September 2

Text: Matthew 25:16-18

"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 in the ground, and hid his master's money.”  (NASB)

The slaves who received 5 and 2 talents began work immediately.  It does not say that they speculated that they had plenty of time, nor that filled with good intentions they promised themselves that they would start working on trading in a few days.  Jesus used only one word—“immediately.”  They were given a task to perform for a Master they respected.  They did not delay doing what they were commissioned to do.  Other than “immediately” and the fact that they “traded” to double the amount of money they managed, nothing is said about their efforts.  Nothing is said about how long it took, how hard they worked, or how tirelessly they pursued their goals (if they had goals).

The contrast with the slave who received one talent (still lots of money) is amazing.  Whereas his fellow slaves started working on their trust “immediately,” he promptly hid his entrusted sum in the ground.  The contrast between the first 2 and the last is not evident until their owner returned.  All 3 took prompt action.  However, one was filled with terror, and two were filled with respect.

The contrast is in their thinking and behavior.  The contrast between respectful behavior and the behavior of terror is dramatic.  As this parable continues, note that thoughts determined actions.

There are some things that must not escape our attention.

  1. If all 3 did what the last slave did, the owner would have lost nothing, but neither would he have gained anything.

  2. If all 3 did what the last slave did, the owner’s planning would have been useless—his preparation efforts would have been nullified.

  3. All 3 slaves were capable of doing what was expected of them—the problem was not ability but attitude.

Jesus’ expectations for each of us are determined by his purposes for all of us.

Suggestion for reflection: How does our attitude affect Jesus’ intents?  (Read Philippians 2:12-16.)

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 Copyright 2011 David Chadwell