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Subject: TALENT
Complement: Talent can be a blessing or a curse. Use it for God’s glory.
Idea: How to make use of the talents God gave us? Be productive, Work with what talent you have, each one has different talents, watch personal motives, recognize accountability, never despise heaven’s gifts.


Growing up as a kid in the church, I greatly admired those church members who are talented and who actively participated in the church programs. Particularly, I got stuck on those who sing admirably to a point of chalking or pentel penning their names on the walls of our house. If the name is of a girl, I engraved it on the wooden jamb of our house using a nail to conceal it from sight. Of course, carefulness is there because, if my parents or sisters happen to read the name, they might suspect I got a crush on her. I had their names chalked, penned or engraved because I wanted to sing comparably well as them or be admired like them.
Unfortunately, some of them left the church or are no longer alive because of some ill-fortune that happened to them. Some of them chose to use their talent in worldly pursuit. Some had stopped using it for God’s glory. That house where I had there names penned and engraved had been since broken down. The thought to relate or be admired like them broke down with it, too. Today, I still respect or sometimes get stock-on those who have admirable talents. However, I realized that God is the source of these talents and gives each individual a talent/talents according to his/her ability. This/these talent/s may be a blessing or a curse. To become a blessing, it must be used for God’s glory.
The title of our message is: Talent: a blessing and a curse, use it for God’s glory.
Our focus is on Matthew 25:14-30.
Matthew 25:14–30 (ESV)
“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. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’


The passage is an extended metaphor, also called a parable. It refers to a man who went on a journey. The parable does not state where he went, what is his purpose, and how long he would be away. What is implied is that the man would go to a far away place and would take sometime before he would be back.
Before he left, he ascertained to transfer his power and authority to someone to care of and administer the affairs of his property while he is gone. His property is sizable that it just cannot be entrusted to only one person. Or, most probably, he was acting equitably towards his servants giving them proportionate opportunity to perform according to their ability. As a wise man, he divided his “royal fortune into portions of five talents (vv. 15, 16, 20 bis), two talents (vv. 15, 22 bis), and one talent (vv. 24, 25, 28)” to his three servants. [Horst Robert Balz and Gerhard Schneider, Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1990–), 332.]
A talent is a measure of weight which is equivalent to 25-36 kgs. The value depends on the metal involved, like gold, silver or copper, and on various times and places. In this parable, the amount distributed is not a small change. The NIV translated the word “talent” as a bag of gold. That means that a bag of gold is equivalent to 25-36 kgs of gold. I recently checked the price of gold in the Philippines. If the talent is given today, 1 gram of gold is worth php2,983.20. That means that a kilo of gold is worth php2,983,195.34. This amount is close to two years worth of fulltime PhD studies. If one talent is equal to 26kgs, multiply it to php2,983,195.34, it is worth to php77,563,078.84. If the one servant was given 5 talents, that is worth a whopping php387,815,394.20. If the amount is doubled, not a small change indeed! Even during Jesus’s time, it still meant a lot of money!
By the way, the rest of the calculation, please do it yourself. I am now actually dizzy thinking about this amount of money. Well, the treasurers eyes would lighten if they indeed have this amount of money in their hands. At least they can sleep for a month not thinking of where to get money to pay for the salary of their employees and expenditures of their company. MVC can also send at least 60 faculty for a four-year doctorate studies. Well, with this sizable amount of talent, the master will never permit the talents get squandered or wasted. Instead, he expects that while he is gone, his servants will do well in their responsibilities - to care and administer the talents entrusted to them. So he left on a journey. Immediately, the two servants engaged in financial enterprise. With intelligence and diligence, they engaged in business and traded with the talents entrusted to them. Unfortunately, the one who is entrusted with one portion foolishly hid it in the ground. Hiding treasures in the ground during Jesus's time was a common occurrence. However, as Jesus pointed out in his teachings, hiding talents in the ground is not the best way to keep it. The metals may get rusty and lose its value. Or, others may find it and get lost. Hiding the talent means negligence and irresponsibility.
Alas, after a long time of absence, the master arrived from his journey . It seems like yesterday he’s gone but now he's around. First things first after his arrival was to settle the account for the talents he entrusted to his servants. He found out that two had their portions doubled (vv. 20, 22, 28). Thus, they were commended with the sweetest blessings, Εὖ, δοῦλε ἀγαθὲ καὶ πιστέ, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” They were also given greater responsibilites compared to the talents entrusted to them. But the other one had his portion neglected because of fear, irresponsibility and slothfulness. He thought only of his own convenience and was unwilling “to make even a safe choice to earn interest on the money” entrusted to him. These disqualifications made him an unworthy servant. Predictably, the master’s assessment was immediate and severe. He cast the wicked and slothful servant into the darkness. He was separated and removed from the presence of the living and thrown into the company of the dead to receive his punishment. He was cursed!
In the parable, it is revealed that it was the “joy of the master” to give the servants talents. Also, it shows that “success breeds success, and failure compounds until there is nothing left,” according to Douglas Mangum.


