Lesson 3 - Good and Faithful or Wicked and Lazy
By Brian S. Holmes
Matthew 25:14-30 is Jesus’s Parable of the Talents. In it Jesus compares three servants each
responsible for managing what their master left them in charge of when he went away. The
two who received the greater responsibility did a good job but the one who received the
least did a bad job. The first two servants each invested their master’s money and doubled the amount he
gave to them. After returning the master says to each of them, “‘Well done, good and faithful servant.
You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’”
However, the last servant just hid his master’s money and then later returned it to him. But lest you think
he just did less good than the first two it says that he acted this way because he thought badly about the
master. That he was a hard man, reaping where he hadn’t sown, gathering where he hadn’t scattered
seed. His own heart wasn’t right with the master and it affected his behavior. The master’s response is
shocking: “‘You wicked and slothful servant! Take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten
talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one
who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer
darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’” Those are references to Heaven
and Hell—eternal paradise with God (where we have an abundance) and eternal separation from God!
This parable is about the consequences of what each of us do in this life. God and/or Jesus is the
Master here. Humanity, especially those who claim to know and follow Jesus, are the servants. We’ve
each been given talents that belong to God. A “talent” in this parable refers to a measure of money in the
Roman world at this time, but this isn’t only talking about what we do with our money. It’s talking about
what we do with our everything. All of our life and existence and breath and money and possessions and
natural talents and relationships and blessings and spiritual gifts and opportunities to serve God and
others—everything that has been given to you in this life. Everything exists for God’s glory. And
everything given to you was given so that you would steward it well for His glory. If we love our
Master, want to please Him, and use what He has given us to the best of our ability, even more will be
given to us in the life to come. If we hate our Master, neglect the responsibilities He’s entrusted to us,
and are more concerned with our own interests above His, even what we have now will be taken away
later. I like the acronym shape (S.H.A.P.E.) which stands for Spiritual Gifts, Heart Desires, Natural
Abilities, Personality Strengths, and Life Experiences He’s given you. These are your “talents.” How
well are you using each of yours for His glory? Decide today to dedicate time to continue to improve at
this. Here’s a few questions to help you determine which servant you’re acting like.
1. Do you feel Entrusted—or Fearful? The things you have are not yours - they’re God’s. The first
two servants felt entrusted. They were proud to have the trust of their master, to watch over His things.
They were eager to please him, to run to the bankers and accomplish good for His pleasure. They
joyfully accepted their responsibility. It wasn’t a burden or hassle. They loved their master, and they felt
loved back. They doubled the master’s return as a result. By contrast, it says the last servant felt fearful.
He didn’t want and actually rejected and neglected his responsibility. He didn’t manage it, he buried it.
He wasn’t proud. He wasn’t eager to please. He didn’t love. No, he was thinking of himself. He had an
EXCUSE. Rather than accepting responsibility for what he had been given, he blamed and insulted his
master. Are you grateful for what what He’s given you? And are you eager to steward it for His glory?
2. Are you Good—or Wicked? Remember Jesus said the last servant was wicked! Who we ARE
reflects what we DO. Matthew 7 teaches that if you truly belong to Jesus then you will be a good tree,
and if you’re a good tree you’ll bear good fruit with your life. Are you bearing good fruit?
3. Are you Faithful—or Lazy? Our faithfulness, to God, is our proper response to the undeserved
grace of God we’ve received. We demonstrate our faithfulness to Christ now, who first demonstrated His
love for us. We can be faithful, reliable, trustworthy, and loyal because His Spirit sanctifies, preserves,
and empowers us to do so. The laziness described in this parable is not the occasional lack of energy or
enthusiasm. We all have those days. It is the natural persistent response of the unsaved person. The
natural response of the persistently wicked who sees God as “hard” and has no relationship with Him.
This person will be lazy (i.e. unwilling) to use the talents entrusted to them—for God’s glory. Hebrews
11:6 says, “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must
believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” Your faithfulness, stewarding your life
for God’s glory, out of gratitude for the salvation that Jesus has purchased for you, is evidence of your
trust in Jesus. In John 15:8 Jesus said, “By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so
prove to be my disciples.” Ask yourself today: How can I use my “talents” and SHAPE for His glory?
Pray with me. Heavenly Father, thank You for everything You’ve given me. Help me feel proud to be
entrusted with such responsibility. Help me to act every day with a single goal in mind: Hearing one
day: “Well done! Good and Faithful servant! Enter into the JOY of your master!” In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Copyright © 2021. Brian S. Holmes. MPowered Christian Ministries. All rights reserved. https://MPoweredChristian.org
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Scripture quotations taken from Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.