A Wasted Life

Friday, August 15, 2014, 7:17 a.m. – the Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Only In Him.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Matthew 25:14-30 (NASB).

The Parable

“For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey. Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents. In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more. But he who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

“Now after a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you entrusted five talents to me. See, I have gained five more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’

“Also the one who had received the two talents came up and said, ‘Master, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’

“And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed. And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’

“But his master answered and said to him, ‘You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed. Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest. Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’

“For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

The Talents

A talent, in this context, is a reference to a particular weight of silver or gold used as the basis of monetary exchange (See: http://biblehub.com/greek/5007.htm). Literally it means “the scale of a balance; a balance (as supporting weights); that which is weighed.” It was taken to be a sum of money or something of value that was used for monetary exchange.

Reading this definition brought to mind the passage of scripture in Daniel 5. King Belshazzar of Babylon had a great feast. He invited many guests. He gave orders to bring in the gold and silver vessels which his father King Neb (the king of Babylon) had taken from the temple, which was in Jerusalem. He and his guests drank wine from them and praised the gods of silver, bronze, iron, wood and stone. What an abomination!

“Suddenly the fingers of a man’s hand emerged and began writing opposite the lampstand on the plaster of the wall of the king’s place.” The king saw this taking place and he was frightened. Daniel was called in to interpret the writing. The interpretation given to Daniel was that the inscription that was written on the wall said that God had numbered the days of the king’s reign and had put an end to it. He had been weighed on the scales and found deficient. So, his kingdom was divided and given over to the Medes and Persians.

In this case, the item of value that was weighed to determine the value of exchange was the man’s life and his life’s work (his kingdom reign). When weighed on God’s scales, the man’s life came up lacking, incomplete and defective.

Scripture teaches us that God sets kings in their kingdoms. Romans 13:1 says: “For there is no authority except that which God has established.” Daniel said that God removes and sets up kings. He appoints over kingdoms whoever he wishes (see Dan. 2 - 5). So, in a sense, King Belshazzar’s one talent may have been his kingdom reign, but instead of multiplying it for the glory of God, he squandered his one talent so that it not only did not gain anything, but what was given to him ended up being corroded and not even worth its original value.

So, the talents we are given can be whatever is of value to God that he wishes to give to us to be used for his glory and to advance his kingdom, not our own. First of all he gave us the breath of life. He created us to worship him. He gives us the knowledge of him through his creation (see Ro. 1). He gave us his Son Jesus Christ as an offering (atonement) for our sin. He gave us his word. He gave us his gospel. And, he gives spiritual gifts to his servants.

The Results

In this parable one person was given five talents, another, two, and one man was given one talent which he buried. He never did anything with it. I would imagine that the talent he was given was either his life, the knowledge of God (Ro. 1), and/or the gift of Jesus Christ in dying for his sins - the gospel of our salvation. He took what he had been given and he buried it, instead of making use of it and producing fruit in his life through it. The others were given more. They took what they were given – life, the knowledge of God, Jesus, the gospel, the word of God, spiritual gifts, and/or the fruit of the Spirit, etc. – and they multiplied what they had so that it produced more in like kind.

To those who had multiplied their talents (gifts and/or assignments from God), who had proved faithful in what they were given, was given honor and praise for their faithfulness, as well as even greater responsibility and privilege to be put in charge of many things. Yet, to the one who buried his talent, what he had been given was taken away from him, and he was thrown out into outer darkness.

The interesting thing about this servant is that he knew he had done wrong, and yet he made excuses for his sin. But, the excuse did not hold water. It was a flimsy excuse. He tried to convince his owner that he was thinking about him instead of about himself, but his owner saw right through the lie the man told, and probably which the servant had believed about himself. The master called the lie just what it was, and confronted the man with his sin. He had been lazy and wicked and that is why he hid his talent, not because he was being considerate of his master.

It can be so easy to deceive ourselves into thinking our reasons for not doing what we know we ought to do, or our reasons for doing what we know we ought not to do, are good and justifiable reasons, while all along they are just flimsy excuses for disobedience, laziness and wickedness. God has given to us the breath of life. That is a wonderful gift right there. If that is our only talent, we should use it for his glory! He has given us the knowledge of himself through his creation, and he has given his Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sins. He has offered to us his great salvation, and he has given each of us natural talents and abilities, as well as he has given his followers spiritual gifts and ministries.

Don’t Waste It!

We must not take what we have been given lightly. We must not waste what God has given to us and then make up excuses for why we can’t do what we know we are supposed to do. We are not here on this earth by accident. God put us here for a purpose. We should not waste our lives by burying our talents (whatever God has given to us) and by giving in to physical or spiritual laziness (apathy and complacency), or by holding on to sin in our lives. When we waste the precious gift of life we have been given, and we do not yield our lives over to the one who created us for his purposes, but we seek our own pleasure, then we are guilty of depending on the flesh of man (our own flesh) instead of investing in what God has given to us to be used for his purposes and glory.

For those of us who have multiplied what we have been given, and who have accepted God’s great gift of salvation, and who have followed the Lord Jesus Christ in surrender to his will for our lives, we will hear “Well done,” and we will be given even more. But for those who bury in the ground their wonderful gift of life given them by God and do not accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of their lives, and do not bear fruit for his kingdom, what they have will be taken away, and they will be thrown into utter darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

So, don’t throw your life away. Don’t waste it on selfish, worldly and sinful pleasures. Give your lives completely to Jesus Christ today, and multiply the gifts which he has placed within you for his glory. I can attest to you that this is the only way to live! I am the happiest in life when I am walking in fellowship and in obedience to my Lord in being who he wants me to be, in doing what he wants me to do, and in going where he wants me to go. I surrender all! Nothing this world has to offer me is worth holding on to. Jesus is my all in all. He is worth more than all the silver and gold this world has to offer me. Amen!

ONLY IN HIM / An Original Work / February 19, 2014
Based off Isaiah 30

Woe to those who look to man’s help;
Who turn away from Jesus Christ;
Forming an alliance not in step with God;
Making their own plans, and praying not.

Willing not to listen to truth,
They close their ears to what is right.
Pleasing words are all that they’ll hear;
Feel good messages that bring cheer.

Trust in your Lord; turn from your sin.
Put your faith now ONLY IN HIM.
Do not turn to idols. They’ll not satisfy.
Jesus will save you. That’s why He died.

Your Lord will be gracious to you.
He cares all about you, ‘tis true.
He forgives you all of your sin
When you give your life up to Him.

Oh, how truly gracious He’ll be
When you bow to Him on your knees;
Turning now from your sin; walking in his ways.
He’ll lead and guide you all of your days.

Now you will sing praises to Him.
He delivered you from your sin.
You’ll tell others now of His grace,
So they may see Christ face-to-face.