Sunday school was interesting yesterday. Not that it isn’t usually, it was just different.
In Matthew 25:14-30, Jesus tells a parable about what the kingdom of Heaven is like, and talks about using resources. Before we get started, I have found that not everyone knows what a talent is. I thought it might be money, but it isn’t. It is a weight measurement of about 75 pounds. Yep. 75 pounds. But 75 pounds of what? These verses don’t say specifically, but it was likely silver. So the master gave each of these men from 4 to 16 (perhaps even 20) years’ worth of wages all at once!
Let me share what else I learned to think more about in this story: The master was very generous (v. 15). The master gave to each man according to his ability to handle it (v. 15). What the master gave these men was not theirs (v. 14). To gain something for the master, these men had to take risks with the resources (v. 16-17). The man who did nothing with his responsibility of resources excused himself with a bad view of his master, calling him harsh (v. 24-25). The master rewarded the faithfulness of his servants, not what they’d gained (v. 21, 23). None of the servants complained when the master gave the single talent to the one who had originally had ten (v 28-29). Then the part we typically gloss over: The man who did nothing with one talent was cast out (v. 30).
I think I should start with using resources that are not ours. We have nothing that we didn’t get from God Himself. The materials of our physical forms and our very souls are made by God. Everything we have actually belongs to Him. So when God lets us use His stuff, we’d better be responsible with it. And God doesn’t just give us money! He gives us all our resources: food, shelter, clothing, air and breath, work, the ability to do work, health, and many other abilities and skills!
We should also note that God gives us resources according to our ability. For example, most of us can’t rightly handle a lot of money. We say we would do so much for the Lord if we were rich, but would we really? Even if we did, what else would we really do with all that money? Some of us can handle certain resources, and some of us can’t. God knows what we can and can’t handle. Now God can change what He gives us, but only as we let Him grow us in our abilities. Still, we sometimes sit and compare what resources and abilities we each have. Sometimes we think we could do so much more for God if we just had something else or something more. But God has given is all that we need to work with right now. (See also Luke 16:10-13.)
Attached to God’s specific provision is the reward for faithfulness with what we have been given. You don’t have to have a lot, you just have to be faithful. As a matter of fact, being faithful with a little bit teaches you and even qualifies you to handle much bigger things (Matthew 14:21 & 23; Luke 16:10-13).