November 2, Friday

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“Don’t Waste Your Life”

Matthew 25:14-30

The Parable of the Talents

 “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. 15 To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.[e] You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

Recently, I read the autobiography of Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple. In the book he talks about the early days of Apple and how it got all started.  Now, once Jobs and his friend Steve Wozniak decided to start this revolutionary company in 1976, they realized quickly that they had no money. So, to generate about $1,300 to get going, Jobs sold his Volkswagen and Steve Wozniak sold his HP calculator—their most valued possessions. So this is how they were able to make their first Apple computer. In other words, these two young dreamers took everything they had and leveraged it to make their vision come to reality.  The rest as we all know is history.  Today, it’s estimated that Apple is about 1 trillion dollars.  This story is a great example of a great sacrifice and investment, which resulted in a great return.

In today’s parable, we read about two men who made great investments and received a great reward in return; but we also see a man who made no effort to invest, and as a result, was punished for his laziness.  The point Jesus is making is this:  God has given us resources, talents and abilities to leverage and invest for His kingdom and for His purposes.  What are we doing with them?

Back then a talent was worth an extraordinary amount of money, and Jesus, the landowner in the story, gave talents to his servants according to their abilities.  Today, I believe that the talents Jesus has entrusted us with goes beyond money.  It could be our abilities, opportunities and responsibilities such as our education, careers, families, possessions and our money. 

Here are a few lessons we can apply from this passage:

  1. What has been placed in our hands belongs to the Master: This means everything we have is on loan from God. Our talents, abilities and possessions are to be used for the Master’s work and not ours.  We are merely stewards and not owners.
  2. There are consequences for not leveraging what God has given to us: Notice that the last servant was called wicked and slothful. He simply had no interest in the Master’s business.  I believe that when you look at this story closely, this man really never knew Jesus the Master, for he bore absolutely no fruits—a possessor of dead faith (James 2:24-26).  That could be the reason an allusion to hell is made here— “weeping and gnashing of teeth”.  The result of knowing Jesus is that we diligently go to work and invest our talents for Him, that is, bear fruits (Matt. 7:17-18).
  3. When we use what is given to us, we will be rewarded: We will all have to give an account before Jesus and the greatest reward we can receive is to hear these words, “Well done good and faithful servant”.  Let’s live in such a way where we will hear those words when we see Him.

So, the question for us today is this: If Jesus returns today, would he be pleased with your investment of your time, your talent, and treasure that he has entrusted to your stewardship?

Prayer:  Lord, may we long to here those words “Well done good and faithful servant.”  May we leverage our lives for the Master’s business and keep us faithful till the end. Amen!

Bible Reading: 1 John 5

Lunch Break Study

Read James 4:13-16: Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 

Questions to Consider

  1. What’s the main point James wants to get across to his readers?
  2. How should we view at our lives from what the passage says?
  3. What do you think it means to live the life of “if the Lord wills”?

Notes

  1. We are not in control of our own lives and if we think we are—we are being prideful. To think, “I am the ruler of my life, I am the king of my own life, I will be sovereign in my own life” means that we are being arrogant in the eyes of God.
  2. We should view our own lives with humility, knowing that God is in control and He determines how long we have on this earth. Our lives are just like a mist—here one minute and gone the next.  It should lead us to a state of surrender, knowing that every detail of our lives are under His sovereignty.
  3. It means to have God in the picture in every facet of our lives. Our decisions and choices should always have God at the center, knowing it is ultimately up to the Lord if our plans come to fruition.

Evening Reflection

Take some time reflecting on the passages you read today.  What challenged you? Ask the Lord to search your heart and make specific applications to live out.

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