by Scott Stephens
Scott Stephens is the counseling pastor at West End Baptist Church’s West End Counseling Center, a board member of Redeemer Biblical Counseling Training Institute, and a PhD student in the Biblical Counseling Program at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. To find out more about our counseling center (WECC), please call the church at 864-232-7312.
For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away (Matthew 25:29).
One of the most well-known parables that Jesus shared was the Parable of the Talents. In Matthew we read the story about a wealthy man who, going on a journey, called his servants together to explain his plans and challenge them to be good stewards with his property. The property that he entrusted them with was a portion of his money. This was not a small sum of money. A talent was an exorbitant amount in those days! In the parable Jesus explains that the master gave one of the servants five talents, another two talents, and yet another, one talent. After the master left on his journey, two of the servants began using the money wisely, investing it so that it would return a profit for the master. The third servant, rather than using his master’s money wisely, buried the talent in the ground to keep it safe. After a while the master returned and asked each servant about their stewardship of his money.
Well, we know the outcome. The master was pleased with, and in-turn rewarded the two servants who proved to be good stewards of his property. Yet, he was “extremely displeased” with the one who buried the coin, calling him a “wicked and slothful servant.”
R.T. France writes in his commentary of Matthew that in this parable, Jesus is emphasizing the importance of being ready for the master’s return. What does it mean for us to be ready for the master’s return? France explains that while the master is away, we are to be “faithfully discharging the responsibilities of a disciple, whether they be small or great.” The master is the One who allocates the scale of the responsibility, and it is the servant’s responsibility to faithfully accomplish the role that is entrusted to him.
How is possible to know the role that is entrusted to us?
First, the foundation that we as faithful servants start from is the greatest commandment. We are to love God with all our heart, all our soul, and all our mind. The second greatest commandment is to love others to the extent that we love ourselves (Matthew 22:27-39).
Second, we know that all good gifts come from the Father (James 1:17). Every ability you have, i.e., your talents, intelligence, language skills, speaking abilities, just to name a few, are from God.
Third, no matter what gifts we have been given, as members of the body of Christ we are to use the gifts we have received, no matter how great or how small, for the benefit of others and for the glory of God. According to God’s Word, God has chosen how each one of us will serve in His kingdom, and we must be diligent and trustworthy in that service. We must be good stewards and faithful disciples as we await his return (1 Corinthians 12:12-30; 1 Peter 4:10).
I realize that all this can be a little overwhelming. Thank God that we’re not trying to do all this without help. Jesus knows our weaknesses and He has provided us with the help we need to overcome them. The Holy Spirit was sent to be the “Helper” that enables us to glorify God and faithfully perform our duties. The Holy Spirit guides us in “all truth” (John 14:16-17; 16:13). He is our source of wisdom, power, and strength.