daily biblical sermons


Let us meet the Lord who is coming and give him an account of how we have used in his service the talents he gave us for this purpose
Fr. Steven Scherrer, MM, Th.D.
Homily of Sunday, the 33rd Sunday of the Year, November 19, 2023
Proverbs 31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31, Psalm 127 (128), 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6, Matthew 25:14-30


Biblical citations are from the Revised Standard Version unless otherwise noted

 

 

 

“For it will be as when a man going on a journey called his servants and entrusted to them his property; to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them; and he made five talents more. So also, he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 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.’ 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.’ 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.’ 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.’ 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 did not winnow; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sold, and gather where I have not winnowed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to every one who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.’” (Matthew 25:14-30).

 

 

This gospel shows us how we should behave between Christ’s first and second coming. At his first coming he gave each of us a certain amount of talents, to each according to his ability, and he expects us to use them in his service. These were not gifts for our own selves to use as we see fit, but rather our master’s money, which he entrusted to us to trade with until he returns, when he expects us to return his original loan together with what we earned by trading with it.

 

 

The return of this master is the return of Christ on the last day at his second coming. In the meantime he expects us to use the talents that he gave us, not in our own service and not as we see fit for ourselves, but for him, in his service to make a profit by trading so that when he returns we can return to him his original capital plus the interest that we gained by trading with it.

 

 

This is what the Christian is to do in his lifetime here as he awaits the Lord’s return. The Lord’s return is either our own death or Christ’s second coming at the end of the world. How are we to use the talents God has given us? The most obvious and direct way is by preaching the gospel. We can use the money to sustain ourselves as we preach the gospel to the nations. We can do this by word-of-mouth or in writing on the Internet or directly as a missionary going to a non-Christian country and preaching Jesus Christ and God’s way of salvation through faith in Christ.

 

 

But there are other ways of using these talents suited to each one’s ability and interest. The key point, though, is that the talents are to be used in the Lord’s service, not in our own service or for our own entertainment.

 

 

Some of these talents are the talent of public speaking, the ability to write or understand things and explain them to others. But key in all of this is that these talents are to be used for the advance of the gospel and the spread of the kingdom of God in this world, not for our own entertainment.

 

 

We see in this gospel that one servant is very industrious in using his five talents, and he and gains five talents more by trading with the talents he received. So at his return his master says 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” (Matthew 25:21).

 

 

We can imagine this servant at the moment of his death meeting his Lord and giving him an account of how he used in his service the talents he was given.

 

 

But not everyone is this industrious. The servant who received only one talent did not have much ability, but he was nonetheless expected to use what he had in the Lord service for the extension of the kingdom of God on earth and for preaching the gospel to the nations.

 

 

But this particular servant, because he feared that in trading with his one talent he might lose it and then be charged by his master with losing his talent, dug a hole in the ground and buried his master’s talent. This represents a large number of people today. This man presented himself as a Christian, but we can see by the way he speaks and acts that he is really not a true converted Christian. He holds a very low opinion of his Lord and Master Jesus Christ as a cruel and demanding master; but he thinks that if he can give his original talent back to his master when he returns he will get off perhaps not with praise but at least not with blame, for he has not lost it or spent it on his own pleasures, but returned it whole and entire as it was given to him.

 

 

How many who claim to be Christians, but really aren’t, are like this servant who has no interest whatsoever in using any of the talent he has received from the Lord in the Lord’s service to preach the gospel or extend the kingdom of God by making known to the world God’s way of salvation in Jesus Christ.

 

 

This surely must represent a very large number of people who claim to be Christians. Are you, reader, one of this type of Christians? Do you really use the talents that God has given you to preach the gospel, to extend the kingdom of God in the world, to make known to people how they can be saved through faith in Jesus Christ who died in vicarious punishment for our sins?

 

 

Probably a great number of people would have to say that they have no interest whatsoever in doing anything of the kind. They would be happy if only they could return to God whole and entire the one talent that they received.

 

 

But what will happen to this type of person What they have will be taken away from them and given to the one who has the five talents and made five more. The master will say, “So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to every one who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away” (Matthew 25:28-29).

 

 

These people will have everything taken away from them at the judgment, and not only that but the master will say, “And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth” (Matthew 25:30).

 

 

But these people did nothing wrong. They did not rob anyone. They did not kill anyone. They did not tell any lies. They did not commit adultery or fornication, and yet they are sent into the outer darkness, that is, to hell. What did they do wrong to be sent to hell?

 

 

They did nothing at all with their talent. That is what they did wrong – doing nothing, when God expected them to use their talent in his service. This, I think, will represent a great number of people claiming to be Christians but not using their talents to preach the gospel, extend the kingdom, and explain to people how they can be saved through Christ dying for their sins, by Christ dying instead them dying in punishment for their sins for those who put their faith in him.

 

 

This is what they should have made known to their family, their children, their spouse, their neighbors, their workmates, and other friends; but they did not. So they will be sent into the outer darkness – to hell forever.

 

 

Those, on the other hand, who use their talents in the Lord service will find that their talents increase. The man who had five talents gained five more. If we have an ability to write sermons, for example, the more we write them, the more our ability to write them grows. If we are talented in preaching, the more we preach, the better we will be able to preach. The more we sit and explain salvation to people through Christ and faith in him the better we will be able to explain these things.

 

 

Our talents will increase by use; but by negligence they will wither away. “Use it or lose it” applies here. We must use the talents we have, or we will lose them. If we use them, they will grow and increase; but if we do not use them, they will wither away and die.

 

 

And how are we to preach the gospel? Are we to only preached about social justice and social issues? This would be to preach a truncated gospel. Or are we to add our own personal favorite ideas and claim that these are Christian teachings such as for example preaching that homosexual sex is as good as heterosexual sex. If we do this, we would be preaching a false gospel.

 

 

And if we think that we don’t have the ability to preach the gospel, do we spend time in reading, meditation, prayer, and study? Proper preaching requires all of this?

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