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(Part 108)


November 16, 2014
Today’s gospel: Matthew 25:14-30

“It will be as when a man who was going on a journey called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them.” (v.14). That is exactly what Jesus has done in relation to us. His most prized possession is salvation, won by him on the cross. Such salvation restored us to the Father, and is the key to entry into eternal life. Now Jesus has gone back to heaven, and has been away on a very long journey, but will be back. While he is away, the work continues, and so he called his disciples before he ascended to heaven and issued to them the Great Commission, to proclaim the gospel throughout the earth. Jesus entrusted them with the gift of salvation. That is our task as well.

Now we are all called, but we are equipped differently. Some are given five talents, others two, still others one (v.15). What is expected of all is the same--to use our talents to further the interests of God.

When Jesus returns, there will be a reckoning. “After a long time the master of those servants came back and settled accounts with them.” (v.19). What will Jesus be looking for? It will be fruit according to one’s given abilities. To those who use their God-given talents to make a profit for the Kingdom, Jesus will commend them. “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” (v.21a). Jesus will express his joy and invite them to the banquet of the Kingdom. “Come, share your master’s joy.” (v.21c).

The other thing that Jesus does for his faithful servants seems to be something that happens in the here and now, and not at the end of time. “Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities.” (v.21b). Jesus starts us off with small tasks, then, as we are faithful, entrusts more and more to us. This happens to individuals as well as to communities. For this to happen is a great privilege. This is not to be seen as being further burdened. Though indeed the work becomes harder and more challenging, the burden continues to be light (as we are yoked with Christ), and is a joyful burden.

The third servant however did not make use of his given talent. A reason he gave is that he was afraid, because his master was a demanding person (v.25a,24b). When we are faced with the demands of the Kingdom and of mission, do we become afraid? To the point of inaction? Or worse, to the point of turning away from our commission? Perhaps we are afraid to fail? But what is required of us is just fidelity; the fruit is up to God.

Well, God calls everyone, and God equips everyone. If we turn away from our call, then we will be punished. Why? Because God entrusts His divine work to us, and equips us, but we do nothing about it. We turn our back on Him. We might become the cause of someone not receiving the salvation God intended for him through our efforts. We must realize how serious our call is.

So when we do not use our talent for the Kingdom, we are not only lazy, but God considers us evil! “You wicked, lazy servant!” (v.26a). Why? Because if we do not gather, we scatter. If we are not for God, then we are against God. There is no place for the fence-sitter. You are either one of the other. The consequences are severe. Our talent is taken away (v.28), and we will be thrown out into the darkness (v.30). Why? Because we are a useless servant (v.30a).

The faithful one, on the other hand, receives even more (v.28).

It is our choice. Be thrown “into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth,” (v.30), or share the Master’s joy in heaven. That should not even be a choice at all.

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