#InGodWeTrustSeries 
  • There’s no doubt we are living in unstable and turbulent times, but there has never been a better time choose to have all-out trust in our God. For our culture, the topic of money and giving is one of the most difficult things to address, yet the Bible speaks abundantly on it. We have been created to say with tremendous faith, “I trust in you, Lord...my times are in your hand!”
4. In God We Trust: Even When I'm Afraid to Invest Myself [Matthew 25:14-30]
  • God sees responsible saving driving radical giving. “For God has entrusted me with much.”
Sermon Preparation Guide
  • Importance - What are the central ideas of this text?
    • God entrusts us with time, treasure and talent. (Matthew 25:14 & 15)
    • God expects us to make use of and invest out time, treasure and talents. (Matthew 25:15, 19)
    • God will judge us as to how faithful we are in using and investing our time, treasure and talents. (Matthew 25:19-30)  
  • Implications - What questions should the listener be asking?
    • How are you using and investing your time, treasure and talents?
    • What time, treasure and talents has God entrust to you?
    • How will God judge your faithfulness in your investing your time, treasure and talents in His kingdom?
      Talk it Over Discussion Guide 
      • Interpretation - What is the text telling/showing us?
        • Remember that parables are a means of making one or more points or setting out one or more operable truths. What is Jesus seeking to teach with this parable?
        • What is the implication of the fact that the master entrusted his servants with his property?
        • What is the implication of the fact that the master went away after entrusting his property to his servants?
        • Describe in your own words what each of the servants did with the talents entrusted to them? What was the outcome of their efforts?
        • Did the servants know when their master would return?
        • What did the master expect of his servants upon his return?
        • What was the approach of each of the three individuals in reporting what they had done with the talents entrusted to them? Compare and contrast these approaches.
        • What was the response of the master to each of the three individuals? What had he expected of each of them?
        • What was the reward given to the first two individuals and why was it given?
        • Why did the third individual receive no reward but instead received a punishment? Describe his punishment. Why was it appropriate and on what was it based?
      • Implementation - What should the listeners response be?
        • Who is your “master?”
        • What has your master entrusted of His into your care? In other words, what time, treasure and talent has been entrusted to you? Describe these?
        • What are you doing with your time, treasure and talent?
        • How specifically do you use your treasure? Do you consider your treasure yours or God’s?
        • How can you “invest” yourself in His kingdom?
        • Are you living as if you expect your master to return and take account of your life? Are you afraid of your master, or do you love your master and want to serve Him?
        • What does it mean for God to say, “Well done, good and faithful servant?”
        • What does it mean for you to be faithful to God with your time, treasure and talents?
        • Is a reward from God to be sought, or is your reward to please Him in how you spend your life – your time, treasure and talents?
        • Should you follow through on a commitment to give? What if you do not?
      Sermon Teaching Notes (as prepared by Pastor Dick Murphy)
      • Investigation - What's generally going on in this area of scripture?
      The last study showed us that we are to be willing to give from what has been entrusted to our care, that is, from our time, our treasure and our talent. The Corinthian believers had promised to give to the offering for the church at Jerusalem, but had second thoughts. Paul admonished them to follow the example of the Macedonian believers who gave out of their own poverty without having been asked. Such giving multiples God’s blessing and provision and is an act of trusting God for ourselves and our provision. Our attitude in such giving should be that of joy and thanksgiving for the opportunity to help others as part of God’s plan of provision for them. But how are we to go about handling what God has given to us before we offer it back to Him, before we give? In fact, Jesus Himself gives us guidelines through the parable of the talents found in the gospel of Matthew.

      In this parable, Jesus is actually continuing His teaching about the kingdom of heaven and the eventual coming of the Son of Man at the end of the age (Matthew 24:3, 30, 36 & 37), and as part of that teaching, speaks of the servant of the kingdom of heaven and whether or not the servant was “faithful and wise” in handling the Father’s “household.” (Matthew 24:45 & 46). He gives the parable of the ten virgins who are waiting for the bridegroom to come, five of them foolish and five of them wise and prepared. Then comes our parable of the talents. It is clear that Jesus is focusing on how it is that His followers live on earth, how they take care of the goods of the Father entrusted to them, and how they “invest” their lives. The “property” entrusted to the master’s servants (Matthew 25:14 & 15) is referred to as “talents” which was a monetary term. For our purposes, the larger meaning of “talents” is our “time, treasure and talents” given us by God.

