The Purpose of Life
Parable of Talents Matthew 25:14-30
It has been estimated that man will live roughly 25,550 days upon this earth, (70 yrs) that is if you are a typical individual Psa 90:10 states:
10The days of our lives are seventy years; And if by reason of strength they are eighty years, Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; ........ 12So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Please observe the Psalmist does not ask God to teach us to number our years, but rather our days. Man is not promised even tomorrow... James said: “14For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.” James 4:14
Life is indeed short and the Bible is replete with passages which substantiate this fact. Job also spoke regarding the brev·i·ty of life, He says “My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle,” Job 7:6 Again “For when a few years are finished, I shall go the way of no return.” Job 16:22
But why does the Holy Spirit go to such lengths to show us life’s uncertainty? Many suppose that since life is so short, we should live for the things that make us happy. Eat - Drink -And Be Merry
However the emphasis of scripture is not so much upon how much time we have, but rather how we spend our allotted days here. Jesus lived a relatively short life, didn’t He? A mere 33 years or son was the extend of That life. But He seized the opportunities placed before Him. Jesus gives us this terse commentary of His life in John 8:29
29“And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.”
Jesus really understood the value of using time wisely, when we stop to consider ; that one life, our Lord’s, has impacted the world more than any other. Is it not interesting that we only have an account of but three years of His life, and that is not detailed for us.. Notice John’s Statement
And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written”. John 21:25
We are prone to think that the Bible gives so little of His first 30 years, but Luke gives us a significant glimpse into those years. The first glimpse is in Luke 2:40
the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace
of God was upon Him..”
Luke continues to give us insight into the young years of Christ at the
tender age of twelve, Having gone
Men struggle to find real significance today, for their lives ... Living with much luxury and ease, yet all to often we are utterly miserable. Listings of psychologists and psychiatrist adorn the pages of our phone directories. Why?
Because we are a nation mentally sick, searching for purpose because of our severed relationships with our Creator. God has made man in His very image (Gen 1:26). There is a spiritual side to our nature, and that spirit nature longs to be with its Creator. God has made man in such a way to seek Him and to grope alone in order to be with Him Acts 17:27. Man longs to be with his Creator.
Solomon emphatically declared: Eccl 3:11
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. but He also hath put eternity in their hearts”. Ecclesiastics chapter three is a very meaningful passage I recommend it to you for you private studies.. But here notice that God has eternity into the hearts of men. We delight in the creation of God, realizing all our works will not continue, but we are not content our hearts yearn for and God.
Consider then the greatness of Solomon, as a model of how to be successful in this world. He had fame, fortune, women, anything and everything that money could buy. Yet when he observed life in the close of the book Ecclesiastes, he did so this way:
“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. 14For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil”. Eccl 12:13-14
The prophet Isaiah gives us man’s purpose in the words of the Lord (Isaiah 43:7) “every one that is called by my name, and whom I have created for my glory, whom I have formed, yea, whom I have made”
The Psalmist reminds us : Psalm 19:1
“The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork. 2Day unto day utters speech, And night unto night reveals knowledge. 3There is no speech nor language Where their voice is not heard.”
Isn’t it strange that everything God has created for His glory fulfills their purpose, except man who was the very pentacle of creation. We still possess that pride that prevents us in understanding our purpose in life.
There was an interesting article in Newsweek magazine, concerning President Bush’s religious background, it told how he was reared in a Protestant denomination. This church apparently like many today, simply played church with no real commitment or dedication. His words “They were frozen in time lifeless”.
Isn’t it strange a church member would say this of themselves? “Lifeless and frozen in time”! And I thought, are we reaping the benefits of our doctrine? Many teach today that starts with a salvation by grace, not of works, and this also describes their Christian walk. To them to do nothing is fine.
Too many hold the idea that they will hear the words “Well done, good and faithful servant; enter thou into the joy of thy lord”. Now on what basis? Simply on the basis that I don’t do anything bad. This subscribes to an old philosophy of the first century Stoics, “Don’t do anything bad, for goodness sake” Not for God’s sake.
Today men quote passages like Eph 2:8-9 to support their passive view of Christianity. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9not of works, lest any man should boast”.
But when we stop to study the context, this passage doesn’t support their views. When Paul stated: “9not of works, lest any man should boast.” He was speaking of meritorious works of the law. and there is no hint that man is not required to walk in good works of faith. Notice the next passage which says:
10For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
The word for “workmanship” is an interesting word in the original Greek language, it is the word , we derive our word poem from this word. Now what is Paul stressing with the word Poiema ? Just this, when we obey the truth (1 Peter 1:22) we become a new creation (2 Cor 5:17). And in so doing we become God’s work of art, “created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them”. Both purpose and responsibility are being stressed in this passage.
Well how do we compensate this “do nothing” the mind set of so many today, “Just attend the Sunday morning service and partake of the Lord’s supper”. The Lord certainly tackled the problem in His day, And has provided us with the tools to do the same.
One way He dealt with it was in His teaching of the “Parable Of The Talents” Matt 25:14-30 This parable teaches that it is not enough, just not to do anything bad. But what are we doing good?
Remember what James stated in his epistle of practical Christianity? James 4:17 “17Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”
The Bible teaches us that there are sins of omission as well as sins of commission. If we get nothing else from this lesson, know that the parable of “Parable Of The Talents”, teaches that every Christian must be actively be involved in the work of the Lord until He returns.
