Mat_25:14. For the kingdom of heaven is as a man traveling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.
This parable has to do with you who are professors of Christianity. He “called his own servants,” those who, by their own consent, were numbered amongst his household servitors: “He called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.” Not theirs, but his; and therefore to be used for him. If you are Christ’s servant, your abilities are his, he has lent them to you to be employed for your Lord. “He called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.”
Mat_25:15. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
He is gone; our Lord has risen; and we, his servants, are left behind to trade with his goods for his glory.
Mat_25:16-18. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had receded one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.
We are grieved to know that there are persons with five talents, and others with two talents, who do as this man did; but the case is put in this way, so as to reach us all. Since most persons have but one talent, they are the most often found each one saying, “I have so little ability, I will not do anything. If I had five talents, I might become distinguished; if I had two, I might be very useful; but with one, I need not attempt anything. I am a private person,— a mother, quite obscure, with my little family around me, what can I do?” It is very often a strong temptation from Satan, to those who have but one talent, to make them think that they may, with impunity, hide that one. And then, you see, the argument cuts the other way. If it be wrong to hide one talent, much more wrong is it to hide two, and far worse to dig in the earth, and bury five.
Mat_25:19. After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
Always remember the reclining. We have heard of one, who went into a house of entertainment, and fed most luxuriously; but, when the landlord brought him the bill, he said, “Oh, I never thought of that!” And there are many who spend their whole lives without ever thinking of the reckoning; yet it must come, and for every hour, for every opportunity, for every ability, for every sin, and for every omission of duty, they must give account. “The lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.”
Mat_25:20-21. And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou delivered unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
I do not doubt that this man had often reckoned with himself,— for he that never reckons with himself may well be afraid of being called to reckon with his God; — and I expect that he had often grieved to think that he had not turned the five talents into twenty. He must have thought that, to gain only five talents more, was very little; but he found his master was well content with what he had done. Do you think, brother, that all of you who have five talents have gained five talents more? You were richly endowed as a youth; have you increased the ability to serve your God? You see, the parable speaks not so much of what they had done for other people, as of what they had themselves gained, and still had in hand. Have you more grace? Have you more tact? Have you more adaptation to your Master’s service? Are you conscious that it is so? I should not wonder if you are mourning that you are not more useful, and more fit to be used. It is well that you should mourn in that way; but when your Master comes, I trust that he will say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”
Mat_25:22-23. He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
That is a beautiful reward,— not so much to have a joy of our own as to enter into the joy of our Lord. It is not a servant’s portion that is given to us; it is the Master’s portion shared by his servants. How it ennobles Christian work to feel that it is not simply our work, but work done by the Master through the servant; and the reward shall not so much be our joy as our entrance into our Master’s joy. That is indeed giving to us the best of the best in return for our poor service here.
Mat_25:24-25. Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: and I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.
“I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth.” See, friends, how fear may often be the mother of presumption. Confidence in God begets holy fear; but unholy fear begets a doubt of God, and leads us to desperate rebellion of unbelief. God save us from such fear!
Mat_25:26-27. His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.
His lord took him on his own ground, and condemned him out of his own mouth.
Mat_25:28-29. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance:
He that has faith shall have more faith. He that has a secret taste for heavenly things shall have a greater love for them. He that has some understanding of the truth of God shall get more understanding of it. God gives to those that have; it is equally true that he gives to those who confess that they have not.
Mat_25:29. But from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.
If you want an instance of taking away from a man what he has not got, you may have seen it sometimes in the case of a person without any education or knowledge, who is quite content to remain in that condition. Rut, on a sudden, he is introduced into learned society; he hears what educated people have to say, and he exclaims, “What a fool I am!” What he thought he had, though he never had it, suddenly goes from him.
Mat_25:30. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
If we give any description of the world to come which is at all terrible, those who reject the Scriptures begin to cry out that we have borrowed it from Dante, or taken it from Milton; but I take leave to say that the most awful and harrowing descriptions of the woes of the lost that ever fell from human lip do not exceed or even equal the language of the loving Christ himself. Listen: “Cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” He is the true lover of men’s souls who does not deceive them. He that paints the miseries of hell as though they were but little is seeking to murder men’s souls under the pretense of being their friend. May God give all of you grace to trust in Jesus for yourselves, and then to point others to him, for Christ’s sake! Amen.