As a child I always thought the parable in Matthew 25: 13-24 were about talents in the context of skills and not necessarily money, but as I studied this passage again, I realized the context were money. Do you know in that time, one talent was equal to 36kg of silver, translated to today’s marketplace, it was almost equivalent to 200 years of wages for the average worker. That was a LOT of money. Imagine you got enough money for 200 years, will you work harder, or will you go on a permanent holiday?
When we read this passage, we see that the owner/boss divided his property between three of his slaves/workers. One of them received five talents, one received two talents and the third one received one talent. Each of us has probably struggled with a feeling that is does not sound very fair. But if you realize that one talent was equivalent to 200 year’s of wages, fairness should not be a concept in this discussion.
Let us look at this example in the modern world.
According to Bloomberg, the following is the top 10 richest people in the world for 2017
Now, here you can see that Bill Gates has double that of David Koch – oh how unfair!! Compare all of these to the richest person in South Africa, Nicky Oppenheimer, R7 billion, we must feel Nicky got the short end of the deal. You can see that this argument does not hold.
When you have so much money, you still have a lot even if someone has ten times more than you.
In the same way we should look at this parable. One talent was a lot of money and there was nothing unfair to that servant that did not get as much as all the others.
The owner goes away and the slaves must do something with this money. The two who received five and two talents were able to double their portions. The one who received one talent went and hid it away. I sometimes wonder about that. Is it like me hiding my pensions fund away somewhere? I would not like to judge this one slave too severely, maybe I will do the same if I receive such an amount of money, I will go and put it away for my old age one day. 🙂
But the one who received only one talent had a lot of excuses, some lame excuses. Let us look at verse 24:
Then he which had received the one talent came and said,
Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man,
reaping where thou hast not sown,
and gathering where thou hast not strawed
This slave took no accountability to what was given to him. He did not even mention what he TRIED to do. If you have to follow his argument, the one who received five talents should have been even more scared of the owner as he could have lost even more. Sometimes I have to look at my own life and look at the excuses I make in different areas. Oh, it is too difficult. I was not born in the right circumstances. The people around me did not believe in me. And so I go on and on. Be aware of the excuses you make in life, take accountability for what has been given to you.
It is interesting to see that the ‘reward’ for the slave with five and the slave with two talents were exactly the same, no discrimination was made.
His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.
It was funny to me to realize the master said he were faithful with A FEW THINGS. Five times 200 year’s of wages are 1000 year’s of wages, that is not little. Again we realize that God has another measuring tool. What looks like a lot for us is a little for him. We compare ourselves to each other, but how ridiculous are we when we realize what we compare ourselves with are little in God’s eyes, He can barely see no difference. It is like a father who has R1m available for his children, but they argue about 1cent vs 5 cents. It is as if we compare our Hotwheels cars to see who has the best. In God’s kingdom he can easily double what you have and then it is still very little to him.
The same way we should look at our attitude and our giftings, our other talents. Each of us has received a certain amount of talents. What are you doing with what you received? Do you look for excuses? “It is not THAT great, it cannot make SUCH a big impact, what if I make a mistake and others laugh at me?” With all the people I am coaching, I realized that it is easy for people to make a list of the 20 things they are struggling with, the things they are not that good at, but struggle to list 5 things they excell in. You CAN grow in your giftings, you can learn how to double it. Get excellent in the ones you do have.
Don’t compare your giftings to someone else’s. Don’t feel bad about the ‘little’ you think you received. Let us see what Jesus said about the women who had little, but still gave it freely.
Mark 12: 41-44
As Jesus was sitting opposite the treasury, He watched the crowd placing money into it. And many rich people put in large amounts. Then one poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amounted to a small fraction of a denarius. Jesus called His disciples to Him and said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more than all the others into the treasury. For they all contributed out of their surplus, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.”
Jesus sat in the temple and watched how the rich and poor, young and old bring their tithes. It seems like the disciples and all the others around him saw how people openly brought money. I can imagine how people would have softly exclaimed when someone put in a lot of money (or gold). Looking at the previous parable of the talents, Jesus was probably not impressed, the large amounts of gold must have seemed to him like very little. But the widow caught his attention, her very little impressed him. It must have felt very humiliating to her, everyone could see how much she had and how much she put in. But what did Jesus say:
…… this widow, ……, put in more than all those contributing to the treasury.
If you use your one gifting, the little that you have compared to others, for the kingdom of God, God sees it as better than all the giftings of other people combined. He see your effort, your attitude. He is the one who will judge, not mankind.
Things that seems big for us, is small for God, but what looks small in our eyes are big in God’s eyes. At the end it boils down to our hearts, our attitudes, our motivation.
The last thought I want to leave with you, is from
And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;
May the Lord Bless you and keep you.