God recently dropped a little insight on me from a fairly familiar passage of scripture in the Gospels – the Parable of the Talents, taken from Matthew 14:29-30. In the parable, there are three servants who are entrusted with funds from their master while he goes away on an extended journey. The overall lesson that we should take away from this story is that God gives us responsibilities and gifts, and that we should make the most of what he has given us.
You may recall from the story that the three servants were given five, two, and one talent respectively. There were no explicit instructions given to the servants, although the master made it clear upon his return that he expected his servants to anticipate his desire to receive a return on the investment he had given them. Let’s take a closer look at the second servant for a few minutes, however…
We know that the second servant was entrusted with two talents, and was able to double that amount for his master’s benefit. That’s what he DID; consider what he DIDN’T do, for a moment. He could have easily looked down his nose at the servant with one talent and thought to himself how much more trustworthy he was to get twice as much as his fellow servant. It is human nature to take pride in our achievements, responsibilities and positions. This can easily turn into smugness and an ungodly pride.
The second servant also didn’t look at the one who received five talents and say, “Why does he get more than me? I’m just as good as him.” Jealousy is something we all have to guard against when we see others do well in the financial realm as well as spiritual areas.
We can take inspiration (as we rightly should) from the first servant who received the most talents and was able to increase what was given him. I believe we should also be inspired by the second servant, who, when given less than the first, still managed to make the most of what was entrusted to him. In the end, he was rewarded by his master for his faithfulness.
I think it’s important for us who aspire to greater things in our walk with God and perhaps greater responsibility in our local church, to ask our selves, “Am I being faithful in the ‘few things’ in order to be proven capable of being the ‘ruler over many’?” After all, in this parable, the master gave out the talents according to the ability of his servants. In other words, God knows what we can handle – even if we sometimes may not.
For me, what this all boils down to is this – whatever God has you doing in this season, do it to the best of your ability. Don’t look at what people around you have been given or are doing; stay in your lane, as the saying goes.