This parable is stated in the context of Jesus’s second coming and the end of the age. Jesus’s disciples were asking about the time of Jesus coming and what would be the signs. He answered by telling them about the signs of his coming, which includes the destruction of the eartly temple, that no one knows the time about his coming, what would be the situation of those waiting for his coming, how should they act while waiting for his coming, and the description of the last judgment. This parable falls on the category of how should his disciples act while waiting for his coming.
In this parable, the master refers to Jesus Christ who would soon return to his Father in heaven. The servants refers to his present disciples, and by extension to all the followers of Jesus. Jesus promised that he would come back to take them soon (John 14:1-3) but is uncertain of the time of his return. The talent/s represent/s the responsibility he gives them. “He expects them to be enterprising with the resources entrusted to them, even though he seems to be absent.” [Andrew Knowles, The Bible Guide, 1st Augsburg books ed. (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg, 2001), 436.] Their enterprise should focus on promoting and progressing God’s kingdom while waiting for Christ’s return.
Here are some take aways I would like to share with you.

A. Be productive, occupy

God wants His followers to use the talent of means in His service. [Ellen Gould White, Sermons and Talks, vol. 2 (Ellen G. White Estate, 1994), 202.] Use the talent that God gave you. The more you use it, the more it multiplies. You can develop your talents by practicing, learning, and participating in your God-given responsibility.
When God gives you something, he will give you even more of it if you use it well—more talent, money, influence, relationships, or responsibility. He says, “I can trust that person. I’m going to give that person more and more and more.” []
Where can you start? In your small group of believers in church, school, or singing group.

B. Work with what you have

Sermons and Talks, Volume 2 (The Improvement of Our Talents)
I must use to the very best advantage that which is given me. I must not waste one jot or tittle of my powers in the gratification of appetite or pride of appearance. In my family I must be a faithful teacher, training my children for the future, immortal life. I must teach them to be honest and truthful, kind and patient. I myself must be all that I desire my children to be; for in speaking of His disciples, Christ said, ‘For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also might be sanctified’ ” (John 17:19).

C. Each one has a talent or a gift from the Holy Spirit

God gives each one a talent through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit at least gives one gift to a person. Yet, some are given two or five gifts. Some have at least one talent, when used to benefit others and build God’s kingdom, it becomes a spiritual gift. Apostle Paul outlines nine (9) gifts of the Holy Spirit: word of wisdom, word of knowledge, the gift of prophecy, the gift of faith, the gift of healing, the working of miracles, the discerning of the spirits, speaking in tongues, and the interpretation of tongues.
These gifts are given to “help and aid not only in your personal walk with God, but can be used to help other people out as special needs and circumstances arise in their lives” [].

