2017-11-12 – Matthew 25.14-30 – Trust Worthy 521

2017-11-12 – Matthew 25.14-30 – Trust Worthy 521

14 “For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; 15 to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents. 17 In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. 18 But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. 20 Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ 22 And the one with the two talents also came forward, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me two talents; see, I have made two more talents.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter 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 replied, ‘You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents. 29 For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 30 As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

2017-11-12 – Matthew 25.14-30 – Trust Worthy 521

Good morning everyone. It is so nice to be able to spend some time with you all in fellowship with the Lord. Thank you and God bless you for being with us today.

 

We are almost completed with all the parables of Jesus. I hope you have enjoyed these as much as I have. These teaching messages are so valuable to our Christian Born-Again lifestyles that Jesus took the time out of everything that was going on to deliver them to us. This was part of His mission, and to that I say Thank You Lord and we praise Your Holy Name.

Today’s message is entitled Trust-Worthy 521 and you should see the significance of that title as we go through this passage. Please turn in your Bibles to Matthew 25:14 in the Inspired, Infallible and Living Word of God.
But first let us Pray… 

You might recall in the last parable we shared was of the ten virgins, five with oil and five without oil in their lamps while they were waiting for the Bridegroom to come, in which he did. However the five without oil were not prepared to go to the wedding. The message conveyed that the time was drawing near when Jesus, like the bridegroom, would be coming back and therefore we should always be ready. Today’s parable also has a master that goes away for a while, but then comes back; similar to the last message but in a different context and with a different lesson and great wisdom for us to acquire.

The Gospels of Matthew and Luke both tell the story of a wealthy man who was preparing for an extended absence, and who gave his servants large sums of money to manage on his behalf. The context of this parable In Luke’s Gospel is shortly before Jesus is to be crucified. He had just dined with a chief tax collector, Zacchaeus. Tax collectors were considered to be both sinners and traitors to the Israel people. However during the meal, Zacchaeus announced that he was going to return the money he had wrongfully taken when collecting taxes. Upon hearing this, Jesus told this parable.

In Matthews Gospel message, Jesus just got done telling the previous parable about the Ten Virgins and was teaching them and us that we should always be prepared for His return. Then starting at verse 14 here of Matthew 25, Jesus said:

14 “For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; 15 to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 

The title of this message today is Trust Worthy 521, I chose that title because I wanted to make an easy way to remember some of the small details of this passage. Five talents, two talents and one talent.. The numbers are not significant in themselves, but it is good to know your Bible as it is God’s Word and worthy of remembering. Anyway, I have a graphic that kind of conveys the different currencies that are mentioned in the Bible.  In Luke’s parable, he refers to currency called Minas. Whereas in Matthew’s parable we are dealing with Talents. As you can see on this chart, there is a big difference between Minas and Talents.  [Elaborate]

16 The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents. 17 In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. 18 But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

Scripture doesn’t say much about these characters, other than they were slaves or servants. The man was a wealthy individual and he trusted his servants.

The Luke version refers to him being a Nobleman or a king. It also doesn’t say how long the man was gone exactly, other than it was a long time as we will see in the next verse. He must have trusted them enough though to leave them with a portion of his wealth, and he expected that they would invest it wisely. The first two must have been considered wise enough to invest it well but the third buried it in the ground. These days many investments are not doing so great, and unless you have it in the market, you might as well stick your money in the ground for safe keeping. In this economy, you can’t earn much interest at all by putting it in a simple savings account or CD’s. I remember stories of old where people hid their money in their bed or actually buried it someplace for safe keeping. That was before the protection mechanisms were put in place and the banks were not backed by the federal government. Ever watch that movie It’s a Wonderful Life with Jimmy Stewart?  That movie shows the hazards of our banking system back then. Banks were failing and people were scared. I would imagine that the investment mechanisms of Jesus’s day were not federally insured or protected. So it was a risk to invest I am sure. Risk vs. opportunity for gain is always a deliberation, even today, and I am sure even more so back then. But the man expected the servants to invest wisely, not to stick it in a hole in the ground.
So let us see what happened next, starting in verse 19.

