Faith or Fear? How much faith do we need to please God? Like Jesus' Disciples, I have asked God to increase my faith in Him and in His word.
I have asked God for help many, many times for greater understanding of His word. Some answers come quickly, while others come later. One mystery for me has been the Parable of the Talents, or sometimes called the Parable of the Three Stewards.
What is a Talent? Is it money? How much money? Or is the message about something else?
This morning, through Reverend Dan Brown, God answered the mystery behind the parable.
Let's recap the parable that Jesus told His followers.
The master was going on a journey and would be gone for a period. I infer it to be a long period of time. His Talents, whether they were money, property, investments or the Kingdom of God, were to be left in the hands of three stewards. They were to manage the affairs of the master.
To one steward he gave 5 Talents, to the second steward he gave 2 Talents and to the third steward he gave 1 Talent… all according to their ability.
As the story goes, the master returned. He met with the three stewards to see how well they had managed his Talents.
The steward with 5 Talents had double the Talents to 10. The master was very pleased. Good job.
The steward with 2 Talents also doubled his Talents from 2 to 4. The master was very please and congratulated the steward.
The steward with 1 Talent spoke up. He explained, "Sir, I know that you are a hard man. You reap harvests where you do not sow and you gather crops where you do not scatter seed. I was afraid and I dug a hole and hid the Talent. Look! Here is what belongs to you."
The master was upset with the steward, took the Talent away from him and gave it to the steward with 10 Talents. He called him bad and lazy and explained that the least he could have done was to put the money in the bank to earn interest. The master called him useless and threw the steward out into the darkness.
If the meaning behind this story was money, I don't believe the master would have been as upset as he apparently was.
The lesson is more valuable than money. Read on...
But this story is not about money. It is about fear and faith and following the instructions of the master.
This story is about the departure of Jesus (Master) from his followers. He would be gone for an undisclosed period of time. He was delegating the responsibility of his talents (Kingdom) to His stewards, His followers. They were to nurture it and see that it grew. This was a serious responsibility and had great rewards when followed and great consequences if neglected.
By faith, these stewards were to invest in the Kingdom and to grow the Kingdom. They were to trust and believe in the work that Jesus taught and to carry on His work while He was gone. They will be richly rewarded and those who don't will receive severe judgment.
Jesus did not ask for more from each steward than each was capable of. The amount given to each was based on each steward's ability. The first steward could handle 5 Talents, the second could handle 2 Talents and the third steward could handle 1 Talent. The first two followed the instructions of Jesus to double the number of talents they received. The third steward feared and mistrusted the Lord and, because he was afraid, he buried the Talent. He did not use even the smallest amount of faith he had been given.
All that we have or will ever have is given to us by the Lord Jesus Christ. All our earthly belongings belong to God and are on loan from God.
The two stewards trusted the Lord, followed His instructions, and received increased responsibilities, and invited to enter the joy of their Lord.
The untrusting steward was scolded, rejected and punished and told to depart.
Stewards one and two lived by faith. They invested in God's Kingdom as given to them and received a return on their investment. The third steward lived in fear and therefore received no return on the Talent he was given.
We have a choice… to live our lives in faith or in fear. When we put our faith in our Master, the Lord Jesus Christ, he casts out all fear. Jesus taught his Disciples to live by faith. On one occasion, Jesus told them, "If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, 'be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it will obey you."
Like the steward with one Talent, we are not required to have a truckload of faith or a wagonload of abilities. But we are to use what we have. We can have a very small amount--as tiny as a mustard seed--and by using what we have been given, please God.
The apostles had asked the Lord to make their faith greater. The Lord used this occasion to tell them to use what they had been given, even if their faith was a tiny amount.
It is not the quantity of faith we have that allows us to do God's work, but where we have placed our faith. We are responsible for using our faith to the fullest for the Lord.
Faith in Jesus puts us in alignment with God and God's plan. Faith allows God to use us. As we seek to love God with all of our hearts and to love our neighbors, we get in a groove with Jesus and we can be and will be used by God. In this kind of groove, our investments in the Lord's work will multiply.
Faith or Fear? You decide!!!!