Living in North Alabama, we live right smack dab in the “Bible belt.” This is very obvious when you visit our church. At first we didn’t know what to think. Our pastor likes to yell…and on occasion we really do think smoke may come out of his ears. But, we have grown to love, love, love him. He has such a passion for the Word and for serving and loving the Lord’s people. He also never backs down. We may not line up 100% with his theology, but we admire and respect the fact that when he feels led to preach something, he could care less how loud he becomes or who gets offended.
This all leads me to say, our pastor has been preaching through the book of Matthew. He preached on Matthew 25:14-30 this past Sunday. In this parable, Jesus spoke about a master who gave his talents to his slaves. He gave the first slave 5 talents, the next he gave 2 and to the last he gave 1. The first 2 slaves took their talents and got to work and because of their diligence, they doubled their worth. When they presented their master with the talents, he was very pleased and knew he could entrust them with many things. Because the 3rd servant was fearful, he took his talent and buried it. When the master returned, the servant gave the master his talent and explained why he buried it. His master was extremely disappointment and the slave was sent away.
I have read this parable and studied it many times, but on Sunday it spoke to me tremendously.
I believe there are several things we can learn from this parable. First, we all start with different talents. Different types of talents and different amounts of talents. The amount or type is irrelevant. The master was equally grateful and pleased with the servant who started with 2 talents as he was to the servant that had 5 – they both did all they could with what they had been given and reaped great interest. I love how the master praised these servants. He could have praised them for being effective or profitable, but the praise was given not for the results, but for their faith.
Now, the 3rd servant had a talent. He allowed his fear to overcome that talent. Something our pastor pulled out of this was that this servant didn’t do anything wrong, he just didn’t do anything right. Meaning, he choose to do nothing at all with what he had been given. This is where it is really great to have a pastor who does not care about stepping on people toes…he explained that throughout our church and Christian churches all over, we have a lot of #3 servants. Lazy, fearful, slothful (<-his word :) servants. Seems like an oxymoron right? He encouraged us all to look at our lives and determine which servant we were. We may be the first or second or a mix between the second and third. He said, “you know, in the end I don’t care what you do…but the Lord does.”
When reading this parable I also wondered what the master would’ve said had the third servant invested and lost his talent? I don’t think he would’ve been disappointed? But then I thought, “is it possible to lose anyway? Could he have lost it?” I feel like even when we invest and feel a loss, there is always fruit at the end of the vine, right? There are still days when I mourn over losing Jimmy, wondering if there was anything else I could’ve done…but, God used Jimmy’s time here. He changed us and He taught us and I know we meant something to Jimmy too. Even though the fruit wasn’t obvious, I know it was there…even if little.
Does this make any sense? Do you have any insight? Oh how I pray we can all be the first and second servant. I pray that we as Christians would stop being so selfish. I pray we would stop sitting on our talents and share them. Pray this for my life! Join me in praying this for others!