Matthew 25:14-30 (ESV)
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. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master's money.
Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 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.’ 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.’
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.’ 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.’
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, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ 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? 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. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents.
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. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
Sermon by Rev Brian McConkey
The language of the Bible can be hard to understand sometimes. We hear about talents all the time “Britain's got much talent” but this is talking about money.
According to New Nave's Topical Bible, “one who possessed five talents of gold or silver was a multimillionaire by today's standards. Some calculate the talent in the parables to be equivalent to 20 years of wages for the common worker. Other scholars estimate more conservatively, valuing the New Testament talent somewhere between $1,000 to $30,000 dollars today.”
The problem we read about tells us that the one who had the least, who was cautious, who was scared - looses out in a big way!
In Northern Ireland when the Euro was coming out people kept their money, the punt, and dealt in that being very cautious. Perhaps it is good sometimes to be cautious with our money? But this is a parable about risk, and the one who was the most cautious came out the worst.
Today there are many risk assessments that need to be filled out before we can even do anything, whilst years ago we used to just jump into a minibus and just go out and do the good work. We took risk.
Where can we step out and take risks with our faith?
An opportunity may come our way from God and we have to grasp it, to take that risk. In relationships we perhaps have been hurt in the past and are afraid of reaching out to make new relationships, but we should not let this fear hold us back, we need to step out.
What about our faith?
We perhaps think church is safe and solid and always there, perhaps we have been in the core of the church feeling safe. We need to listen to those people on the fringes, it may feel like a risk to listen to new ideas. Surely there is a future for the church and our part is to reach out and take those opportunities when they are sent our way.
Faith is spelled R.I.S.K. (John Wimber)
“Having a strong faith in what Christ has done for you should be enough to compel you to share God with others. If you don’t share your faith in Christ, something isn’t right.”
Why do we not take risks?
Because of fear. God doesn’t mind so much us making mistakes as sometimes these are the only way we learn.
Let us learn from our mistakes and let us take risks for his kingdom.