Lessons From The Two-Talent Servant (Part 2)
By bro Justin Kwan
We Will Be Held Accountable
We must use our talents to serve God and society because God will hold us accountable for how we are using the talents He has bestowed upon us according to our abilities.
While there exist exceptionally gifted and multi-talented individuals, the majority of us are like that two-talent servant, not blessed in all aspects, but blessed in our own special way. For example, some of us may not have a flair for public speaking but may have the flair for writing bulletin articles. Some of us may not be good at organising and planning for church events, but do very well at benevolent work reaching out to elderly brethren and uplifting the weak. There's a part for everyone in the Lord's Kingdom and we all have a talent that can be of service to God. What God desires is for each of us to maximise the talents that He has given us.
The unfaithful servant in the parable did not waste the master’s money; he wasted an opportunity. As a result, he was judged wicked and lazy. I am sure we have all felt that sense of wasted opportunity from time to time when it relates to using our abilities for God. It could be the opportunity we wasted not sharing the gospel with a friend or, a bible class lesson we turned down because we wanted to spend more time on ourselves. We are responsible for what we have been given, and one day we will be held accountable.
Do Not Let Fear Paralyse Us
The one-talent servant hid his only talent in the ground until his master returned. Why did he do that? In v24-25, he tries to justify his actions by saying he was fearful of his master being a demanding and hard man. But isn’t his behaviour puzzling? Shouldn’t his fear spur him into action? As the master so rightly pointed out, the least he could have done was to deposit the money in the bank which would have earned him some interest.
When faced with stressful situations – whether something environmental, such as a looming work deadline, or psychological, such as persistent worry about losing a job – the human body produces a fight-flight-freeze response. In the case of the one-talent servant, that fear produced a “freeze” response and caused him to make such an irrational decision. He was hoping that by not doing anything and just keeping that one talent hidden safely underground, he would be able to escape his master’s wrath.
Conversely, the two-talent servant did just the opposite. He too must have been aware of his master’s high expectations and must have experienced the same fear that his other colleague felt. However, he did not let that fear paralyse him into inaction. He was better off than his one-talent colleague and he did all that he could within his capacity to double what he started off with.
Fear loses its power when we actively trust God more than what we fear. As the Psalmist says,
“I sought the Lord, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears.” (Ps 34:4)
In a society that places great emphasis on one’s academic qualifications, profession and accumulation of wealth to determine one’s level of success in life, it is no wonder that some feel inferior and inadequate to those who are deemed by societal standards to be more successful than them.
However, God did not create all man to be equal. Each of us is bestowed with differing abilities and talents and when this life is over, we will all have to give an account of our lives to God. Can we be comfortably assured that we have maximised the talents given to us? Will Jesus say to us, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.”?
While we await our master Jesus’ return, what will we do with the talents that we have? The two-talent servant was not as endowed as the five-talent servant was. Nevertheless, he did what he could within his abilities and found favour in his master’s eyes. Likewise, we have been blessed with enough to serve God and others. Don’t let our fear of inadequacy paralyse us into inaction or cause us to languish in self-pity. Always remember that we serve a just and fair God who will only hold us accountable for what we are capable of.