Jesus was the best teacher that ever walked the face of the earth, but of all the stories this master storyteller told the parable of the talents stands out to me the most. For those of you that know the story everyone yearns to be five-bag guy. For some background information read Matthew 25:14-30. Being in the United States, one of the richest countries in the world, most people find themselves lacking financial margin. Now maybe you are thinking ok how does the story of the talents have anything to do with this, well let me explain. We have all been given a bag and in that bag we have been given time to live our lives. God handcrafted each of us with skills, qualities, characteristics and finances, the little green Ben Franklin that probably dictates our lives the most. This parable is a story of stewardship and this ethic embodies the responsible planning and management of the resources you’ve been given.
The Bible says in Mark 10:25 ‘It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.’ Now you like me blow that off because we don’t feel rich but if you own a car you are in the top 1% of richest people on the planet. Mind-blown? It gets worse. If you have a family income of at least fifty thousand again you are in the top 1% richest people on the planet. But most of us haven’t been wise stewards of the bags that God gave us. We always default to think that the bag was given for us to use for our needs but this mindset comes from one who puts their own purpose before Gods. A God centered, God driven life is one of selflessness, one of charity and generosity. It isn’t just the millionaire’s job and the big businesses responsibility to give to the poor. We will all be held accountable. Matthew accounts for this as he writes in Matthew 25:31-46:
When He finally arrives, blazing in beauty and all His angels with Him, the Son of Man will take His place on His glorious throne. Then all the nations will be arranged before Him and He will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats, putting sheep to His right and goats to His left.
“Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:
I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.’
“Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’
“Then He will turn to the ‘goats,’ the ones on His left, and say, ‘Get out, worthless goats! You’re good for nothing but the fires of hell. And why? Because—
I was hungry and you gave me no meal,
I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
I was homeless and you gave me no bed,
I was shivering and you gave me no clothes,
Sick and in prison, and you never visited.’
“Then those ‘goats’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or homeless or shivering or sick or in prison and didn’t help?’ “He will answer them, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me—you failed to do it to me.’ “Then those ‘goats’ will be herded to their eternal doom, but the ‘sheep’ to their eternal reward.”
Now I’m not trying to go old school and preach fire and brimstone. That statement though pricks my heart, too often I find myself in a position of asking God for more. God give me more this, give me more that, give me that promotion at work, give me that winning lottery ticket. Why would God give you more when you haven’t been a good steward with the income, skills, and talents He has provided you with already? See too often the tithe in church gets this bad juju, pastors have abused it, church’s have hoarded it and it makes us think why should I? The truth though is God needs your heart and he can’t have your heart if we don’t submit that green piece of paper to his will. This isn’t about the money hoarding church, the financially abusive pastor, this is a act that says God I put you first in my life, here is what controls my life and I don’t want it to have my heart. We will all be held accountable for what we are given and what we give. Now I am not saying God wants you to give everything to the poor and become a missionary to Kenya. What I am saying is you have a responsibility to take what has been given you and take care of your needs, not wants, then turn around and care for those who need help. God isn’t going to look at you on that last day and say, “Compared to your peers you gave more.” No, God is going to say with the bag that I gave YOU what did you do with it? How did YOU use it? We are accountable for every last penny we spend, for all the time we waste, and for not acting when an opportunity arises.
“Opportunities are multiplied as they are seized.” – Sun Tzu
Today begins the day that you can begin to seize the opportunities to be the church. To be a disciple of this movement Jesus started on a cross two thousand years ago. Be generous. Your life at the end of its day will be measured by how much of it was given away. Give your time, give your money, don’t wait for the day you have more. You will never have enough, you never do. So trust that God has your back and give His money to those that need it. I would like to take a moment to pray for you:
God we live in a selfie generation. Everything is about us and we invest so much into creating a bigger and better life for ourselves that we push the vision you have for our lives aside. God break our hearts for what breaks yours. Open our eyes to the needs of our community, the needs of our world. Begin to transform our lives form the inside out. Help us to use our gifts, talents, skills, and finances to further your kingdom. We are only stewards of what you have given us. Without you we have nothing, if we’ve gained everything in this world but forgot to love those that you loved, our lives are empty. Today God we hand our lives into your hands, to have your will, to do your purpose. Amen.
Published by: Andrew Garcia