Exodus 26:30-27:21; Matthew 25:14-30; Psalms 31:9-18; Proverbs 11:16-17
NT: “For it is just like a man about to go on a journey. He called his own servants and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents, to another two talents, and to another one talent, depending on each one’s ability. Then he went on a journey. Immediately the man who had received five talents went, put them to work, and earned five more. In the same way the man with two earned two more. But the man who had received one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground, and hid his master’s money. After a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. The man who had received five talents approached, presented five more talents, and said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents. See, I’ve earned five more talents.’ “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You were faithful over a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Share your master’s joy.’ The man with two talents also approached. He said, ‘Master, you gave me two talents. See, I’ve earned two more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You were faithful over a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Share your master’s joy.’ The man who had received one talent also approached and said, ‘Master, I know you. You’re a harsh man, reaping where you haven’t sown and gathering where you haven’t scattered seed. So I was afraid and went off and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’ His master replied to him, ‘You evil, lazy servant! If you knew that I reap where I haven’t sown and gather where I haven’t scattered, then you should have deposited my money with the bankers, and I would have received my money back with interest when I returned. ‘So take the talent from him and give it to the one who has ten talents. For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have more than enough. But from the one who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. And throw this good-for-nothing servant into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’” (Matthew 25:14-30 CSB)
As I am reading smaller portions of the Bible this year and reading these warnings given by Jesus about the end of the age, I am struck with how important it was to Him that His disciples remain vigilant, obedient, faithful, and fruitful until the end of the age. Here Jesus tells a parable of 3 servants. First of all, it is important to note that not every servant was given the same responsibility. Jesus said that each servant was given a responsibility equal to his ability. He didn’t give the under-qualified servant too much, and he didn’t give the highly-qualified servant too little. Each was given what they were capable of managing, so no one had an excuse to “under perform.” Also, a talent was not a meager amount of money – it was equivalent to about 20 years’ wages. So the 1 talent would have been enough money to earn a significant amount of interest. The point that Jesus is making is this: until the Lord our master returns, be faithful to do the Lord’s work, using all the opportunity He gives you to be fruitful and expand the kingdom. He won’t over burden you nor will he under burden you, but He does expect you to labor with Him and on His behalf. While the one-talent-servant didn’t intend to do wrong, he ended up committing sin through his fear and/or laziness. He was well-able to manage the one talent and see a return, he just chose to do nothing with it. Lord, help me to see every opportunity you give me to be fruitful, and grace me to not take those opportunities because of fear or laziness or lack of desire.
Psalms: “Be gracious to me, Lord, because I am in distress; my eyes are worn out from frustration — my whole being as well. Indeed, my life is consumed with grief and my years with groaning; my strength has failed because of my iniquity, and my bones waste away… But I trust in you, Lord; I say, “You are my God.” The course of my life is in your power; rescue me from the power of my enemies and from my persecutors. Make your face shine on your servant; save me by your faithful love.” (Psalms 31:9-10, 14-16 CSB)
Psalm 31 is a great example of how to strengthen yourself in the Lord as you face challenges, setbacks, frustrations, etc. David doesn’t approach his issues with positivity. He approaches them with faith. There is a big difference between positivity and faith. Positivity seeks to ignore the negative and pretend it doesn’t exist while manufacturing positive thoughts to “counteract” the negative. Faith, on the other hand, acknowledges the challenges, but realizes that there is One far greater than the challenges that we can come to for help. As you see in this excerpt, David is very honest about his feelings and frustrations and even admits that he failed in his own attempts and remedying his situation because of his own shortcomings. But he doesn’t end there. He says, “But I trust in You, Lord; I say that You are my God, and my life is in Your hands.” In the midst of the fearful and/or frustrating situations we honestly recognize the challenges, but also, in faith, acknowledge the great God that we serve and trust in Him. That brings peace in the midst of the storm.