Good & Trustworthy November 16, 2014

Judges 4:1-7 Psalm 76 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 Matthew 25:14-30

There was that one year at the part-time job that my boss was looking for strike three from me. You see, one spring Saturday I was allowed to load trucks with mulch. Whatever was going on weather-wise that day, it was wet that day. I fired up the backhoe and scooped up some mulch. It may have been me having nerves of having several people watch me, I don’t know. As I was dumping the bucket of mulch into the truck bed, I jerked a little bit. You guessed it, I shattered the man’s rear windshield on his pickup truck! Thankfully, the guy I was working with calmed the man down and the company’s insurance took care of replacing the man’s window.

Then that same year in the summer I was out with a crew installing some sort of pipe. It was either downspout drains or a new septic system. But it was lunch time. So I got to drive the company truck to the local convenience store in Dellroy, Ohio. Frank, one of the dump truck drivers, was my passenger. We stopped in the busy store and Frank went in to get something for lunch. Cars and delivery trucks were all around the truck I was driving. After Frank gets back in the truck, I try to pull out. It was a busy time at the intersection of State Routes 39 and 542. It looked clear. It was also the time I learned that it is illegal in Ohio to back out from a parking lot into traffic. I had to cross the westbound lane to get into the eastbound lane, which is what was illegal. It took the town police officers over an hour to figure out what I did wrong! Needless to say, the company insurance took care of repairing the older gentleman’s very old car. When I went to Mayor’s court, I was a bit nervous. I was thinking of the points I would get on my license, possible restrictions on driving, and losing my job. My boss knew the mayor and had a conversation with the mayor before the court date. My case was dismissed. I have not been so happy!

I don’t remember if I had a strike three. I did work for that boss for about seven years as I was going through high school and college. It was good to have a boss who treated his employees well. I have seen this man several times since then and have had good conversations with him.

Reading Matthew 25:14-30 reminded me of those stories. As a teenager, I was responsible for a man’s company one day a week. As an adult I gained more responsibility in my boss’s company. So I knew what it was like enter into the joy of my master. However, without getting strike three, I never knew what weeping and gnashing of teeth was all about. And I still don’t want to find out about weeping and gnashing of teeth in the outer darkness.

Jesus has already entered Jerusalem for his final week of life before his crucifixion. Part of his sermon to the disciples and the crowd is this parable about the talents. I think you and I can see that this parable is more than only about the 8 talents. This parable is about honoring our master and how our master gives to us.

A. The master gives talents before he goes on a journey (25:14-15)
+++1. He trusted his slaves with his possessions
+++2. Each slave received according to his abilities
+++3. Jesus is describing the kingdom of heaven. In comparing this parable with this kingdom, Jesus is going to show us much about ourselves and him. The slaves help us to understand the master.

B. The slaves have the ability to have the talents (25:16-18)
+++1. The slave with 5 talents – traded with them and gained 5 more talents
+++2. The slave with 2 talents – traded with them and gained 2 more talents
+++3. The slave with 1 talent – hid his master’s money in a hole in the ground
+++4. I don’t know about you, but it is neat to see someone use their abilities. For two of the slaves to double what they had received is great. Whatever ability they had, they used it in being faithful to their master. It does not appear that the 1 talent slave used his ability at all. The master will have something to say to each of his slaves.

C. The master settles accounts with his slaves (25:19-28)
+++1. To the slave with 5 talents – you were faithful, you will be in charge of many things, enter into the joy of your master
+++2. To the slave with 2 talents – you were faithful, you will be in charge of many things, enter into the joy of your master
+++3. To the slave with 1 talent – you knew me, you didn’t even gain interest on the talent, take his talent away!
+++4. The master sure does know how to reward his slaves! The slaves who earned more talents had a heap of praise given to them. That other slave, well he did not receive any praise. He actually had the talent given to him taken away. But the master is not quite done with his slaves.

D. This extra is not expected (25:29-30)
+++1. The master will give more to those who have abundance
+++2. The master take away even what the one who does not have
+++3. The worthless slave who does not use his ability will be cast away from the master
+++4. Weeping and gnashing of teeth
++++++a. weeping – regret for not using your abilities
++++++b. gnashing of teeth – being angry with oneself for not doing what knowing needed to be done
5. The master in this parable does not operate as we think he should. He gives to his slaves as they use their abilities. And then he gives more! To those who don’t use their abilities, they get separated from their master. And that is not a place where we want to be.

My boss at my first job sure was gracious. It was good to work for him. That job ended on good terms.

Now that you and I are working for Jesus, we are expecting great things to happen. We want enter into our master’s joy. Let us be faithful to him as we use the abilities he has given us. For we know that if do not use our abilities for him, then we will be cast into the outer darkness.

I believe Jesus was encouraging his hearers to remain faithful to him. Jesus will give us more than we think we deserve. Entering the kingdom of heaven is about being in the joy of your master. How do you want to be found when Jesus returns? Will Jesus say of you that you are good and trustworthy? Or will Jesus cast you into the outer darkness?

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