Now some background information. It was the Tuesday before the Lord would be crucified, He had completed the work the Father had sent Him to do (John 17:3). Now it was up to His followers to continue this work. The Parable Of The Talents was given as complement to the parable given previous to it (Matt 25:1-13), “The parable of the Ten Virgins”. The purpose of this parable is found in Matthew 25:13 “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.” Jesus stressed the need to be constantly ready for His return, Because it will be unexpectedly and without warning.
Next the Lord tells us in the “parable of the talents”, that it is not enough just to merely be ready for the return, we must be working while we wait for His return.
The Lord speaks of a man who traveling to a far country, called His servants and delivers to them His goods. The man in the parable represents Christ the servants represent His disciples. The country he departed for here in the context, represents Heaven itself. ( John 14:1-3; Daniel 7:13-14; Hebrews 11:13-16).
The man of the parable gives to each of his servants talents according to their ability. To one man, five talents, to another two and still another only one talent. It is very significant that you do not find a (zero) talented man in the parable.
Many say today that there isn’t anything they can do in the Lord’s church, God didn’t give me any talents. National studies have proven that the average person possesses from 500- 700 skills. What makes this so amazing is the fact we have so many abilities, God does not use a cookie cutter with His people, How many abilities does God’s people possess?
Another amazing fact is that just because one posses more talents than another does not make the less talented man less valuable in God’s kingdom. In the Corinthian letter Paul teaches the unity and usefulness of the entire body (1 Cor. 12:12-18)
“For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. 13For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 14For the body is not one member, but many. 15If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 16And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 17If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? 18But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him”
How dysfunctional a baseball team would be if everyone played Out Field? How good is an orchestra with only trumpets, or drums in the band? This helps us see the wisdom in the variety of our talents.
A few years ago when I played tennis I injured my little toe, dropped a heavy weight on it crushing it. I never realized how important a little toe was. Try to walk without it. The point is everyone is important to the Lord. We have all been blessed with differing gifts, stop making excuses and get busy using them to bring glory to the Lord.
How may times to we need to read in scripture the necessity of working for the Lord? Notice just one small epistle, Paul’s writing to Titus, he admonished him saying - “7In all things showing thyself a pattern of good works” , Titus 2:7. Again (verse 14) Paul reminds Titus Christ redeemed us as a “people zealous of good works.” And finally 14And let our people also learn to maintain good works ....that they be not unfruitful. (Titus 3:14)
Notice Next In Our Parable. The Lord Held Each One Responsible Matt 25:19 “After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them”. This no doubt is a picture of the final judgment of our Lord. - When He returned each of the servants haaad to render an answer regarding the progress or his lack thereof.
Again the Bible is replete with passages that affirm “personal” responsibility to God. Jesus said: Matt 16:27
“27“For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.”
Paul also affirms we will stand before the Lord “who will render to each one according to his deeds” Romans 2:6 and one other clear passage: 2 Corinthians 5:9-10
“Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. 10For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad”.
Are we faithfully using our talents in the service of God. There is a geyser in Yellow Stone name
Next, “The Lord Gave To Each His Due”. The five talented man went out and traded and made another five talents. (25:16). Likewise the two talented man gained another two. (25:17) .
But the man with one talent went out dug a hole and buried his talent (25:18). The ground was used by many as a safe vault to store treasury due to the constant threat of being robbed.
When the Lord returns to settle accounts, all three servants come forward and stand before Him. The five talented man was commended for his faithful service. because he brought another five talents, likewise the two talented man. They are commended, “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.’” Matt 25:21 Yet the one talented man came before the Lord and only shame and embarrassment could be found at his answer. And he fully knew he had done wrong.
It is important for us to notice, that Christ will judge each of us fairly, yet differently at the same time. How thankful I am when I consider the talents I have seen in others, that I will not be judged by their several abilities. This parable teaches that Jesus gave “to each according to his own ability;”
I will not be judged the same as the five talented man if I have only two or but one. But I will be expected to increase what had been given to me.
We show our commitment to God by the way we discharge our God given talents... The first two stewards rolled up their sleeves and immersed themselves in the Lord’s work. Notice verse 19 again “19“After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them.”
This stresses the point stated in Revelation 2:10 “be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” Our commitment to God is a life long commitment of service. What we need to remember is the words of 1 Cor. 15:58
58Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
And finally, Two of the servants came before the Lord with boldness: (19-23). They were happy to stand and render an account. Why?
Because they knew they had faithfully discharged the Lord’s will for their lives. Those walking faithful with their Lord can have boldness when we face Him. 1 John 4:17-18
17Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: ....... 18There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear:
Beloved if we are living as we ought, and doing His will we should be willing to say “even so , come Lord Jesus” Rev 22:20.. No excuse will be given any consideration on that day.
Two were commended for their faithfulness. One received these words: “30And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matt 25;30
In conclusion we need to reflect seriously upon this and all the teachings that show us the responsibilities God has enjoined upon us. I close with the words again of Isaiah 43:7
7every one that is called by my name, and whom I have created for my glory, whom I have formed, yea, whom I have made
This is my purpose in life, this is your purpose in life, if we would be accepted on that great day.
Ron Cope Minister churches of Christ