Later this month my husband and I will give a workshop Talent & the Kingdom in a church in Holland. In preparation for this service, we have been reading the parable of the talents, as found in Matthew 25, and it is amazing what we can learn from the words of Jesus about this subject. It doesn't really matter whether this parable is about money, talents or opportunities, the main point is that God entrusts his people with something for a bigger purpose.
Why do we teach on this subject? Well, many people
- presume that natural talents cannot be used for Kingdom purposes, that only spiritual gifts matter
- are not aware of the talents God has given them
- do not use their talents for the Kingdom of God
Let's be honest, most of us use our God given talents in a secular job, so we can have worldly success, which enables us to buy earthly possessions. That may be a harsh truth, but it is the answer to the question: if I do not use my talents for God, for what or whom do I use them? It will be a real eye opener to take a closer look at the words of Jesus as found in Matthew 25:14-15. These two verses are the introduction to the parable: Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. I have written down several principles based on this introduction and I will share them on this blog in the next couple of weeks. I hope you will enjoy reading with me and be inspired to use your talents for His glory. (At the end of this series I will write more on how to discover your talent.)
It is clear from the context that this parable is about the Kingdom of God. When Jesus says 'it will be like', He is talking about the Kingdom. He uses this and previous parables to explain that the Kingdom of God can only grow and expand when the workers are alert and do their job. The workers are the ones who have received His message. Jesus gave the keys for this (spiritual) work to his followers: I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven (Matthew 16:19).
Many books and commentaries have been written about these instructions, but I want to emphasize the fact that the Kingdom cannot be separated from the assignment to bear fruit. The Kingdom (the spiritual realm where God's will prevails) is not something we live in while reclining on the couch, watching t.v., and eating popcorn. There is work to be done; God wants everyone to enter His Kingdom. In Matthew 21:43 Jesus says to the religious people: Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.
1) The advancing (expanding) of the Kingdom is an assignment for the believers