opportunity. Don’t think little of what God has promised to the faithful. It means more than you could possibly imagine.