“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.” (Matthew 25:29 NKJV) To paraphrase that: the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Obviously I’ve taken that out of context, but the point was to get your attention. Lately, many national and local media outlets and “regular ole people” in general have been using this phrase A LOT. And it is usually used when someone is laid off. Their next ten Facebook statuses will say something to the effect of that statement and it typically has a negative connotation (9 times out of 10, it is derogatory). I get it. If I was laid off simply to improve the company’s bottom line, livid would be an understatement. But we’re missing part of the story here. We have to go all the way back to the first part of the story in verse 14. This begins “the parable of the talents.” Before we read this parable we have to understand something. The word “talent” has a dual meaning here. If you pay attention, you will realize that a “talent” was a unit of money during that time. Sometimes this lesson is lost because we are more focused on the very obvious lesson of using your God-given gifts and abilities or “talents” (i.e. singing). A “talent” as a unit of money was roughly equal to the value of 20 years’ worth of work (Wikipedia). Imagine being handed that much money. One guy was given FIVE TALENTS!!! That’s enough money to pay for 100 years of him working!!! It’s a miracle in itself that he didn’t run off with the money! But let’s explore this lesson from Jesus:
““For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money. After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them. “So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’ His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’ His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ “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.’ “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. Therefore 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.” (Matthew 25:14-29 NKJV)
It’s no secret that many experts believe that the unemployment issues and the down economy that our country is facing are direct results of the growing gap between “the haves and the have-nots.” How can “the kingdom of God [be] like” this? Again I ask this question to show that it misses the point. The point is that everything we have: our cars, our houses, our iPhones, our clothes, our jobs, our money is really not ours. Nothing belongs to us. It all belongs to God. We are called to be good stewards with His stuff. If your children needed money, would you give it to them? If you said yes and then found out they were just spending the money on frivolous things, how would you feel? If you came back to check on them and they had helped nobody, they hadn’t used the money you’d given them to do anything good, just tucked it away under the mattress, how would you react? Why did they need the money in the first place?! I would have to guess that they certainly would not be getting any more money from you!
If you think that “the little man can never get ahead” or “the rich get richer while I get poorer” you’re right! And there’s a biblical reason for it! God has a plan for you. But He’s not going to make everything easy. You’ve got to show Him that you want it. You may even have to get out of your comfort zone a little and trust Him to guide you. If you use the talents God has given you, you can do things you never, in your wildest dreams, imagined were possible. If you will have faith that He will lead you, you will reach unfathomable goals. If you act responsibly with God’s money and use it for good, he will give you more so that you can do more good with it.