“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,’” (Matthew 25:24-25, NKJV).
We need to understand this servant’s issue. I mean, what stung him in the unmentionable that made him not to have the perception the other two servants have of their master? Or he had but lost it?
The lost son thought of and lived for himself (Luke 15); therefore, all he got he invested in himself. But this servant hid what he was given and brought it back just as it was presented to him – save some dirt that was on it.
Of course, something isn’t kosher about this servant’s attitude, but what is it?
For one, he grossly underrated obedience. The reason for which he was given the talent was for him to work with, not doing what the master expected is disobedience. He disobeyed the master because he believed that his sound argument, and return of the talent as it were, would cocoon him.
Second, his view of himself and his ability was placed above that of his master. The one above and before should know better otherwise, such is not qualified to be a master. A general must know better than his soldier or the battle would be lost, the guide must know better than the follower, otherwise no one would return home. The captain must know better than the crew else, they would be at the mercy of the ocean.
The master in the parable knows each of his servants and their abilities – that’s the reason he gave them different amount of talents. Also, he knows them well enough, and trusts them too, that’s why he left them immediately for his own journey.
Third, and this is to start with, the servant has no knowledge of what qualifies him to be, and also keeps him as, the master’s servant. Through Apostle Paul we know what this is –
“For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith,” (Romans 12:3, NKJV).
Each of us has received a measure of faith – you can be sure of it. God is just and that attribute of His wouldn’t ever make Him to give some and deny others what’s so crucial to determining their eternal destination or their rewards when they get there.
Let’s take this a notch higher. In Ephesians 2:8, we are made to know that “for by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,” (NKJV).
Grace is what we receive from God and faith is our response to Him. His grace to us is as sure as He is but the same can’t be said of our faith in Him, can it? Yet, it is what qualifies us to be the Master’s servants. If we lose that, we lose our qualification as servants – even as sons and as soldiers. Remember the lost son (Luke 15) by faith, he approached the father to ask and receive his inheritance. By the same faith he returned home; though, with pig shit on his shirt, but still regained his state.
Now, isn’t it funny that the master didn’t dispute the servant’s assessments of him? Rather, he declared that his expectation was for those to be enough impetus for the servant to make appropriate use of the talent he was given.
“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 25:26-30, NKJV).
Let’s not miss this fact about our God and father – He’s business-minded. He expects returns on His investments in us. Jesus says, “most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain,” (John 12:24, NKJV). And we know that God sowed the first Seed in order to raise us to and for Himself.
But we should ask this, who are the bankers?