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  • Glenn Rosenbaum

WHAT REALLY MATTERS IS KNOWING THE MASTER!

Matthew 25:14-30 14 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. 15 To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. 17 So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. 18 But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’ 21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ 22 “The man with the two talents also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.’ 23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ 24 “Then the man who had received the one talent came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’ 26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. 28 “ ‘Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. 29 For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

In the name of Jesus Christ, our Master and Savior, dear Christian friends,

“It is not what you know, it is whom you know.” That age-old axiom applies well to the person who got hired for that perfect position at work ahead of you because he is drinking buddies with the boss or to the one who got immediate reservations at the best restaurant in town because her relative runs the place. That axiom also applies well to this parable Jesus tells and what it means for us today. WHAT REALLY MATTERS IS KNOWING THE MASTER!

The characters in this parable are very easy to identify, generally speaking. The man going on a journeythe master— has to be God. He is the one who has all the property, who decides who gets what and who doles out the punishment or reward at the end. The three servants have to be us and all the other people of the world to whom the master entrusted his property, that is, a certain amount of talents (a term that refers to a generous sum of money), representing everything we have, including, but not limited to, your car, your house, your phone, your spouse and children, your kindness and compassion, and of course, your money and financial investments.

Now, which of these servants are you? Do you know the Master? Do you use the property entrusted to you properly?

The third servant in the parable— the man who had received the one talent— thought he knew the Master. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid…

Some people look to God this way. They see God as that big, burly behemoth who is capable of destroying whomever he wants, whomever angers him, whenever he wants, whenever he gets fed up with the wickedness of the world. We would have to call these people unbelievers because they do not know God’s characteristics of compassion, grace and mercy as he reveals them so clearly through his Son and in his Word. They do not trust God for salvation but are only terrified of him by their guilt over their unforgiven sins.

The other two servants are the ones who really knew the Master. We can assume they, too, knew of the Master’s just ways and his ability to inflict punishment as recourse for sin, but they also knew his kindness in the very fact that he entrusted his property to them.

If those first two servants are to represent us, and all other believers, then there is something else we can say about them. They must have known the Master’s deep love for them as we do.

We know the Master as the one who gave us the ultimate gift of his own Son. We know the Master rained down mercy on us and showered us with his forgiveness for all of our sins. We know he created us and cares for us. We know he provides for us and protects us.

From the little we are told about the first two servants, it is easy to infer that they knew that the Master entrusted his property to them to use in a way pleasing to him. They knew the Master was fair and honest and expected them to be the same. They knew the faithfulness of the Master and wanted to be the same.

Notice it is NOT the amount that made the difference between the servants. It is not suggested anywhere in this section of God’s Word that the third servant was ticked off because he was given only talent, that is, only one bag of gold. All three received great plenty.

Today we talk about proportionate giving. In regard to our financial offerings, we are to give to the Master, a sum that is proportionate to, that is, in keeping with our income. Those who make more will give more, those who make less will give less. But finally, everything— every first dollar and every last penny, every ounce of energy and every pound of flesh, every minute and every month— is to be used “for the glory of God” (1 Co 10:31).

If you’re not, there’s hell to pay. Now that is a super strong statement. Would God really send someone to hell for not using their possessions properly? What is taught in the parable? The third servant said, So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’ “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. “‘Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Seven times in the New Testament Jesus repeated that hell is a place of eternal darkness and weeping and gnashing of teeth reserved for those who do not know the Master by faith, who rebel and turn away from God. The wicked servant’s rebellion was not dealing opioids that people overdosed on, not addiction to porn or booze, not murder. His rebellion was doing nothing— not using God’s gifts for God’s glory. His rebellion was, in essence, “Leave me alone so I can do what I want!”

Any sin, even the sin of failing to use, in a God-pleasing way, our possessions— which are all God’s property—makes us guilty and deserving of rotting in the horrors of hell for eternity. The Lord is always serious about how we manage his money and so we need to be serious about it, too. A three-part stewardship series might seem too long, but ultimately, we need to remember and react to these truths every day.

Stewardship is a serious topic for all of us to consider. The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. How much of what God has given you have you buried in the ground of self-advancement or self-enjoyment rather than directing every gift you’ve been given toward the glory of God and the good of others?

There is much for us to fight against in order to win out over Satan and his temptations regarding our wealth. As we will talk about in our short Bible study yet this hour, we need to level legalism so we don’t think there is a certain amount we HAVE to give. We need to grind up greed so we don’t worry about what extras someone else might have that we don’t. We need to mangle materialism so we can accept God gives us what we need and not always what we want. We need to squash self-centeredness and realize how much good we can accomplish for others when we put our gifts to work.

In the vast array of gifts that God gives, he has distributed them in various kinds and in various amounts to all of you, because he knows just what you need to be able to serve him well. The only key that will ever turn over the engine and take you down the road of devoting yourself to serving him with those gifts is how much Jesus loves you.

In this all-encompassing arena of making faithful use of God’s gifts, what really matters is knowing the Master. He is faithful! He is just! He is forgiving! He looks for us to be the same. He wants to say to each of us, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’


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