I was reading a story from Matthew 25 in my daily bible reading this morning. It is a story Jesus told, and I have heard from my youth, but I have to say that it has never challenged me as it did this morning. The story is about a wealthy ruler who hands the stewardship of his wealth over to three servants. To one servant he gave five talents, to another he gave two and to the third one he gave one. Time passed and when the wealthy ruler returned he called for the servants to present themselves (and his money).
The servant with five talents brought ten back because of his skill with money and hard work. The second servant brought four as a blessing to his master, but the third guy brought only the original talent that he was given because he was afraid to do anything with the money that was risky.
The master praised the first two and called them "good and faithful" but the third guy got the proverbial boom lowered on him. The master said "take the one talent from him and give it to the man with ten talents" and then the master ordered the lazy servant to be cast out forever.
Now, I have always considered "talents" to be a euphemism for abilities or finances that can be invested in Kingdom work to glorify God and this is not wrong, but there is another aspect to this story...
God has been calling me to a greater level of evangelism than I have ever known. The act of bringing people to a living relationship with Christ is something that the Holy Spirit wants all of us to work for. In Matthew 18:14, Jesus said it this way "It is not my Father's will that even one of these little ones should perish." (NIV)
For the first time, this morning, I began to see people as talents, entrusted to me by the Father above. Each individual is so valuable to my Father and my life is the single talent, given to me by the Father. It is up to me to share that talent, sometimes in risky ways, to see other talents, these "little ones," brought into the Father's loving care. I do not want to stand before God on the last day, only to present his original investment back to Him. I want to see that investment compound and flourish as I pour myself out to reach the ones God is still searching for...His "little ones".
Father, give us a burden for these little ones. Help me to make good decisions about how I spend my time and energy today so that more people will come into relationship with You. I pray this in Jesus name.