Our passage for today is Matthew 25:14-30 and the topic we will be looking at is Gospel Stewardship.
Everything we have and everything we see around belongs to God – Our time, treasures, talents, things & places. In 1 Cor 4:7, Paul writes “Whatever we have, we have received from God” – Beginning with our lives and everything in it.
We are merely Stewards of what actually belongs to God.
Biblical stewardship isn’t just about being good managers of our schedules, our skills, and our stuff, but it calls us to use all these things in the way the Lord wants, for His glory.
Here in this chapter, Jesus is telling a series of parables to his followers explaining about the kingdom the God. In the parable right before our passage, he tells the story of the five foolish virgins who were unprepared in receive the bridegroom and missed the chance to go with him.
In verse 13, Jesus says, “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”
Jesus is not merely saying stories to entertain the disciples. He is sharing some life-impacting truths through these parables. He is talking about the Kingdom of God, he is revealing the heart of the Father and his expectation from his children.
In the parable, Jesus is telling us that God is like this man who called his servants and entrusted them with his property. He then gave talents to each one of them according to their abilities, watch them steward those talents and rewarded them accordingly.
Here are a couple of things we learn from this parable.
God has gracefully given to us.
To Jesus’s original hearers, a talent meant a very large unit of monetary value. People whose net worth equalled a talent were very well off. Scholars say that one talent in today’s world would be worth crores of rupees.
In reality, no servant’s stewardship was insignificant. Each received something of great value.
But this parable is not really about stewarding money. It is about stewarding our time, talents, treasures, abilities – everything we have and possess, God entrusts to us.
No one in this room can say God did not give them anything.
If you say so then, consider these words of Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 4:7
“What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?” (1 Corinthians 4:7).
The master wasn’t obligated to give the servants anything. Each servant received his talents by the grace of the master.
Remember, God had graciously given to each one of us sitting here according to our capabilities. To some, artistic abilities, writing abilities, cooking skills, serving skills, talking skills, musical abilities, counselling abilities, dancing abilities, parenting abilities, etc.
And as we faithfully steward whatever is given to us, more will be provided, as it was given to the servants who brought back double portion.
He expects us to put in hard work.
When the third servant brought back the one talent as it was and gave it back to the Master, the Master answered and said ‘You wicked & slothful servant’.
God hates a lazy person, it makes him angry to see a man lazy. There is no reward for the one who is lazy. Proverbs 12:24 – The hand of the diligent will rule, while the slothful will be put to forced labour.
The other two servants took the talents, worked hard and brought back double the portion, and the master applauded them and gave them more.
God expects us to put in hard work to grow our artistic abilities, counselling abilities, cooking abilities, talking skills etc.
He expects us to seek and apply wisdom.
When the lazy servant came with nothing, the master says “couldn’t you at least be wise to invest the money with the bankers, and at least brought back the interest”
Proverbs 9:6 says “Leave your simple ways, and live, and walk in the way of insight.”
The two faithful servants applied wisdom to double their money and brought back returns to their master, and he was pleased.
God expects us to seek and apply wisdom as we steward the talents he’s given to us.
“Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them. Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you.”
The wisdom that comes from heaven – a pure; peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. – James 3:17
He will hold us accountable.
Finally, God has not given us the talents for our own self-gratification. But someday he will hold us accountable for how we’ve stewarded the time, talents & treasures he has given us.
“everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more” (Luke 12:48). जिसे बहुत दिया गया है, उस से बहुत मांगा जाएगा, और जिसे बहुत सौंपा गया है, उस से बहुत मांगेंगें॥
This parable is meant to strike the appropriate fear of God in us and force us to ask what we are doing with the gracious gifts that has been given to us.
We cannot run away from God.
Brothers & sisters, in reality, we are the lazy and foolish servant in the parable. Even though we know that God is just and holy, who can reap without sowing and gather without scattering the seed. We, in our flesh, chose to rebel against him, we chose to remain slothful, and we chose to remain foolish. We are the sinful ones.
If anyone here says, no I’m not like that foolish servant, I work hard, I apply wisdom to everything I do. I would ask you, as you do these things, are you always doing it for the right reasons – seeking God’s glory above everything.
1 John 1:8 says “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.”
Brothers & sister, we cannot be a biblical steward if we haven’t really understood the Gospel — the story of what God has accomplished through the life and death of Jesus Christ.
Yes, we are supposed to work hard
Yes, we are supposed to apply wisdom in everything we do
Yes, we are supposed to be accountable to God
But not without the inspiration of the Gospel, of what Christ has accomplished for us.
When we received the saving grace of Jesus, the Gospel changes not only a person’s destination in eternity but also his heart and mind here and now. The Gospel transforms more than a person’s relationship with God; it also transforms a person’s relationship to everything else.
That’s why, when someone says he’s become a believer, the most reliable evidence that a person has been converted is that he begins looking for ways to use his time, talent, and treasure in service to the Gospel.
Only Gospel-inspired stewardship is the true stewardship.
By the Gospel & for the Gospel
When a person eagerly begins to use his resources to serve and spread the Gospel, it testifies to the value he places upon the Gospel and to the fact that he treasures the God of the Gospel above all.
Let me give you a couple of examples, and then I’ll finish.
For example, the way I treasure and steward my marriage will tell you how much my life is impacted by the Gospel, how much I’ve understood the Love and affection of Christ for His bride.
If I’m stewarding my marriage in an unhealthy manner, where I’m failing to exercise love and forgiveness towards my wife than it is evident that I’ve really not understood the Gospel, especially the love and forgiveness of Christ.
Similarly, Art & Music are good endeavours, but unless it is inspired by the Gospel, with a deeper understanding of God love and his power displayed through his son Jesus, and with the motive to glorify the giver of gifts, it can turn into a breeding ground for pride, depression & brokenness.
This morning as you leave this room, I don’t want us to go thinking, I’m now going to work hard, apply wisdom and do something for Jesus. No, I want you to leave the room saying I’m going to fall deeper in love with Jesus, draw inspiration from Jesus, from his expressions of love, forgiveness and grace.
May it be that our hard work and application of wisdom be the outcome of the impact of the Gospel, only then we will be able to fully and faithfully steward our time, talents and treasures given to us in a manner that it glorifies God, just like the two faithful servants in the parable.