We Have Been Entrusted

The “Parable of the Talents” can be found in Matthew 25:14-29. This is a passage that is frequently discussed, but as with all of the scriptures, there is much we can learn by returning to it again and again.

Notice for instance that in verse 14, Jesus includes the detail that the man “entrusted his possessions” to his servants. In many ways, this is exactly what Jesus has done to us. He laid the groundwork for His church, and then He left this earth having appointed a group of men to carry out what He had started. To this day, we as the church are described as the body of Christ, carrying out His work in the world. Just as Paul said that he was “under obligation” to preach the gospel to all people, so we have a responsibility with which we have been entrusted by God.

When the man returns from his journey, notice what the one talent man says to his master in verse 24 as an excuse. He suggests that his master is “a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed,” and for this reason he decided not to use the talent he was given. When we fail to use the resources that God has given us, are we also, perhaps in a less direct manner, making accusations towards God?

I would invest my talents, but others were given so much more, and it just is not fair. I would invest my talents, but God has put me in a place where my talents are useless anyways.

I would invest my talents, but God made a mistake by giving them to me, he should have given them to someone with more free time.”

If God has made the decision to entrust us with various abilities and resources, we must not insist that the best thing for us to do is sit idly by, and thus suggest that He made a mistake or is being unreasonable to expect us to bear fruit.

Lastly, notice that the one talent man is not reprimanded for having less to start with than the others did. After all, his master was the one who decided to give Him that one talent. Nor does the master does complain about the fact that the one-talent man has less now than the others do. Even if the one talent man had invested and had a good return, he might still have only had two talents, which would have been less than anyone else.

Instead, the one talent man is reprimanded for doing nothing.

It would seem that God is not angry with us simply because we are not particularly rich or talented. Rather, if He is displeased, it will be because we made excuses and did not use what we did have.

Verses on the word “Deacon”

Greek: Diakonos

– “one who serves as an intermediary in a transaction, agent, intermediary, or even courier.”

– “one who gets something done at the behest of a superior, assistant.

Hebrew: Shawrat

– “to attend as a menial or worshipper; figuratively, to contribute to, minister unto, serve.” Describes Levite service under Aaron’s leadership.

(1 Timothy 3:8-13) “Deacons likewise must be men of dignity, not double-tongued, or addicted to much wine or fond of sordid gain, but holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. These men must also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons if they are beyond reproach. Women (wives) must likewise be dignified, not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things. Deacons must be husbands of only one wife, and good managers of their children and their own households. For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a high standing and great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.”

(Philippians 1:1) “Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons

(Acts 6:1-7) In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jewsa among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.” This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.

(Colossians 1:7) just as you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow bond-servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf,

(Colossians 4:7) As to all my affairs, Tychicus, our beloved brother and faithful servant and fellow bond-servant in the Lord, will bring you information.

(Ephesians 6:21) But that you also may know about my circumstances, how I am doing, Tychicus, the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, will make everything known to you.

Other contexts in which the word is translated other than “deacon” in English:

(Romans 16:1) I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea;

(1 Thessalonians 3:1-3) “Therefore when we could endure it no longer, we thought it best to be left behind at Athens alone, and we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s fellow worker in the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you as to your faith, so that no one would be disturbed by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we have been destined for this.”

(Matthew 22:13) “Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’”

(Mark 9:35) “Sitting down, He called the twelve and said to them, ‘If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.’”

(2 Corinthians 9:12-13) “For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God. Because of the proof given by this ministry, they will glorify God for your obedience to your confession of the gospel of Christ and for the liberality of your contribution to them and to all.”

(Numbers 3:5-7) “Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Bring the tribe of Levi near and set them before Aaron the priest, that they may serve him. They shall perform the duties for him and for the whole congregation before the tent of meeting, to do the service of the tabernacle.’”

(Romans 15:8) “For I say that Christ has become a servant to the circumcision on behalf of the truth of God to confirm the promises given to the fathers,”

(1 Corinthians 3:5) “What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one.”

(1 Timothy 4:6) “In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following.”

(John 12:26) Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

(Romans 13:4) For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.

(2 Corinthians 11:14-15) And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.

(John 2:5) His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

(1 Peter 4:11) Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Christianity is More than simply Doing Good Deeds

As Jesus was traveling along, He entered a village.

“…and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, ‘Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.’ But the Lord answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10)

As many have noted, Martha was probably doing admirable things, rushing about and making sure that the needs of her guest were taken care of. But in the midst of all of her well-doing, she had taken her eyes off of the only thing that really mattered: Jesus.

And it really is so easy to get distracted by so many different “important,” and “good” causes that we forget what matters most.

Maybe we are busy all day working hard to provide for our families, but are unmotivated to open our Bibles or spend quiet time in prayer.

Maybe we spend hours online researching political news-stories and assessing what is best for our country, but we hardly give a thought to what Jesus might be trying to teach us as individuals today.

Maybe we feel deeply for the physical needs of those around us without giving a single thought to their spiritual need for a Savior.

We must remember that doing good is not simply about what we do, but why and how we do it. Christianity minus the Christ is just another form of humanism. Put another way: good deeds are indeed good, but it is possible to do them while missing the very heart of Christianity.

As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13: “If I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.”
Jesus Himself is an example to us in that He never allowed the good and necessary actions of everyday life to pull Him away from His Father. “Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.” (Luke 5:16)

The church in ancient Ephesus was warned that their good deeds alone were not enough to save them:

“I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.”  (Revelation 2:2-4)

We must ask ourselves: Am I helping the poor? Am I serving my neighbors? Do I take care of my family and friends? Am I kind and considerate? Do I care about my country?

But we MUST also ask: Am I truly in love with Jesus?