“I want this, Mama. Oh, and I want this.” The four-year-old girl stood by her mother in the checkout line at discount retailer and fell captive to the allure of the impulse aisle. She selected everything from dog biscuits and nail polish to a travel cup and orange slice candies. The other shoppers smiled and chuckled as the girl’s mother placed an item back on the shelf, only to have her daughter snatch up another treasure somewhere else. In the end, the little girl left the store, skipping beside her mother, clutching a new travel cup.
Stewardship of Money
The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein.
parable of the talents
In Matthew 25:14–30 we find Jesus’s parable of the talents. While some scholars specify that this passage applies to Jews during the Tribulation, a time of extreme suffering before Christ returns, its principles apply to us today. In the story, a landowner prepares to go away on a long journey and entrusts his property and work to three employees. He gives five talents to the first, two to the second, and one to the third. The word “talent” here, talanta, was a unit of money that equaled six thousand denarii. The singular denarius was a “Roman silver coin which amounted to one day’s wage in Jesus’ time.” One talent, then, was “roughly equivalent to what a laborer might earn in twenty years.” In this story, the landowner wasn’t distributing lunch money and sending his workers on their way. He was doling out our version of the lottery.
When the landowner returned, the first two employees had used his wages responsibly and garnered profits for the owner. The last employee, having feared misusing his one talent, had buried it in the ground, which was a common practice then to safeguard money. Imagine being that employee, standing there with a bucket of talents coated in dirt. As one commentary notes, “Grace never condones irresponsibility; even those given less are obligated to use and develop what they have.” The third worker’s fear robbed him of the joy of serving his employer and reaping the rewards of his labor.
recap of the tenants: what counts
This week’s study has marked our biblical bounds in the field of money:
- God owns everything.
- Motivation matters.
- Exploitation of others and the love of money are corrupt.
- We are to be content.
The parable of the talents reminds us that our life’s work carries eternal value. Yet, “While we complain about our rights here on earth, the Bible constantly asks, What about your responsibilities?” writes author Bob Peele. “Owners have rights; stewards have responsibilities.” As managers of God’s financial resources, how are we doing? How are we using God’s money responsibly? Is fear holding us back from investing our money and our God-given gifts (which exceed a simple tally of our bank statements)? Or are we like the little girl in the checkout line, chasing momentary treasures instead of banking on eternal rewards?
Watch Session Three
Being Generous With Your Money
Go online to see your bank statement for the past quarter. Review your spending habits. What do they reveal? Where could you apply the lessons from this week?
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