September 5

Text: Matthew 25:28-30

“'Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.'  For to everyone who has shall more be given, and he shall have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away.  And cast out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”   (NASB)

There is a statement that Americans often use: “Use it or lose it!”  It simply means if you have an ability, exercise that ability by making use of it—if you do not, the ability will vanish.  That also is a spiritual value.  Never take a spiritual ability for granted.  Never assume that because you can do something for God well now that you always will be able to do it well.

First note the failure to use ability resulted in the loss of opportunity.  No more trust!  No more money!  No more choices to make!  The accounting to the Master resulted in the loss of all of those.  “The Son of Man’s” coming will be a situation of accountability for choices made and directions taken, not a time to make choices or profit from “hindsight.”  Opportunity is over.

Second note how the Master characterized the slave’s failure to use his ability.  He called the slave “wicked” and “worthless.”  That is—to us—a strange reaction!  The Master lost nothing!  He just did not realize a profit!  In profit driven societies, in the thoughts of most people, “money is the ultimate consideration.”  However, in this parable money was not the ultimate consideration.  Use of ability was the ultimate consideration.  We may have called the slave lazy, but wicked and worthless?

Third note there is more than one way to be wicked.  Religious humans often associate wickedness with ungodly acts that attack God’s concept of righteousness.  This man did nothing!  He certainly did not attack God’s definitions!  Yet he was classified as being wicked for doing nothing.

Fourth note that greater opportunity is given to those who used their ability for the Master.  More was involved than the Master being disappointed.  (1) In today’s terms, that slave was disgraced by being stripped of all opportunity.  (2) He suffered with those who suffered.  His change in companions constantly reminded him of what he lost.  He truly went from having it all to having nothing at all.

Do you serve well by utilizing your ability in God’s best interests?

Suggestion for reflection:  Should God trust you?  Why?  (Read Romans 5:1-8.)

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