Again, the Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. He called together his servants and entrusted his money to them while he was gone. He gave five bags of silver to one, two bags of silver to another, and one bag of silver to the last—dividing it in proportion to their abilities. He then left on his trip. The servant who received the five bags of silver began to invest the money and earned five more. The servant with two bags of silver also went to work and earned two more. But the servant who received the one bag of silver dug a hole in the ground and hid the master’s money. “After a long time their master returned from his trip and called them to give an account of how they had used his money.
“The servant to whom he had entrusted the five bags of silver came forward with five more and said, ‘Master, you gave me five bags of silver to invest, and I have earned five more.’ “The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’ The servant who had received the two bags of silver came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two bags of silver to invest, and I have earned two more.’ “The master said, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’
“Then the servant with the one bag of silver came and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.’ But the master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy servant! If you knew I harvested crops I didn’t plant and gathered crops I didn’t cultivate, why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.’ “Then he ordered, ‘Take the money from this servant, and give it to the one with the ten bags of silver. To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away. Now throw this useless servant into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ – Matthew 25:14-30 (NLT)
The last in the series of four straight parables that deal with being prepared for Jesus’ return is about being wise and faithful with the gifts God has given to us. Two in this parable are commended for using their bags of silver – also called a talent (a quantity of money that equals roughly $600,000) in other translations. The two put their gift to work and they earn a return on their investment. The idea is very similar to Jesus saying his followers will bear 30, 60, 100 times the fruit sowed into them (Matthew 13:8). Followers of Jesus will show a bounty. The third person squanders his opportunity to use his gifts for good. The servant is lazy and keeps his gift to himself so that he won’t get into trouble. This person is condemned. Jesus’ warning here is stark. We all need to examine ourselves by asking probing questions to keep ourselves in line with what our master expects us to be doing.
Are you using your resources, talents, time, etc., to bring a harvest to God’s kingdom? Are you using what God has gifted you with to make God more famous? Also, thank God for the gifts you have in your life.