19 After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. 20 Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ 22 And the one with the two talents also came forward, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me two talents; see, I have made two more talents.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ 

So the first two servants invested the master’s wealth wisely. When the master returned, he was well pleased. They invested his money and they gained additional wealth for the master and he subsequently rewarded them as he found them trustworthy. In our NRSV Bible version the word used by the master here is Trustworthy, however many other bible translations use the word Faithful instead. “Well done, good and faithful servant!”. Those are words I hope to hear some day up in heaven, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”. But I also know that the only real “Good”, in me comes through what Jesus did for me. He is the true, Good and faithful servant. And just like the master here in this parable, Jesus chose to invest in me, and therefore I invest for Him. These trustworthy servants took what the master provided and they were profitable. In this case, the servants doubled their master’s investment. How would you feel if your investments doubled in value?  I know I would be very pleased, of course. The master told them in response, enter into your master’s joy. I really couldn’t imagine what that might have meant for a servant.. Maybe some restrictions lifted. Maybe a little more comfort..  But I would argue, as we will go over later, there is eternal joy that this parable is representing..

Then Jesus said in verse 24:

24 Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter 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 replied, ‘You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents. 

The master was furious. His initial money was safe, but he lost all profit that could have been gained. I find it interesting that the master didn’t initially distribute the money evenly. The other two he gave much more, maybe perhaps he knew the risk that was involved in giving any money to this last slave; and he was right. The slave obviously didn’t know the master well enough, otherwise he wouldn’t have done this. The master expected to get a profit. He expected the servant to be shrewd and wise with what he was given to manage. Interesting that the manager asked “You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter?” Meaning that the manager was shrewd himself and he looked for opportunities to gain any way he could. I can identify with this manager. Sometimes I have been accused of being too thrifty and too opportunistic in my manners. My family knows this and I am sure it frustrates them at times. These servants knew that, or they should have known, but this last servant did not do the will of the master and he is going to pay for it. Look what the master ordered in regards to the last servants punishment. He had his talents taken and given to the one that was the most successful. Now that might seem a bit unfair you might think. But that is the way it should go. I wouldn’t give any more money to a bad financial manager. What’s that old saying, fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.  Then Jesus gives us the final lesson for this parable. How those that were listening that day, and how we should apply this parable to our lives. In verse 29 He says:

29 For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 30 As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

So even though this parable and the one in Luke refer to different people and even different currencies, in the end it doesn’t matter, the takeaways are relatively the same. Jesus is trying to teach a couple key principles.

First, Like the master and king, Jesus has gone away for a little while and will be coming back. While He is away, He has given each of us a portion for us to care-take until the day He comes back. Just like the parable of the ten virgins, we have the option to ignore His words and will and even bury it in the dirt if we so choose. What He offers us is most valuable and if we accept His valuable mission, then we should be investing it and we should be looking to increase His kingdom. For those that are His, He desires for us to not squander what He has given us. It may be talents and resources, but I would suggest it is something even more valuable; freedom, love, compassion, contentment just to name a few. But even more so an understanding of an eternity in Heaven with Him. That is the Gospel ladies and gentlemen, don’t squander that dear Christian. And God has given each of you special gifts and abilities to further the church. We are stewards of the life God has given us. He has lovingly and graciously given us salvation through His Son Jesus who laid down His life for us all. Jesus, our King, will one day return to judge whether we have done what He has told us to do. May we each live our lives in a manner which reflects that of the faithful servants who obeyed their king’s instructions. And may we each hear the words, “Well done, good servant!”

Second, we have been blessed with so much. I have traveled around the world several times and I know what squalor looks like and it isn’t this. This story today was all about how a few handled the money of the rich ruler or king. Everything we have is given to us by God, and we need to start showing that we believe that.

You might be asking how? Well I will give you a few examples of what you could start doing now in honor of a Savior that loves you so. In regards to money, we should start living like we truly believe it comes from God. And our Bible has much to say about money because it is important to our lifestyles. The Bible makes 2,550 references to managing money and resources. There is more written about money than heaven and hell together. Jesus knew that money is a big factor of who we are and how we live.

You might know that I have an MBA and I have also taught financial management Crown Financial Ministries and Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace. Since this parable deals with personal finance, I thought it might be interesting and beneficial to share some financial advice that is in keeping with scripture.

