Wasted Years

January 27, 2022

Then he who had received the one talent came and said, 'Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.' "But his lord answered and said to him, 'You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. 'For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth' (Matthew 25:24-30).

The point of The Parable of the Talents is the tragedy of lost opportunities. I’m sure most of us can look back over our lives and feel the tinge of regret for things we should have done but didn’t do, or things we should not have done but did anyway. John Greenleaf Whittier, a 19th century American poet, wrote these words in his poem, “Maud Muller”, “For all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: ‘It might have been!’” The Southern gospel song writer Wally Fowler penned these word in the song, “Wasted Years”, “Wasted years, wasted years, oh, how foolish, as you walk on in darkness and fear. Turn around, turn around, God is calling - keeps calling me from a life of wasted years.”

Jesus has called us to be ready for His return. He told us to watch, to wait, to be prepared, and now to stay busy in His Kingdom’s work until He comes again. As John MacArthur puts it, “Saving faith is serving faith.” It’s the same thing the Apostle James wrote in his letter (2:17), Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. Paul the Apostle wrote (Ephesians 2:10), For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

The attitude and behavior of the 3rd servant in this parable was markedly different than that of the first 2 servants. Out of fear for his master’s power to judge, the servant hid his talent rather than investing it. He was given the money not to protect it, but to increase it. Even if he had to put it in the bank for the interest only it would have produced more than what hiding it did. 

This parable is about faithful Christian service. Was the 3rd servant a faithful servant of the Lord? Was he what we would call a Christian today? No. Why? (1) He produced nothing with the talent he had been given. The emphasis of Jesus in Christian living is that we will produce fruit. Any parable you choose that deals with Kingdom life and Christian service focuses on fruitfulness. This servant was not fruitful. (2) His attitude toward his master was not love and respect that led to obedience, but rather of fear that led to irresponsible behavior and indifference to his master.

Having little to work with is no excuse for not using what you have at all. Even a person with limited resources has the opportunity to bring glory to the name of Jesus through faithful service.


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