<h3>My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.</h3>
Here’s how I know that God wants you and me to be investors:
In the book of Matthew, the parable of the talents demands that we do well with the money God has entrusted to us, regardless of how much money we have or how fearful we may be. The parable involves three servants and the handling of the money that the master had entrusted to them. At times, I’ve heard something like “abilities” substituted for “money” when this parable is taught.
I’m going to zero in on exactly what is taking place and share with you what I believe is the main message.
Let’s read it first as printed in the 1984 New International Version:
14 Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. 15 To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent,
each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. 17 So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. 18 But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
19 After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. “Master,” he said, “you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.”
21 His master replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”
22 The man with the two talents also came. “Master,” he said, “you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.”
23 His master replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”
24 Then the man who had received the one talent came. “Master,” he said, “I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.”
26 His master replied, “You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.
28 “Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. 29 For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
LESSONS FROM THE PARABLE OF THE TALENTS
Lesson One: To have more, we must increase our abilities.
Each servant was given to according to his ability (verse 15).
If we want to have more to manage, we must first demonstrate the ability to handle what we are entrusted with right now.
Where should we go in order to find the wisdom needed to increase our abilities?
“But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.” —Deuteronomy 8:18
It is God that gives us the abilities we need.
Lesson Two: We need to start right now.
When should we start investing, or at least, seeking out opportunities?
Verse 16 makes it clear.
The servant set out when?
He took the directive he had received and implemented it right away.
He was to gain more with that which had been entrusted to him.
Lesson Three: We are to be investors.
There are two reasons why this is true:
1. Because we know that each of the first two servants doubled their money. Let me repeat that. Each of the first two servants doubled their money. This requires some skill and effort. We know it doesn’t happen by accident.
2. The last servant buried his money and returned only what he was given. He was reprimanded and told, “you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.” In other words, if you weren’t willing to invest and make something substantial out of it, then you should have at least done the very minimum and earned interest.
Are you so afraid of losing what you have that you are considering burying it in your back yard?
What brings this to life even more is to consider what a talent is equal to today.
In his book, The Cure for the Common Life, Max Lucado says, “Before ‘talent’ meant skill, it meant money. It represented the largest unit of accounting in the Greek currency—10,000 denarii. According to the parable of the workers, a denarius represented a day’s fair wages (Matthew 20:2).”
A talent equals 10,000 denarii and a denarius equals a day’s fair wages.
What is a fair day’s wages in today’s money?
According to the US Census Bureau, the median income for someone in the United States in 2008–09 was $49,945. If you worked 40 hours per week for 50 weeks, you would have worked 2000 hours in a year, and $49,945 divided by 2000 equals $24.97 per hour. The average day’s pay would be $24.97 times 8 hours, which equals $199.76.
The current value of a denarius equals $199.76. A talent is worth 10,000 times $199.76, which equals $1,997,600.
A talent is worth $1,997,600 in today’s money.
Let’s round that to a talent being worth almost two million dollars. So the servants were given the equivalent of two, four, and ten million dollars.
If someone handed that amount of money to you with the responsibility of doing more than handing it over to a banker, could you double it, or would you hide it?
Each servant was offered feedback on the job they did. The first two were commended and put in charge of more things. They were good stewards, or managers, of that which was entrusted to them. They were also invited to share in their master’s happiness.
What a great example!
We are to be in charge of instead of owning.
We need to do better than just giving it to a banker. Besides, nowadays, you almost have to pay a banker to keep your money.
How bad is that?
We need to invest wisely, and then it might also be said of us, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” We can share in the owner’s happiness.
In Psalm 24:1, God tells us, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it…”
What is ours?
What is ours to manage?
Everything God entrusts to us. The third servant got it all wrong. He was so afraid of his master that he couldn’t envision doing anything but hiding the money, so he could give it back.
What was his feedback from the master?
The master scorned him for not having the common sense to at least give it to a banker to earn interest. His talent was taken from him and given to the one who had ten talents, and he was thrown into the darkness.
Although giving our money to a banker who will pay us interest is better than hiding it, God wants us—expects us—to invest what He has entrusted to us.
Wealth and happiness are the by-products of a job well done.
According to Matthew 25:29, we gain more or keep none.