Week 26: Action
14 “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. 15 To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master's money. 19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant!’ Matthew 25:14-26
22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. James 1:22-25
In Matthew 25, Jesus shares a series of parables to instruct the disciples concerning the end of times. In the parable of the talents, three different servants receive varying gifts. Jesus wants us to know that EVERYTHING we have is a blood bought, grace gift from Him and what we do with it reflects our relationship with Him.
Notice that the two who did, by faith, what the master would do with the talents hear the words “Well done good and faithful servant.” While the one who did not do, because of fear, what the master would do, they hear the words “you wicked and slothful servant.”
Now, be not confused. We are not saved by our works. We are only saved by the work of Christ at the cross. However, the faith that saves always works. We will all be held accountable to what we have been entrusted by the master to do.
And I’m afraid that in the church, we can be full of great intentions and feelings and yet never get around to doing that thing that we intended to do for the glory of God. Have you ever been there? You are sitting in a weekend service and you really do intend to make that call, to forgive that family member, to confess and repent, to abandon that destructive habit, to share that invitation…whatever it may be and yet weeks go by and nothing. We often have great Spirit inspired intentions, with no follow through.
The faith of the two servants in this parable produces action, while the fear of the one talent man led to paralysis. James, the brother of Jesus, talks about faith driven action in James 1. He is saying that great intentions without follow through are worthless.
It would be like a man looking in a mirror and recognizing that something needed to be done about his appearance and then walking away and doing nothing about it. You get no credit for assessing the situation and even recognizing something needs to be done. You do get credit for the action, not the intention.
So let me ask you, what action is God calling you into? This year, what has God stirred in you to do? Is it to join a Disciple Group or go on that mission trip? Is it to step out in generosity like never before or to take the first step in reconciling that wounded relationship? Maybe it’s reaching out to your neighbor across the street or maybe it’s serving at church or in our city?
What is God calling you to do? Again, you are NOT to do these things to gain God’s approval. In Christ, you are fully accepted and approved of because of what Christ has done for you. But James is saying, that kind of faith produces action.
So it is time to get off of your good intentions and get to God’s work. Don’t wait until tomorrow or until the stars align for the perfect opportunity. Be a doer of The Word and not merely a hearer. And in so doing, may God use your faithful step of obedient action to DEEPEN your relationship with Him.