D. Watch personal motives

Motives can influence human behavior. “Some motives are higher and more noble than others which are low and corrupt. We should always strive to reach high motives, but we must take people where they are and then lead them to where we believe God wants them to be.” [Jac Colón, Persuasive Influence without Undue Pressure (Jac Colón, 1985), 31.] Sometimes good can come out from wrong motives.
In Paul’s time particularly in Philippi, preachers preach Christ with wrong motives. “Paul had a great concern for motives in the ministry. This is evidenced by the way he defended his own motives when he was attacked (1 Thess 1–2; 1 Cor 1–4; 2 Cor) and his warnings regarding other preachers’ motives (2 Tim 3:1–9; Titus 1:10–11).” [Richard R. Melick, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon, vol. 32, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1991),77, 81].
Ministry is not confined to the pastor’s work. It covers the whole facet of life’s work. What are our motives in the ministry? Is it not for personal gain or to please people? Is there no attempt to mislead with words of flattery nor with a pretext for greed?
As Paul indicates, our conduct towards others should be in holiness, righteousness, and blamelessness. “Walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls everyone “into his own kingdom and glory” (1 Thess 2:10-12). “The apostle Paul encouraged this selfless, other-motivated, and directed kind of love because it reflects the relationship of Christ and his church (Eph. 5:21–33)” [Andrew E. Hill and John H. Walton, A Survey of the Old Testament, n.d.].
1 Thessalonians 2:12 (ESV)
we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.
Christianity Today, 2012, Volume 56, Numbers 1–11 (Under Discussion: Does Motive Matter If a Ministry Is Doing Good Deeds? (Ruth Moon))DANIEL AKINpresident, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
“God is just as concerned with the means as he is with the end. Scripture routinely talks about the importance of our heart. How we go about doing something is deeply important to the ends that it is accomplishing.” DANIEL AKIN

E. Recognize accountability, stewardship

God holds us accountable for the talents/gifts he entrusted to us. He requires us to work out and enhance whatever talents/gifts/opportunities we have to promote God’s kingdom. He needs us to engage in worthwhile pursuits to restore the lost image of God in man and to motivate others to have a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.
The temptations to sin are very great, and a lessened degree of accountability makes yielding to temptation more likely [Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, n.d.].
The counsel to us is to do what is required of man: to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God (Mic 6:8). Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going (Eccl 9:10).

F. Never despise heaven’s gifts

The talents/gifts/opportunities we posses are heaven’s gifts. Every good gift comes from God throug the power of the Holy Spirit (Matt 7:11). By God’s heavenly grace, he gave these gifts to keep us away from sinning and getting lost in this wicked and sinful world. He gave the gifts to set our hearts and minds on heavenly things and not on things on earth. He gave these gifts to save others and to keep ourselves in the saving relationship with Jesus. Neglecting these gifts mean eternal lose and eternal damnation.
Illustration: Hazen Foss, received two visions.
Hazen, Mary’s brother-in-law [Mary was the wife of Samuel Foss], is remembered “as a man of fine appearance, pleasing address, and education.” Prior to October 22, 1844, he had a vision depicting the journey of the Adventists (Millerites) to the city of God. He was instructed to make known this vision along with specific messages of warning, but he declined.
After October 22 he felt that he had been misled by his earlier vision. In his second vision, he was warned that if he was not faithful in relating the first vision, the vision and the responsibility would be taken from him and given to one with much fewer qualifications. He continued to dread the potential ridicule and rejection of his fellow Millerites. Finally he believed he heard a voice saying, “You have grieved away the Spirit of the Lord.”
Frightened by this prospect, he called a meeting to relate the vision. But, after making several unsuccessful attempts to recall it, he declared: “It is gone from me; I can say nothing, the Spirit of the Lord has left me.” Some in attendance reported the meeting as “the most terrible meeting they were ever in.”
Do not neglect the gift of the Holy Spirit. You might, in the end, regret that you despised the working of the Holy Spirit in your life. Prosper it in order to receive heaven’s blessed reward.


God is so gracious that he gave precious talent/gift/opportunity to bless us. He gave it to keep us focused on doing God’s work in saving lost humanity until Jesus comes. Use it in fulfilling your God-given responsibility. Each may have only one talent but use it at our advantage and to bless others. The more it is used, the more it multiplies. Do not be men pleasers but as pleasers of God. Remember, God holds us responsible over the use of the talent/gift/opportunity entrusted to us. It is so precious that by neglect it becomes a curse and is tantamount to neglecting the Holy Spirit. It is so precious that by the use it for God’s purposes, it blesses us and blesses others. By prospering it, we fulfill God’s joy.
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