Today, we finish our look at the “parable of the talents” and the insights it offers for those of us who weren’t given as much talent as others. To catch the whole conversation, check out the previous four blogs titled, Unnoticed? Join the club…it’s a good one!
3. Duplicate Response
The final piece of comparison between the five-talent servant and the guy entrusted with two is response of the Master. The day of his return must have been exciting and a bit intense. Certainly the third servant would be stressed out, probably having hoped for some travel accident to prevent the day he’d have to face the Master again.
But for the two servants who had done their best with what they’d been given, well, this is a good—perhaps even a great—day. Look at the news they receive:
21 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ Matthew 25:21
Now that’s the applause for the first servant, and it’s easy to see why the Master was pleased. After all, this guy took the 1800 shekels (a talent = 360 shekels) his Master had asked him to care for and now he presented the Boss with 3,600! What a great moment for our gifted friend. Let the high fives and chest bumps ensue!
Then up steps our friend, the second servant, ready to give a report of his work with the 720 shekels he had been given. He had worked hard for this day and now lays 1,440 shekels in front of the Master. Clearly he had made a strong effort, but his pile is 2,160 shekels smaller, so the media may not have scheduled many interviews and the pictures probably weren’t as good. But how did the Master respond?
23 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ Matthew 25:23
Sound familiar? Those are the exact same words—the exact same response—that the Master spoke to the first servant. The exact same words!!
There’s no, “Good job, little buddy. Not bad for a guy like you…” Instead, the same balloons, the same confetti, the same celebration of the remarkable work accomplished by the “less-gifted” servant.
Why? Because two differently resourced servants had been faithful and they had met the Master’s expectation and fulfilled His joy. Both servants had taken the circumstances they’d been given and worked diligently for the Master’s purpose. And both would receive the same amazing reward!
So what does this mean for the second servants in today’s stories? Give your best to God’s unique vision for your church. Stop wishing you were somewhere else or someone else. Show the Master the best version of what you can be and stop comparing yourself to other people and other situations.
From Kindergarten to my Senior year, I was always the smallest guy in my class and among my friends. I dreamed of being big—6’10” was my goal—but I never topped 5’9”. I imagined my long arms dunking a basketball or swiping away an opponent’s shot like Gulliver could when he played ball with those little guys he found. I knew if I could be big, well, I could live all my basketball fantasies.
So I tried to be big. I ate spinach (sill don’t like it). I hung on the swing set in my backyard, hoping gravity would do what the spinach wasn’t getting done. I practiced dunking on the nerf set my parents had given me, figuring I’d perfect the moves so when I got big, well…you can probably picture it. No one could dunk on that nerf goal like me—not even my little sister!
But I never got big. And, at age 52, I’m about to think I never will.
So somewhere in my early teens, my dad bought into my basketball dreams and bought a hoop for the driveway—one you couldn’t lower so little guys could practice their dunking. Then he taught me to dribble the ball, steal passes, and hit shots the big guys never took. He helped me learn the parts of the game that my small size and quick feet could master.
I ended up making the high school team by learning to do the things that big men couldn’t. I gave my best to what I was equipped to do, and at the season’s awards banquet, the letter they sewed on my jacket was as big as everyone else’s!
So, be who you are made to be. Love people dearly; serve people gladly; worship God wholeheartedly. Challenge yourself and others to great dreams and celebrate every victory. Wrap your arms around the people God gives you and never let go. Find your talents and use them for the pleasure of your Master.
Stop saying, “What if we were like them?” Start asking, “What is we were everything God designed us to be?” If you reach for your best, you’ll really enjoy that final day when the Master comes back.