Matthew 25:14-30 (ESV)

14 “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. 15 To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

Jesus taught a parable illustrating our need to be faithful with what we have. A man, a wealthy landowner, was called to leave the country, but before he left, he gave each of his servants a considerable amount of money. He wanted to make sure his money was making more money, even while he was gone. The amounts he gave to each were different, but all received a sizeable sum. He trusted them to work hard on his behalf. Two of those three servants chose to do what they were charged to do and used the money they were given to make even more. When the man returned and found they had done the right thing, they were thanked and richly rewarded. The third servant was different. He didn’t work to make more money for the master. He reasoned that if he buried the money and the master returned, he could just give the money back. Why should he go to all that hassle for someone else? Plus, if the master didn’t return at all, the servant could have just kept the money. No one would even know he had it. When the man returned and found the servant had done nothing with what was entrusted to him, he was angry and took away what that servant had. The servant’s excuse was “I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed.” Basically, he complained that his boss expected too much from him. The third man was considered wicked, lazy, and worthless, and so was sentenced to judgment (v. 26, 30).

One day Jesus will “settle accounts” with us too (v. 19). What “talents” has God given you? Have you been faithful to use them to build his kingdom? Are you sharing your talents with the church, or burying them for yourself? Do you feel like you don’t want to work for God’s kingdom while he is gone, or think he won’t really care when he comes back anyway? If so, stop thinking like that! If you are a Christian, you have been given resources you are expected to use for God’s glory. Don’t let laziness or selfishness drag you down to the place of the third servant. Use whatever God has given you to be faithful to him today, trusting that he will reward you greatly when he comes back.