Jesus sits with His disciples on the Mount of Olives overlooking Jerusalem, perhaps in the shade of one of the many olive trees. The Lord’s time on earth is nearing an end. Soon He will ascend into heaven from this very location. He will sit enthroned on high to rule over His everlasting kingdom. Yet now He takes time to talk privately with His disciples about the end times, using this parable as an illustration…

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey.” – Matthew 25:14-15

Jesus is the Man in this parable who gathers His own to Himself. We are His own… the ones loyal to Him… the ones He created and for whom He gave His life. He entrusts us, His beloved followers, with the treasures of the kingdom… unique gifts, talents and abilities, both natural and spiritual… the divine truths of the gospel… and His supreme power on our behalf.

Our Lord’s kingdom goods are bestowed on all believers according to His perfect wisdom and intimate knowledge of each of us. We may not understand the reasons for His unequal distributions. Yet no one is neglected. And no one is given less than they deserve. We are all to be faithful stewards of the riches He chooses to give us.

“Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money.” – Matthew 25:16-18

Jesus desires that all believers produce kingdom fruit. We bring Him glory when we yield to His leadings… tap into His mighty powerstep out in faith as opportunities arise… and apply His gifts to do good in this world. Like the first two servants, we are to set out with holy confidence, using His treasures to spread His light and truth in the world.

Just as the second servant did not begrudge his lesser allotment, so we are not to compare our treasures with others. Our call is to serve the living Christ. We remember the One for whom we are working. Our service is not for the recognition or acclaim of others. We seek only to please our Master.

The first two servants who use wisely the gifts of the Master hear these blessed words…

“Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.” – Matthew 25:21

Jesus promises that all we do in His power and for His glory will be rewarded. Our loving faith will be visible in our spiritual fruit. Like the two faithful servants, we will one day hear these special words of commendation from our Lord. Whether our yield is great or small, if we have sought to honor Him with our lives, He will invite us to share in His everlasting joy and happiness.

“Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’” – Matthew 25:24-25

Jesus knows His own. Some hide His treasures away like the third servant. There is no love for the Lord or heart for His service. Perhaps they wrongly perceive Him as a harsh, demanding Master. In their defense, they may blame Him for their unfruitfulness.

Some may not desire to put forth the effort of commitment. Theirs is not a blatant sin of commission, but a subtle sin of omission. A failure to put their kingdom goods given in grace, however small, to good use. They minimize their treasures as an excuse for their spiritual laziness.

Some may be unwilling to give up their lifestyles and commit to Him. The cost is too high. So they keep His treasures “safe” while they pursue their own paths… thinking they may choose His way at some point in their lives. Yet the Spirit cannot be continually and willfully resisted without losing its influence.

“Take the talent away from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness.” – Matthew 25:28-30

As devoted followers of Christ, we are in the service of our Master and King. We are to do the best with what we are entrusted. For one day Jesus will return. We will all be called to account for our time on earth.

What we sow, we will reap. If we live for ourselves, choosing a life apart from Christ, we will reap an eternity apart from Him. If we live for Christ in this world, choosing a life that honors Him, we will reap an eternity in His holy presence. In that day, we will be blessed with the cherished words that we so long to hear from our loving Savior… “Well done, good and faithful servant”.