With great power comes great responsibility. This statement, or a form of it, has been used in countless movies and stories. It is usually intended to provide a gifted individual or even an aspiring super hero with guidance on the importance of using their abilities wisely.
In Matthew 25 Jesus tells a parable that provides us with a similar encouragement. He tells the story of a wealthy businessman who entrusts portions of his wealth to three of his servants while he is away on a trip. While the master is gone the three servants handle his money with various results. The first two servants are able to double the money entrusted to them. The third servant however simply buries his portion in the ground.
When the businessman returns he rewards the first two servants for their faithfulness with what he entrusted to them. Even though they were given differing amounts of money and therefore had different results they are both rewarded because of their faithfulness to the task.
The third servant experiences a different outcome. He makes excuses to his master accusing him of being harsh and cruel. He states that he simply hid the money out of fear of losing it. The master is not pleased. He punishes the servant citing that if the servant truly feared him he at least would have put the money in the bank to collect interest.
This parable has much to say about the Kingdom of God and our pursuit of Jesus. One of the primary points Jesus intends to make is that belief in Him will result in good works. To be clear these good works do not save us (Ephesians 2) but they are to be a result of, or a fruit of, genuine faith (James 2). The third servant simply wasted what was entrusted to him. If we say we believe in Jesus but do not have any evidence of fruit in our lives we too are in danger of what befell the third servant.
But I also think there are many other Christians who are genuinely seeking to follow Jesus and are living the life of the first two servants. However, their mindset is similar to that of the third. Remember how the third servant viewed the master as cruel, harsh, and capricious? I believe there are many Christians who are following Jesus with this mindset as well. They are seeking to make the most of the talents entrusted to them. But they follow and serve Jesus with an improper fear of God. They view Him as an angry and harsh taskmaster instead of a loving and gracious Father. As a result their service can degenerate into an obligation instead of a joy.
And so, as we read through this parable. It causes us to reflect upon our own life and ask ourselves some questions. Which servant are we in this parable? Does our life bear fruit? What is our mindset in our serving of God? Do we have a correct understanding of the nature and character of God?
And finally, the more obvious question, how are we using the talents with which we have been entrusted? No, we are not super heroes. But we have been entrusted with so much. You can never have the mindset of “oh, I am nothing special, I’m just…” No! Scripture is clear that we are sons and daughters of God if we profess Jesus as our Savior and are following Him. We have each been entrusted with so much in this life. We have been entrusted with time, with spiritual gifts, with financial resources, and with an opportunity and freedom to study and teach God’s Word.
So, how are you using these talents?