Grace & Truth Chapel
131 Fardale Avenue ~ Mahwah, New Jersey
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"A Servant's Responsibility" (posted June 2, 2012)

  For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them.
  And to one he gave five talents*, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey.
   - Matthew 25:14-15

The "talents" were given to be used for the Lord, not for the glory of the servant. We are in a world of need, and there are souls to be won for Christ. Just as a business man is in business, to do business, so should the Christian be here for Christ. The Lord Himself could say, "Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?" (Luke 2: 49), and He was the Pattern Servant.

We may gather from the Lord's teaching that every believer has some talent imparted to him according to his own ability, and that it is expected of him that he will use that gift or talent for the Lord's glory. Now, ability may be either natural or acquired, and, if acquired, may also be developed in proportion as he seeks diligently so to do.

This, taken in connection with the injunction to Timothy to stir up the gift that was in him (2 Timothy 1:6), would show that by diligent and faithful exercise of our talents and abilities, both the vessel and the talent it contains will alike increase, the sphere of service widen, and the blessing extend. This should be the desire of every servant-- the object in view ever being the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.

On the other hand, even a believer may allow his gift to lie dormant and, through mere slothfulness either of body or mind, neglect to equip himself for the service and opportunities that may lie just at hand. For example, a man cannot "do the work of an evangelist" (2 Timothy 4:5) unless he goes where souls are to be found. The Word of Christ cannot "dwell richly" in a saint (Colossians 3:16) unless he make it his study. No Sunday school teacher will succeed unless he seeks diligently, earnestly, and prayerfully to learn the Book he has set out to teach. To speak a word in season to him that is weary (Isaiah 50:4), we must be ever drinking from the Living Spring. There are ever very practical lessons to be learned when the Lord is the Teacher. No one teaches like Him.

But the possibility is counted upon here, as in all parables, of a man taking the place of a servant who never knew the Lord (Matthew 25:26-30). There is no question at all of the "wicked and lazy servant" being a Christian. He was not. His words, his actions, and his end abundantly prove it.

But the Lord uses the case, and the end of the mere professor, to warn of the possible danger a real Christian is exposed to in this matter. The man hid his talent in the earth, instead of using it for his Master, and it may be possible that for some the "earth" is a greater snare than the "world." A Christian man may... allow his business concerns so to engross his heart and life that every moment is devoted to the things of earth, and he can find neither time nor interest for the things of the Lord.

Furthermore, it was the man with one talent that proved false to his trust, and it may be safely assumed that men of this class compose the majority of the servants. Outstanding "five-talent" servants are but few; hence the warning in the parable extends to the greatest number. We are tempted to think that because we can do but little, that little left undone will not matter. But not so. The sons of Merari bore the pins and cords of the Tabernacle, and their service was just as important as that of the sons of Kohath, who bore the sacred vessels (Numbers 4).

Laurence Laurenson

*Note: The word "talent" in this context refers to a piece of money with significant value.

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