Matthew 24:14-30 NIV - “Again, it [Christ’s kingdom] will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. 15 To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. 17 So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. 18 But the man who had received one bag 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 five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. 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 two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; 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 one bag of gold 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 gold 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 “ ‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. 29 For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’”
Consider the servants in the parable of the talents (bags of money). The Master of the servants provided them with both the money and the opportunity to manage it. Likewise, God provides us with wealth and the abilities (physical, mental, etc.) to manage His money accordingly. According to the parable, was the money meant to glorify and benefit the servants or honor the Master? Did Jesus teach that money was to be primarily about His servants’ self-image, entertainment, or comfort?
In this parable, the money was specifically intended by the Master to be used to produce an increase in His possessions. The only thing that the “one-talent” servant did was refuse to use the Master’s money in an attempt to produce an increase that multiplied the Master’s possessions. What did the Master call the servant? Wicked and lazy. Each servant had different opportunities that were to be maximized according to their unique abilities, so they didn’t need to compare themselves to others. They just needed to produce by faithfully investing the wealth they were given. The ones called good and faithful were the ones who produced because they desired to please their Master. Biblically-speaking, how might the Master desire you to use and invest the money with which He has entrusted you? If you haven’t already done so, will you God-given wealth is used to produce in a way that intentionally builds up His kingdom?
1 Timothy 6:18-19 NIV - Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.
Proverbs 3:9-10 NLT - Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce.10 Then he will fill your barns with grain, and your vats will overflow with good wine.