Matthew 25:14-30 – A Butcher, A Baker, A Candlestick Maker…

Posted: March 25, 2016 in Gospel of Matthew

Matthew 25:14-30
The Parable of the Three Servants

There was an old nursery rhyme, Rub-A-Dub-Dub, that had the line, “a butcher, a baker, a candlestick maker…”, in it. It reminded us as children that we all have different talents. And so it is that thought that brings us here. This passage reminds me in one way about when I was for nine years the stepdad of three boys and the dad of my two girls and even now with my girls being grown. When I was married to my second wife, she had three boys and I had two girls. There was always conflict between my second wife and me over the kids. It was that conflict that ultimately unraveled our marriage where we both made enough mistakes to last a lifetime. What my second wife wanted was 100% the same treatment of the boys and the girls when it came to discipline and so on. It was an unrealistic view of life. Each of the children were different. Boys are different girls. And each boy was different from each other. Each girl was different for each other. I understand that each of us, my second wife and I, should treat the other’s kids with the same respect and love as we did with our own. However, when it came to discipline and parenting styles, you have to treat each child differently. For example, with my girls, I could just look at them real mean and they would get fearful. I could tell them not to do something once or twice and that would be the end of it. But with boys, boy, are they different. With boys, you have to tell them not to do something every day repeatedly. With boys, a father has to be more stern with them because the world is just different for boys when they grow up. Boys will become men and they will generally be the leaders of their families. Men have to suck it up and work the rest of their lives to keep food on the table for their families and they must sacrifice for the good of their wife and kids. It’s just the nature of being a man. You have to get them ready for that. With girls, they are to be the nurturers of children. They have to be taught about different things and about love and acceptance and about caring for people that they are close to. That is just the nature of being a woman. You cannot raise or discipline boys the same way as girls and vice versa. They are simply wired differently and will perform different functions in the world when they grow up. It’s just that simple.

Sure, boys are different from girls. But also each child is different and has different needs. My girls are all grown up now. One is 25 and the other is 30. They are as different as night and day. As the parent of adult children (just as when they were young and living at home), you have to parent each child differently. One may be more independent and the other more in need of direct assistance. One may be rebellious and the other compliant. One may be willing to stand up for themselves while the other may let other people’s needs take precedence over their own. One may be driven while the other has be prodded and poked. One may be outgoing and the other shy. One may live life with a 10-year plan of where they want to be and make decisions based on that while the other may not see past the end of the week. One may save while the other spends every dime. Kids are just different and it doesn’t end when they leave home. They are different to the day they die. You have to parent them differently. They may not see it as fair but as a parent you have to raise a child according to his or her abilities, tendencies, and emotional make-up.

I was the same way when I was growing up. I was jealous of the way that my parents, in my opinion, coddled my brother but were seemingly harder on me. It is only now that I see that my brother needed a different kind of parenting than I needed. I was a lone wolf and would be ok no matter what whereas my brother needed close attention. That was just the way we were individually wired. No judgments on that. Just it was the way it was. My brother needed a different kind of parenting than I needed. I used to hate my parents for that but now some 30 years later just say hey that was what was needed. I know it. You know it. Every kid is different. Parent them differently. That’s the most misunderstood part of parenting is knowing that and not caring about the calls for equality from your children. Each one getting the parenting that they need. That is true parenthood. But we as kids never see it that way. We want everyone to be equal in a Barry Sanders kind of way. But that is not the reality of life. Each child has different needs that need to be met differently by their parents.

That’s long-winded but I think getting you to see that idea is important as we approach today’s passage, Matthew 25:14-30, The parable of the three servants. Let’s read it now:

 

14 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. 15 To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag,[a] each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. 17 So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. 18 But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

19 “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’

21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

22 “The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’

23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

24 “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’

26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

28 “‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. 29 For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

 
Let’s look at this in its immediate context. The master divided the money among his servants according to their abilities. None received more or less than they could handle. If they failed in their assignments, their excuse could not be that they were overwhelmed. Failure would indicate only laziness and hatred toward their master. The bags of silver represent any kind of resource we are given. God gives us time, talents, and resources according to the abilities that he pre-designed for each of us. He expects us to invest our resources (time, talent, resources) until He returns. It’s not so much what we are given but rather how we will use those resources.

What does this mean for you and for me in today’s world? I think the bottom line is that, whether you believe it or not, not making it any less true whether you do or not, Jesus is returning. Does this mean that we quit our jobs and start serving the Lord in some weird and different way? No. It means that we are to use our unique, individual time, talents, and resources diligently to serve God no matter what we do. For some of us that may mean a radical change in lifestyle (from being an accountant full-time to being a pastor full-time or whatever). For most of us, it means being a minister in your daily life. There are more people reached with the gospel by regular joes like you and me than could ever be imagined by any pastor. Each of us were given different talents so that we could be ministers in each of our areas of influence as only we can.

The last servant in this passage was only thinking of himself. He hoped to play it safe and protect himself from what he perceived as his hard master. He was judged for not investing, going beyond himself and seeing the gift of the silver as more of a burden than an opportunity. This is the crux of this passage. We are all called to be ministers of the gospel but we all have different, but equally important, ways of accomplishing the Great Commission.

What you and I do for the kingdom may, and should be, totally different ways of approaching the same issue – our need for Jesus Christ. Each of us has been wired to offer up unique gifts, talents, time and resources to the Lord. We each have a role to play. We don’t have to be full time ministers. We only have to be faithful in serving the Lord. We cannot compare ourselves to others. We all have different ways to serve the Lord. We cannot be jealous of the gifts that put some people on stage and others working the audio/visual boards to make the people on stage to look good. We need guys who have been gifted in traffic control to do just that as it may be the lack thereof that causes someone not to come back to our church or any church. We need those who are talented in administration and finance to make sure the funds of the church are protected and used in a wise manner so that no ill repute will be cast upon the body of Christ at our local church. It’s all about serving the Lord not about what you and I can get out of it. We serve to give him glory and in so doing He will honor that. When we come to terms that God has talented us differently than someone else and just use the talents that we have to our highest ability for His highest glory. Then, we have grown up and matured a little as a Christ follower. Not everybody is on stage. Not everybody is a preacher. Not everybody is a writer. Not everybody is a teacher. We all have been given different talents by our Creator to reach the widest possible audience. Through the talents that we have, it brings us into the spheres of influence that God has designed for each of us. We are uniquely talented by Him for our sphere of influence. We should never compare ourselves to others. We are unique and divinely planned.

Our Father in heaven created each of us differently and we all have different needs before Him and He will parent each of us in different ways. He gives us different talents, skills, mental and emotional capabilities and we should not worry that we are not the on-stage persona in serving Him but rather seek ways to serve that are specific to our own skills given from God. He gave us those skills for a reason. He gave us those skills to bring Him glory in the places that those skills take us.

Let us pray that we come to terms with who we are in Christ and take and use our talents to bring our Father in heaven all the glory that can be brought!

Amen and Amen.

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