According to the parable of the talents in Matthew 25, what brings about
the abundant life in our lives?
If the unity of believers is not centered in what denomination we belong
to or in our form of worship, outside of basic morality, what does our unity
Jesus tells the following parable in the Gospel of Matthew,
"For it is just like a man about to go on a journey who called his own
slaves, and entrusted his possessions to them. And to one he gave five talents,
to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he
went on his journey.
"Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded
with them, and gained five more talents. In the same manner the one who had
received the two talents gained two more. But he who received the one talent
went away and dug in the ground, and hid his master’s money.
"Now after a long time the master of these slaves came and settled
accounts with them. And the one who had received the five talents came up and
brought five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you entrusted five talents to me;
see, I have gained five more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done,
good and faithful slave; you were faithful with a few things, I will put you in
charge of many things, enter into the joy of your master.’
"The one also who had received the two talents came up and said, ‘Master,
you entrusted to me two talents, see, I have gained two more talents.’ His
master said to him, ‘Well done good and faithful slave, you were faithful with
a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of
"And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, ‘Master,
I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where
you scattered no seed. And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in
the ground; see, you have what is yours.’ But his master answered and said to
him, ‘You wicked lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow, and
gather where I scattered no seed. Then you ought to have put my money in the
bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest.
Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten
talents.’ For to everyone who has shall more be given, and he shall have an
abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be
taken away. And cast out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that
place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matt 25:14-30).
As was shared earlier, Jesus said He came that we might have life and have it
abundantly. According to Jesus in this parable, part of this abundant life is
realized through the development of one’s abilities and talents. Not only is
the abundant life realized through the development of one’s abilities and
talents, but Jesus promises fullness of joy through faithfulness to the
development and use of one’s abilities and talents as Jesus reveals them to
us. He also promises that as we are faithful to that which he has given to us
that he will give us more.
I used to think this parable referred to when we died and went to heaven,
that Jesus, in this way would reward us according to our faithfulness down here
on earth. It does mean this as well, but through personal life experience I have
come to realize that these promises are fulfilled while here as well. Many years
ago the Lord led me to go into a two year electronic technician program. He made
plain to me that He did not want me to do anything else until the two year
program was completed. More than two years later, one night I was reading the
last chapter of one of my texts books which completed the two year program. The
Lord came to me in my spirit and said, "Well done good and faithful
servant. Because you have been faithful in little, I am going to put you in
charge of much." He then called me an Evangelist, Overseer, Teacher. He
gave me three more talents. This program of Evangelism is part of the
development and fulfillment of these three talents.
Not only at that point did Jesus give me three more talents, but since that
time I have had a greater sense of fulfillment, purpose in living, and a clearer
understanding of who I am and my place in the kingdom of Jesus than I had before
the completion of the two year program in electronics. I have a greater
experiential reality of the joy of the Lord and sense of fulfillment now that I
have completed my formal education in theology. Over the years the Lord has
increased my giftedness even more as I have been true to Him and walked with Him
This again is part of the meaning of the cross. Not only through the cross
has Jesus freed us from the penalty of sin, death, and focus on our needs and
problems, but through Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection, we are
assured Jesus’ provision and power to fulfill His purpose and plan for our
lives as we by faith choose to walk in obedience to His revealed will in our
lives. In the context of the present discussion, this means submitting to the
development of our abilities and talents he has given and called us to.
Jesus said in the Gospel of Matthew, "But continually seek first His
kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."
(Matt 6:33). We are continually seeking Jesus kingdom and righteousness when we
are obeying His presently known will in our lives.
You may say you know what Jesus wants you to do with your life, but you do
not have the material means to do it. If it is Jesus will then according to 2
Peter 1:10-11 Jesus will provide what is necessary to fulfill His will. Remember
in Chapter 13 of Section 4 I shared how when Jesus made plain to me it was His
will that I go to a Christian University and complete my studies in theology, I
told the Lord, "Jesus, I do not have the money. If you really want me to go
then please provide the financial means." He did.
You first determine God’s will for your life according to the Apostle Paul’s
command in Ephesians 5:15-17,
"Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise,
making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be
foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is."
Second, you determine what is needed materially to fulfill God’s will, and
then by faith believe Jesus to provide these needs according to Paul and John’s
"And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory
in Christ Jesus." (Phil 4:19).
"And this is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask
anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in
whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from
Him." (1 John 5:14-15).
