Devotional Thoughts for Today
Lk. 19:12-3, 15-26 (ESV): He said therefore, “A nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and then return.  Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Engage in business until I come’. . . .  When he returned, having received the kingdom, he ordered these servants to whom he had given the money to be called to him, that he might know what they had gained by doing business.  The first came before him, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made ten minas more.’  And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.’  And the second came, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made five minas.’  And he said to him, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’  Then another came, saying, ‘Lord, here is your mina, which I kept laid away in a handkerchief;  for I was afraid of you, because you are a severe man. You take what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’  He said to him, ‘I will condemn you with your own words, you wicked servant! You knew that I was a severe man, taking what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow?  Why then did you not put my money in the bank, and at my coming I might have collected it with interest?’  And he said to those who stood by, ‘Take the mina from him, and give it to the one who has the ten minas.’  And they said to him, ‘Lord, he has ten minas!’  ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.’”
Matt. 25:14-5 (ESV): For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property.  To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability.
Some egalitarians might prefer the Parable of the Ten Minas, since each servant receives one mina, over the Parable of the Talents, where some received more than others (Matt. 25:14-28). Which one is true? Based on Jesus’ statement, “Everyone who has been given much, much will demanded” (Lk. 12:48), it’s safe to assume that in God’s economy, not everyone receives the same amount of talents or gifts. But God is still egalitarian. How?
Recall that both the servant with a single talent and the other with one mina did nothing with it, even though they were told to put it to work, on account that their masters were unreasonable and unjust. Peeking into the vanity of the human nature, the servant with the one talent probably pouted over the fact that others received more: “Since you don’t think much of my ability, I will do nothing.” What he forgot is that when God judges our works, it isn’t based on how much we have gained; but rather, how much we have gained in proportion to how much we have been given.
At the judgment seat of Christ, where our works will be evaluated for rewards (2 Cor. 5:10), God will treat everyone as if they had received only one mina. How so? In God’s equalitarian judgment, it is possible that those who have received less will be given more rewards than those who have received more. For instance, God will be more pleased with a servant with a single talent who gained three more (300% yield) than one with five talents who made five more (100%). This is why Jesus said, after seeing a poor widow putting in two small copper coins (about $2) into the temple treasury and others giving much more: “[She] has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on” (Lk. 21:4).
So, whatever talent God has given you, don’t bury it. Edify and encourage people with it; help support missionaries and your church; heal the wounded and instruct the young in faith.
Dear God, thank You for giving me talents and gifts that I did not earn. I admit that I’ve spent more time complaining about what I don’t have instead of using what I’ve received to yield more for your kingdom. May I constantly be reminded that I was given a great privilege; help me to be faithful. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 53
Lunch Break Study
Read 2 Cor. 5:10 (NASB): For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
1 Cor. 4:5 (NASB): Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God.
Lk. 12:48 (NIV): But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.
Question to Consider
- What is the main difference between how we receive salvation and how we receive rewards?
- What is one key aspect of our works that will be evaluated at the judgment seat?
- So, what does God expect from those who have received talents and gifts from him? How are you doing with God’s investment into to your life?
- Salvation is not earned but is “a gift of God, not by works . . . but by grace . . . through faith” (Eph. 2:8). Rewards, on the other hand, are based on what we do. But this too is based on God’s grace since He doesn’t have to reward anyone; yet He chooses to do so out of His kindness and goodness.
- Our motives will be evaluated—meaning it’s not just what we do or how we do it but why we do it.
- God wants us to put to work every talent and gift given to us so that people’s lives are saved and healed: That’s why He takes it so seriously and displeases Him when we bury them (i.e., not use them) instead of using them to reach out to people.
As you are about to turn in, how do you think you used your talents and gifts today for the Lord? Was anyone encouraged and strengthened by you? Did anyone find out God’s grace through you? Pray that you will put your talent to work tomorrow.