Are We Five Talent Investors?
Matthew 25:14-30 tells the parable of the talents. We know it without looking it up. There are three servants, three gifts, one failure.
If it were only that simple, we could dismiss it. But it’s not. This story is about generosity and not ours. It’s also an investment story and invites us to see ourselves as investors not hoarders. So let’s take another look.
The Master generously gifts his servants with resources they did not earn. The gifts come with stipulations. The master is grooming his servants for their place in running his household. Hidden in the gift is a test: What will they do with the gift and the master’s instructions?
From the beginning, the gifts are not their own to spend. The gifts are theirs to invest. The master didn’t want protected resources; he wanted multiplied resources.
How the servants responded to the gifts revealed their relationship to their master. The five talent servant is excited to invest his gift. Perhaps he watched his master’s investment strategies. Now he can practice them. It is clear he wants to reproduce His master’s generosity.
The two talent servant showed similar initiative. He did not compare gifts and think his gift less than generous. The second servant also left with excitement to reproduce his master’s investment in him.
The one talent servant was scared from the beginning. He did not understand his master’s generosity. No doubt he believed the world had robbed him too many times. He couldn’t risk losing again, so he couldn’t risk generosity. He turned inward and buried his gift for safe keeping. His gift was of no use to himself or anyone else.
The first two servants doubled their gifts. Their excitement pleased the master as much or more as the doubled return.
But the one talent man was severely reprimanded. Hoarding and hiding never equals generosity.
What are our lessons? Here are five:
1. Everything is gift.
Every piece of furniture, every dollar, every family member, every friend, every day of work or ministry, every day of breath. .All is gift. We aren’t owners in this world. We are investors only because of the generosity of God, the Great Giver.
2. Never be afraid to invest what God has given.
This includes more than money and things. It is about everything God gives: time, friendship, forgiveness, patience, and affirmation. We review how much God has given us and we invest His gifts. Besides, this story reminds us that as we invest, God gives us more to invest.
3. Joy is the first reward of investment.
We are not just pleased with ourselves. We are humbled by God’s generosity. We find our deepest joy because we are reproducing the heart and character of God. Any investment that does not reproduce God’s heart becomes self-serving.
4. Investing is never irresponsible toward people or resources.
We don’t invest recklessly and waste God’s resources to us. We don’t invest to bring attention to our gifts. We invest to give God complete freedom to reproduce what we cannot.
5. Dare to invest as a five-talent investor.
I don’t think we’re supposed to wonder if we are five talent or two talent servants. I think we’re supposed to focus on God’s extravagance. We have so many five talent gifts. The question is are we five talent investors? Or do we divide our gifts between what we must keep for ourselves and what we can afford to share?
When I’m truthful, I admit I lean toward saving but don’t always understand what I’m saving for. I want to reproduce the heart of my generous God. I don’t want to end my life as a saver with stuff somebody else has to give away. I want to be a five talent investor.
Our broken world needs more five talent investors. God has more than enough resources to share but He needs more investors. The question is not whether we have anything to invest. The question is whether we trust God’s generosity enough to invest it. Remember: the bigger the investment; the greater the joy!
If you want to take the story deeper, here's a five minute Bible Study for you:
Review Matthew 25:14-30
Then, answer the following questions based on what you already do or what you need God's help to do.
1. How do I practice God’s kind of generosity?
Proverbs 11:24-25, NLT
Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything.
The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be
2. Does generosity always involve money?
Proverbs 3:27-28, NLT
Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help
them. If you can help your neighbor now, don’t say, “Come back tomorrow, and
then I’ll help you.”
3. How does my generosity affect the faith community?
Malachi 3:10, NLT
"Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my
Temple. If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!"
4. What generosity principle does God follow?
Luke 6:38, NLT
Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.
5. What is the result of cultivating generosity by God’s standards?
2 Corinthians 9:8, NLT
And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.
Based on these scriptures, what investment plan does God want you to activate?
If you want to download this as a 2-page worksheet, click here:
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