Jesus assures us that if we ask Him for anything that is needed to fulfill
His will, we can be assured the prayer is heard and know we have what we have
I believe it is important to note that this passage in Matthew clearly
teaches that if you know what Jesus’ will for Your life is and do not obey it,
you can lose your salvation.35
"Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has
the ten talents. . . . And cast out the worthless slave into the outer darkness;
in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
Part of salvation is confessing Jesus as Lord according to the Apostle Paul
in Romans 10:9-10. Paul makes plain in this passage that confession of Jesus as
Savior and Lord of our lives results in our salvation. As Lord
means to obey Him. This again is part of the meaning of the cross. Without the
cross, the Bible tells us plainly that Jesus’ Lordship in our lives cannot be
realized because our sins put a barrier between ourselves and God. Isaiah the
"Behold, the Lord’s hand is not so short that it cannot save; neither
is His ear so dull that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have made a
separation between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you,
so that He does not hear." (Isaiah 59:1-2).
However, Jesus’ death and resurrection have removed this barrier of sin.36
We are now able to receive the will and plan Jesus has for our lives if we come
to Him on the basis of His death and shed blood.37 But if Jesus is
not Lord of your life, Paul says you cannot be saved. The message in Romans
above plainly says that confessing Jesus as Lord as well as putting our trust in
His death and shed blood for our sins ". . . results in salvation."
This is why religion cannot save us. Religion is not Jesus’ Lordship over
our lives. Religion actually is an excuse for not submitting to Jesus’
Lordship over our lives. Concerning religious rituals and acts, the prophet
"Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in
obeying the voice of the Lord? For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and
insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry. . . ." (1 Sam 15:22-23).
Jesus died on the cross not only to free us of sin, but also to free us of
religious non-profit actions so that we could focus on His Lordship over our
lives. Jesus’ death on the cross paid the total dept of our sins. There is
nothing we can do to add to what Jesus has done. We are now freed from
salvation through obedience to the Law so that we can now focus on the will and
plan that Jesus has for our lives. This involves the development and use of our
abilities and talents.
The Christian’s concern in life is not food or clothing or even his own
personal problems. The Christian’s only concern is Jesus’ plainly known
Lordship over his life and this alone. Jesus said about His own life and
ministry as a human being on earth, which was a living example of how Jesus
wants us to relate to Him, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me
and to accomplish His work." (John 4:34). Toward the end of Jesus’ ministry
He said in the Gospel of John,
"Father, the hour has come, glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify
You. . . . I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work
which You have given Me to do." (John 17:1, 4).
Jesus glorified the Father by submitting to His will and plan for His life
while a human on earth which partly involved His death on the cross for our
In another passage of Scripture Jesus said, "It is written, ‘Man shall
not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of
God.’" (Matt 4:4). Since we are no longer under the Law, this is
referring to Jesus’ personal dictates to our lives through the ministry of the
Holy Spirit. When we are obeying Jesus’ words to our lives individually
through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, we are submitting to Jesus’ Lordship
over our lives and glorifying Jesus with our lives. Glorifying Jesus means to
obey His will and plan for our lives revealed through the Holy Spirit.
I believe that if this was realized and practiced out by all Christians in
the Church, unity in the Church would be realized. This is because the focus of
our unity would be Jesus’ Lordship and He does not work against Himself. Jesus
said in Matthew 12:25, "Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste;
and any city or house divided against itself shall not stand." Jesus does
not work against Himself.
The focus of our unity is not our denominational methods, theologies, or form
of worship. Jesus is our way, truth, life, and Lord; not our theologies or
methods. Jesus’ Lordship in our lives individually can lead to denominational
involvement, but not because it is the only right way of worshiping God, but
because it is His plan for us individually. Our differences are not what cause
our disunity, but rather our misunderstanding of what it means for Jesus to be
Lord of our lives individually as related to the body corporately.
Instead of seeking Jesus’ will for the individual Christian in need in our
midst, we are instead comparing who Jesus has called us to be individually with
who He has called them to be individually and then trying to push that person
into the mold Jesus designed for us, not for them. If this is not Jesus’ will
for the individual Christian in need, it will not meet his need, but will
instead lead him into religious-strife, confusion and condemnation.
Others do not practice your form of worship because Jesus has not called them
to do so. If that person is doing what he is doing out of relationship with
Jesus, he is just as spiritual as you are if what you are doing is out of your
relationship with Jesus. Your commonness and unity does not lie in who you are
individually, but in the Lord and source of who You are: Jesus Christ!38