• Ewen Lin

Don't Be Lazy


(public meeting 16th Sep 2020)


Mathew 25:14 “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.


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! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 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. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents.


29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’


How many of you here ever imagined winning x factor or the voice? But maybe for you having to perform in front of judges and cameras and thousands of people would be as close to hell as you can get. But you all know what I’m talking about right - talent shows.

It’s the idea of putting people center stage in front of witnesses. You’ve got to then justify why you’re there and be judged based on your performance. If you can prove that you’re good then you can stay. If you’re not, then out you go. Are we still talking about x factor?

If you believe in God and believe there’s a heaven and there’s a judgement before that, then how is Christianity different? Is life on earth just one big stage and you better give the performance of your lifetime. Die, be judged, and hope you get through? Is that what you think?

Our passage today honestly sounds like it. And I want to show you life really is one big talent show. Not a talent show, one talent show.

What we have belongs to God


This first point is easy to see. Jesus was talking about the kingdom of heaven. That’s what “it” refers to in v.14.


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.

In this analogy, God is the man and we are his servants. God has entrusted to us His property. He gives different people different amounts. It’s not equal, because it’s fair. You would think that is not logical, but look at v.15, to each according to his ability. In our society we tend to lump those two together. Our world says that to have a just and fair society, we have to treat everyone equally. Everyone should have the same rights. You cannot have a fair society without equality.

The problem of course is how do you define equality? Equal in what way? If I compare myself to Bill Gates, of course I want equality. I want what he has. But if I compare myself to an orphan child in the slums of India, where is the equality going to come from? In order to be fair, should everything just be evened and averaged out? I’m not suggesting an answer to this by the way. What I think we can learn from this passage is that God is fair even when things seem unequal.

Notice it doesn’t say that what we have comes from God, which is true. It’s more than that. It’s that God entrusted them to us. It doesn’t belong to us. It belongs to God. In v.18, the servant hides his master’s money. God gives him the freedom to decide what to do with it but it’s still belongs to God. And this small distinction will make a world of difference.

I’ll just give you one example. The money that’s in your bank account or your wallet. If I asked you whose money is that you’ll all say God’s. So let me ask you an even harder question: how much of God’s money are you keeping for yourself? What am I talking about? Tithing. How much should Christians give, is it 10% or something else? When’s the last time you heard someone ask the same question this way, how much of God’s money are you keeping for yourself? 90%? See the difference? Sure, people will say it’s God’s money, but our heart’s attitude is still one that says I’m giving my money to God.

We can talk a lot more about this during question time if anyone wants. But secondly, what we do matters to God. What we have belongs to God. What we do matters to God.

What we do matters to God


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.’

Notice the master calls his servants faithful. You have been faithful over little. He doesn’t say you have been successful, or smart, or shrewd. It’s faithful. Why? Think about it. We use the term faithful mostly in the context of a relationship. Husband/wife faithful to each other. A person by themselves cannot be faithful. They don’t have to be. It just doesn’t work.

So when the master says to the first two servants, you have been faithful, he means you have been faithful to me. Because what we have belongs to God you see. If it didn’t, then why is the third servant wrong to hide the money? Look at verse 24.


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! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 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. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents.

What’s the opposite of faithfulness? Laziness. Look at how the master describes the third servant. You wicked and slothful servant. The NIV is even clearer it says lazy servant. I would have thought the opposite of laziness is hardworking and the opposite of faithful is faithless or dishonest. Why is it faithful and lazy?

Answer? Everything that we do, every work so to speak, is a form of worship. Why? Because what we have belongs to God. And so what we do matters to God. From the small things to the big things, your studies, your friendships, your daily habits, your fitness, your timetable, everything is worship. Everything matters to God. And so, to be lazy is to refuse to worship God, to be faithless.

Most people actually already understand this. Imagine if you have leukemia or some terminal illness and somehow at the point when you needed it most, a little girl is killed in a car accident and they can transplant her organs into you. You get given a gift of life. You’ve been saved! Tell me you wouldn’t approach life differently? No matter what you do, you will always live under the shadow of what someone else has sacrificed for you. Will you smoke? Will you smoke in front of the girl’s parents? You see, everything you do, from the trivial to the important, somehow reflects whether you are grateful or ungrateful, whether you’re faithless or faithful.

What we do matters to God. Everything is worship. The difference between the first two servants and the third is not ability. It’s faith. The first servants put the talents to work, the third put it away. Which is why v.29 says,


29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

It doesn’t say everyone who has been successful. It says to everyone who has. They have it, they held on to it, they didn’t hide it or put it away. That’s the difference.

Now then we come to the big question right. What is the talent? Is it my guitar skills? The answer is simple. It’s what God has given us. So what has God given us? Guitar skills for some yes. Artistic ability, yes. Yes to everything. But the most important thing God has given us is Jesus. God has given us His life.

I think, the talent is the life of Jesus Christ. This doesn’t diminish talents as we would ordinarily understand it. It elevates it. It makes it more important what you do with your guitar skills. Because look at what’s at stake.

29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

I’ll close with a story for you. So there’s the story of this old violinist. He is the epitome of a violinist. A true master, no one even comes close. And he’s announced he’s retiring with one last performance. Of course it’s sold out instantly and stadium is packed and he plays and plays and it’s just heavenly. When it’s all over, a young man walks up to him and says that was unbelievable. I would give my life to play like you. The old master has a smile on his face that says aw that’s cute, but then looks into the young man’s eyes and says, I have given my life to play like me.

What a burn. The young man aspired to greatness but doesn’t understand the cost. Here’s my question though, is it a guarantee that if I give my life, I can reach the top? There are just as many people who’ve given their lives to the career or their craft or talent and never find greatness. It just fizzles out. You can give your life but success is never guaranteed.

The difference that Christianity brings is Jesus giving His life to guarantee our success. Now give your life away. Not in the pursuit of success, but keeping faith with what God has already done.

What we have belongs to God. What we do matters to God. I hope that’s helpful for you and has given you some new things to think about.

What does this mean for us? Consider this...

1. What has God entrusted to you? What are you responsible for? It’s not nothing. Think of 3.

2. Are there any situations where you feel tempted to hide the fact that you’re a Christian? Hiding your talent so to speak?

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