      The first truth from this parable Jesus gave us is that in the kingdom of heaven (which, by the way, means God’s rule and reign over everything and over us, and that of which we are a part in terms of being citizens of that kingdom and thus subject to God’s will and purposes), we are given, or more accurately, we are “entrusted” (Matthew 25:14) with something from God, namely “time, treasure and talents” as referred to above. Time is the days of our lives that we can live out to serve Him or not; treasure is the resources with which to live including money and possessions; talent is the abilities given us to use for Him or not. In short, we are entrusted with much that can be used, and His intent is that in fact it be used, for His kingdom and glory. In the parable, the master gave 5 talents to one person, 2 talents to another, and 1 talent to a third individual (Matthew 25:15). Then, Jesus says, the master “went away.” (Matthew 25:15b) In other words, he left this total of 8 talents with the three men to be used, knowing that each of the three had ability (Matthew 25:15). Then Jesus describes what each individual did with what was given him. The one with 5 talents used them effectively and wisely and turned them into 5 more through trading and “investing” them. The one with 2 talents did likewise, turning them into 2 more. In contrast, the third individual simply buried the 1 talent given him, doing nothing with it.

      “After a long time,” (Matthew 25:19), the master came to settle accounts with the three individuals. This leads to the second truth from this parable, namely that we are accountable for that which God entrusts into our care and keeping. God not only expects us to make use of His resources, He expects that such use will be productive … that it will multiply His kingdom. In the kingdom of heaven, then, stewardship is more than holding on to resources and eventually giving them back; it involves “investing” oneself and in that sense, taking risk for the benefit of the kingdom. We have been given time; how do we use it for God’s kingdom? We have been given treasure; how do we use it for God’s kingdom? We have been given talents; how do we use them for God’s kingdom? We are to be responsible with all these resources, and particularly with money. When we save our money, what are we saving for? Is it so we can buy a bigger, fancier car, or new clothes all the time, or some other kind of expense that revolves around self? No; it’s so that we can use those resources to meet needs, considering them God’s provision, and then give more to the building up of the kingdom. And by “investing” thusly in the kingdom, God is honored and we are blessed. But the same holds true with the investment of our time and talents.

      The three individuals had to report what they had done with the talents entrusted to them. In the response of the master we find the third lesson from this parable, namely that there are consequences by way of judgment for how we use our time, treasure and talents. So what was the outcome of the accounting of the three individuals. The first two reported that they had each doubled the talents entrusted to them, and each received the same response, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:20-23) And both were given a reward of being given more responsibility in the master’s kingdom and the joy of participating with him in that kingdom. Notice that both these individuals received the same “reward.” It didn’t matter that they had received different amounts of talents and achieved different results. Rather, the same reward was for their faithfulness in using those talents for the benefit of the master. As for the third individual, things did not go so well. He reported to the master that he was afraid of the master, because the master could produce results whenever he wanted, making something out of nothing (Matthew 25:24), and as a result he hid the one talent entrusted to him and did nothing with it except return it to the master. This individual’s “investment” was unacceptable to the master because it showed disrespect for the master, a lack of faithfulness and trust in the master’s trust in him, and gave evidence of no effort to produce from the talent given him, or invest the talent to multiply it.  This servant had no heart for the master, so the master therefore rejected the individual, calling him a “wicked and slothful servant, and taking the talent from him and giving it to the one who took five talents and turned them into ten talents (Matthew 25:26-28). Further, the master upbraided the individual by telling him that at the very least, he could have invested the talent in a bank and made some interest, even if he himself did nothing. (Matthew 25:27) Then he cast that “worthless servant” into the “outer darkness” (Matthew 25:28, 30) by way of judgment. The third individual had failed his master, failed to trust his master, failed to serve his master, and failed to invest his own time, treasure and talent for the master.

      So what are we to say from this parable? How does it apply to us? The parable teaches us the three lessons set forth above: God entrusts us with time, treasure and talent; God expects us to use our time, treasure and talent for His glory and multiply these gifts for His kingdom; and God will judge our faithfulness in how we respond to His faith in us. The bottom line? Take account of what God has entrusted to you and use those things for His glory, faithfully investing yourself into His kingdom. Surely He has given you time to use for Him; each day is a gift entrusted to you to use for His purposes. Surely He has entrusted treasure to you, no matter how big or small in amount, and He expects you to invest it in His kingdom. And surely He has given you certain talents and abilities, experience and training opportunities, and He expects you to put those to use for Him and His glory. He wants faithfulness from you in using these things and literally investing yourself for Him. How are you doing? What will your reward be? Will God say to you, “Well done, good and faithful servant?” when the time comes for Him to judge. If you are a follower of Jesus and a child of God, the call is that you be faithful and invest all He has given you into His kingdom for His glory. Invest yourself; don’t hold back. He loves your faithfulness, and He deserves your faithfulness because He is worthy. So, invest yourself, and then keep on investing yourself as long as you have breath.