So you might want to get out your notepads because what follows are some steps and advice that you might consider that could help strengthen you position in regards to managing money in a godly way. If you consider adopt these guidelines, you might find yourself to be in a much better position financially, and you might experience the joy, peace, contentment and even love in a more godly way as a result.  First I present to you a high level list. We can dig deeper in these personally if you wish.

  1. Transfer ownership of everything you have to God;
  2. Recognize clearly where you are now in regards to debt;
  3. Figure out where you are spending your money now;
  4. Develop a budget or a spending plan and set some long term goals;
  5. Get out and stay out of debt; “Do not be a slave to debt”.
  6. Establish a Tithe; Give to God your first fruits. He will guide you, trust Him;
  7. Establish and contribute to an Emergency savings account. Be Prepared;
  8. Avoid snap decisions; “The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage, But everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty”.
  9. Get some godly financial council. “The council of many advisers succeed”.
  10. Accept God’s provision and live within your means. “Contentment”

Finance is a Passion of mine. I am willing to help you through this if you trust me.

Regarding Debt: First avoid debt if you can. Recognize there is good debt and bad debt. And after you get that under control; take the money you were paying on the debt and start saving for the most important future needs.

Here are some principles for saving and investing:

  1. It is never too late to start, and always better to start earlier.
  2. Compounding interest is your friend: Einstein said “Compounding interest is the greatest mathematical discovery of all time, not E=mc2”
  3. Take full advantage of any employee matching funds “Free Money”
  4. As Gen Patton said “Know what you know and know what you don’t know”
  5. Diversify your savings; (Ecclesiastes 11:2) Divide your portion to seven, or even to eight, for you do not know what misfortune may occur on the earth”.
  6. Steady saving adds up; (Proverbs 21:5) “Steady plodding brings prosperity; hasty speculation brings poverty” .

[Solomon wrote] “The man who speculates is soon back to where he began—with nothing” (Ecclesiastes 5:13-15)

  1. If it sounds too good, it is.. Avoid Get Rich Schemes.

Danger signs are phrases like:

  • “practically guaranteed”
  • “Must Act Now”
  • Risks not mentioned.
  1. Diversify “The perfect investment does not exist” (Crown).
  2. ATT, ENRON.. and the list goes on.
  3. Economics Class… Teacher worked NYSE.. Buy! Sell!
  4. Invest in what you know (Proverbs 24:27). Stockbrokers would ask me about the Computer Industry. That’s what I knew about..
  5. Count all the costs. – E-Trade fees – Fines for pulling out early..
  6. Set a goal, Recognize when is enough, enough..

John D. Rockefeller was asked one time, “How much does it take to satisfy a man completely?” He said, Just a little bit more.

“Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction” (1 Timothy 6:9-11).

Inheritance: Proverbs 13:22 – A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children. But Proverbs 20:21 says An inheritance gained hurriedly at the beginning, will not be blessed in the end”.

Wills: Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die” 2 Kings 20:1).

Be sure to train your children and grandchildren the art of financial management. Schools just breeze over the area, they need to see it in practice.

Finally, when it comes to personal finance, keep it simple.. Minimize your estate, make it simple for those you left behind.. and if possible share with them even before you die. What fun it would be to spend precious time with those you love, seeing them enjoy some of the fruit of your labors..

Quote: Do your Givin’ while your livin’, then you’re knowin’ where it’s goin’.

In regards to charitable organizations and your church, consider things like designated offerings, scholarship funds, etc. Get creative and have fun, for Him.

In conclusion I will remind you ladies and gentlemen, The king is coming.. Just like the servants in today’s parable, all of us are trusted with God’s provision..
And Just like we sometimes have watched our own children or loved ones squander/waste or mismanage their precious gifts or show little or no gratitude for what has been given them.. Our father in heaven is watching us do the same..

Matthew 6:24 – You cannot serve both God and Money. Choose today for yourself to give up your agenda, take on Christ, and start living like He intended. I promise you will have no regrets and many joys in doing so. But Everything starts with a decision, to take that first step.. Will you trust God today?