November 8 (Daily reading: Matthew 25) We continue with the theme of the return of Christ. The parable of the ten virgins illustrates our preparation for His return. The judgment of the nations describes what will happen after His return. In between, Jesus gave the parable of the talents, which explains how we should live while we await His return. We find several life principles in this parable.
A landowner gave five talents to one servant, two talents to another, and one talent to a third. A talent in the New Testament was a value of money. Commentators differ on the exact amount of a talent, but it was a considerable amount. For our understanding, a talent represents more than material possessions. God gives all that we have in life, including time, personality, family, health, etc. The first principle is found in the words: “He gave to…each according to his own ability” (v. 15). God determines what is given. It is not our place to dispute that; it is our place to determine how we will use what we are given.
Fallen humanity expects reward for minimal effort (for example, the lottery). But Jesus gave us our next principle: the person who is faithful in small things will have the opportunity to be faithful in greater things (v. 21). This describes the Christian work ethic—we do not work for our salvation, but we give our best effort, even in the smallest things! Our role is faithfulness; God’s role is success!
Another principle is inherent in the story of the third servant. If we do not use what God has given us, we will lose it. Someone said, “Practice makes perfect!” It is true whether we are talking about our physical strength, or about our gifts and talents; it is true in all of life. Use it or lose it!
– Al Gary