Our scripture this week is from Matthew 25:14-30, taken today from the Common English Bible (CEB).
“The kingdom of heaven is like a man who was leaving on a trip. He called his servants and handed his possessions over to them. To one he gave five valuable coins, and to another he gave two, and to another he gave one. He gave to each servant according to that servant’s ability. Then he left on his journey. “After the man left, the servant who had five valuable coins took them and went to work doing business with them. He gained five more. In the same way, the one who had two valuable coins gained two more. But the servant who had received the one valuable coin dug a hole in the ground and buried his master’s money. “Now after a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The one who had received five valuable coins came forward with five additional coins. He said, ‘Master, you gave me five valuable coins. Look, I’ve gained five more.’ “His master replied, ‘Excellent! You are a good and faithful servant! You’ve been faithful over a little. I’ll put you in charge of much. Come, celebrate with me.’ “The second servant also came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two valuable coins. Look, I’ve gained two more.’ “His master replied, ‘Well done! You are a good and faithful servant. You’ve been faithful over a little. I’ll put you in charge of much. Come, celebrate with me.’ “Now the one who had received one valuable coin came and said, ‘Master, I knew that you are a hard man. You harvest grain where you haven’t sown. You gather crops where you haven’t spread seed. So I was afraid. And I hid my valuable coin in the ground. Here, you have what’s yours.’ “His master replied, ‘You evil and lazy servant! You knew that I harvest grain where I haven’t sown and that I gather crops where I haven’t spread seed? In that case, you should have turned my money over to the bankers so that when I returned, you could give me what belonged to me with interest. Therefore, take from him the valuable coin and give it to the one who has ten coins. Those who have much will receive more, and they will have more than they need. But as for those who don’t have much, even the little bit they have will be taken away from them. Now take the worthless servant and throw him out into the farthest darkness.’ “People there will be weeping and grinding their teeth.”
In some translations this is called the Parable of the Talents. A talent was a measure of weight applied to gold and silver. The master in this story is entrusting the wealth of his household to these servants for them to manage in his absence. Jesus is telling us that like these servants, we have a obligation to God and each other for putting to good use that which we have been given.
When God created us He gave us each something valuable, a skill to be shared with others. Additionally, He gave us charge over His creation, an incredible gift and an enormous responsibility. We often lose sight of the requirements this entails and the tremendous trust God has placed in us to use this gift well.
Jesus also left us with a responsibility for kingdom work – to share the Good News with everyone, everywhere. This is nothing less than carrying on His ministry, to care for each other and share God’s love. Like the master in the story, our Master will return and He will expect an accounting of what we have done with His riches.
Gracious God, we are amazed that You call us to be part of Your work and that You give us such gifts to use here. Help us to be productive servants, letting all people know the joy of our relationship with You. Amen.