What does it mean to invest in God? Stephanie Nickel looks at the Parable of the Talents, and encourages us to invest in the works of God’s Kingdom.
Parable Of The Talents
“For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money.”
This passage of scripture, as do so many others in God’s Word, teaches spiritual truths using a story hearers could relate to.
Talents were units of currency in Bible times and we often forget that when reading Matthew 25. I would like to consider the implications of taking this passage literally and then move on to suggesting some ways we can apply the principles we learn from these verses. Some of us have much monetary wealth and some of us only a little. Either way, there are things we can—and should—learn from this passage.
First, we must look to God as the Source of all our material possessions. Even if we work hard to earn what we get, it is by the Lord’s grace that we have the wherewithal to do so. And there are times we are given far more than we deserve.
Though not everyone is blessed equally when it comes to finances, the expectations on all believers are the same: We are to invest wisely and offer back to the Lord what He gave us in the first place, as well as the return on our investment. Just what does that mean exactly?
Invest in His Kingdom
First what it doesn’t mean . . . It doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy our things, but we must be diligent to invest in the work of God’s kingdom. Furthering His kingdom must be more important to us than furthering our own. And what we do with our financial resources is a good indication of what is most important to us. (In fact, I posted this above my computer as a reminder. It is a lesson I am still learning.)
In today’s story the master went away. Now, while the Lord does not walk among us in physical form, we actually have many advantages over this master’s servants. God sends the Holy Spirit to dwell within His children. In addition, many of us have access to the Bible and Christian resource materials. Plus, we can learn from others who dig into God’s Word and learn how it applies to 21st century believers. There are even those who are financial experts and apply biblical principles to help us handle our money well, in a way that pleases God.
Invest In Our Abilities
We must make financial choices daily—and often several times a day. Will we ask the Lord for wisdom and direction? Will we consider how to best use our resources to further His kingdom? Will we willingly sacrifice spending money on things we want in order to bless those with greater needs than our own?
As I said earlier, there are those who apply the principles in this passage to other areas of life as well. What education do we have? What abilities do we have? What interests? God is directly involved in all of it and He wants us to invest wisely in order to return to Him what is truly His. He doesn’t want us to simply hide it away.
Here are just a few ideas of how we can live in a God-honouring way:
We can prayerfully seek opportunities to use our education to bless others, perhaps on the mission field or among the underprivileged.
It’s natural to focus on the things we would like to do but can’t. Instead, we should consider the abilities we already possess and those we could develop in the next little while. Again, we should prayerfully consider how we can use these abilities to further God’s kingdom and spread the gospel.
Invest in God
While using our abilities in a secular setting often gains us more recognition and financial gain, we must remind ourselves that God has blessed us for His purposes. Though God may not call us to what we refer to as full-time ministry, our primary responsibility is to make Christ known wherever we are.
I have eclectic interests and many things I would yet like to pursue, but I have come to the stage in life where I realize the only “To Do” list that really matters is the one God has for me. I want to invest my time, energy, talents, and yes, even my material resources in a way that honours Him. I do not always succeed by any means, but our faith walk is a journey.
We must share with our children what we understand today about furthering God’s kingdom and investing our resources wisely. We must also be willing to continue learning and share our new discoveries as we go.
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Images courtesy of:
Parable of the Talents- Unknown
Money- Heather Paque