Updated: Apr 22, 2020
All throughout redemptive history God keeps having to remind his people that he has blessed every person and entrusted them with gifts. Jesus succinctly summarized this call in parable form. In teaching about his second coming Jesus told the Parable of the Talents. In this parable a man is going away on a journey and entrusts his property to his servants. One servant is given five “talents” (a talent was about 15 years’ wages for a laborer), another servant is given 2 talents, and a final servant is given a single talent. In this parable each person is differently gifted (which aligns with what we saw in Genesis) but everyone is given a lot (which also reflects God’s gracious gift-giving in the garden.)
The implication was that they were to do business with the talents their master had given them – to “be fruitful and multiply” in the language of the Garden of Eden. And this is where the parable gets interesting:
“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.” - Matthew 25:16-18
When the master comes back, the two servants who had used every gift the master had entrusted with them to be fruitful and multiply were called “faithful” and invited to “enter into the joy of your master”. It is a beautiful scene. But not so much with the servant who literally buried the gift entrusted to him.
Jesus is teaching here about his second coming and the point is clear: when he comes back he’s expecting his disciples will have used every gift he’s entrusted into their hands. And when you read the rest of the New Testament it appears that’s exactly what they did. The early church was alive with the use of gifts – whether those gifts were the gospel (Acts 2:14-36), money (Acts 2:43-47), land (Acts 4:32-37), spiritual gifts (Acts 6:8), leadership abilities (Acts 15:1-21), visions (Acts 10), or other people (Acts 6:1-7), the early church responded to Jesus’ call to use every gift God had given them.
From the forthcoming title The Hopeful Neighborhood, copyright 2020 LHM. This is not the final form, please do not distribute or quote.