The Investment of A Lifetime

What if your employer suddenly announced to you and two other employees that he was taking a long extended trip to a far off country and was entrusting his business and all his fortune in the hands of you and the two other employees. What would you do with your portion of that business and fortune? Would you place your trust in a bank, buy more inventories, expand the business, invest in stocks and bonds, buy real estate, or just try to play it safe by maintaining the status quo and hiding your portion of the wealth?

There is a parable in the Bible (Matthew 25:14-30) that addresses a very similar incident that is applicable to all our lives today. This parable, taught by Jesus, can give us some insight into the choices that we make with what we have been given and how the kingdom of heaven operates. “For the kingdom of heaven is as a man traveling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods” (Matthew 10:14). As we read the remainder of this parable we see that the man gave talents to his servants according to their “several ability”. The Greek words used for “several ability” are “idios dunamis” which means (one’s own, private, separate) (miraculous power). Dunamis is the Greek word where we derive our English word dynamite from. Did you know that the Lord has invested in you miraculous power?

We see in this parable that the employer (Lord, Master) entrusted five talents to one servant, two talents to another servant, and one talent to the third servant. Talents in biblical times were a weight and measure, like a pound or gram, used to calculate amounts for such things as silver and gold. It is very important in fully understanding this parable that you realize that this was no small investment being made into these three servants. There are numerous historical accounts that calculate the talent at varying amounts that range from approximately 90-160 pounds of gold, which would convert to approximately $1.2 – $2.3 million dollars at current market prices. Probably the easiest conversion to understand is the one provided in the Bible itself. The following is an excerpt from the book “The Cure For The Common Life” by Max Lucado:

Before “talent” meant skill, it meant money. It represented the largest unit of accounting in the Greek currency – 10,000 denarii. According to the parable of the workers, a denarius represented a day’s fair wages (Matthew 20:2). Multiply your daily wage by 10,000, and you discover the value of a talent. If you earn $30,000 a year and you annually work 260 days, you make about $115 a day. A talent in your case is valued at 10,000 times $115 or $1,150,000. Place this in perspective. Suppose a person earns $30,000 a year for 40 years. Her lifetime earnings are $1,200,000, only $50,000 more than a talent. One talent, then, equals a lifetime of earnings. This is a lot of money and a key point in this parable. Your God-given design and uniqueness have high market value in heaven. God didn’t entrust you with a $2 talent or a $5 skill. Consider yourself a million-dollar investment – in many cases, a multimillion dollar enterprise. God gives gifts, not miserly, but abundantly. And not miserly, but carefully: “to each according to one’s unique ability”. Remember, no one else has your talents. No one.

After a long period of time the employer of the servants returned and wanted an accounting for what had been done with his investments (Matthew 25:19). The first and second servants shared that they had went out immediately and traded with their talents and doubled the Lord’s investment. The Greek word used for traded is ergazomai which is defined “to work at an occupation or to minister about” and is where we get our English word ergonomics from. But the third servant did something very different. He reported that he had dug a hole and hid his portion. The Lord was very pleased with the first two servants and called them good and faithful servants and told them since they had been faithful over a few things he would make them rulers over much. But the Lord was very upset with the third servant and addressed him as wicked, slothful, and unprofitable. Then the Lord took the talent from the third servant and gave it to the first servant and stated, “For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath” (Matthew 25:29).

Let’s take a close look at why the third servant acted like he did and how we can apply it to our lives today, especially in the relational marketing arena. He told his Lord that he was afraid so he went and hid his talent in the earth. In addressing one of his many audiences, Dr. Myles Munroe asked the crowd where did they think the richest place on earth was. Was it Fort Knox? Was it the diamond mines of Africa? The answer that Dr. Munroe furnished was life changing. He said it was none of those places and stated that the richest places on earth was the graveyards. For in the graveyards lie the dreams of men and women that were never realized; great works of art that had never been completed; successful businesses that had never been started; huge fortunes that were never made; world changing inventions that were never invented; etc., etc. One of the main contributing factors to all these unrealized dreams was undoubtedly fear and it usually revolved around the fear of man and the fear of rejection.

What does the scriptures say about fear? “God did not give us a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind” (II Timothy 1:7). The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me (Psalm 118:6)? I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears (Psalm 34:4). My strength is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness (II Corinthians 12:9). His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness (II Peter 1:3). If you have been born again you have the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead residing in your very being. The Lord has invested in you the currency of Heaven and it is sufficient to overcome the world because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world (I John 4:4). For ye are bought with a price… (I Corinthians 6:20), and that was a very high price indeed.

Every one of us need to ask ourselves if we are being led by a “spirit of fear” in this “politically correct” world or are we operating in kingdom of heaven principles which involve power, love, and a sound mind. Worldly principles can have some temporary rewards but that’s as far as they go. Kingdom principles have worldly and heavenly (eternal) rewards. You can not take anything to heaven with you except other people and maybe that is why Proverbs 11:30 says “he that winneth souls is wise”. You can not win souls with a spirit of fear. The third servant also gave as an excuse that he knew that the Lord was a “hard man” (cruel, demanding, harsh) (Matthew 25:24). This servant obviously did not really know the Lord which is still a major problem today. Religion will often paint the Lord or God in this light. Relationship discovers a different Lord. His burden is light and his yoke is easy (Mark 11:29-30). The blessing of the Lord makes one rich, And He adds no sorrow with it (Proverbs 10:22). He will not put on any of his servants more than they can bear or more than they have the ability and faith to handle and achieve. We are probably going to be so surprised when we get to Heaven with the things we could have done on earth but were too afraid to even try.

The Lord is in the relational marketing business. He is all about people and souls. He started with twelve disciples, and some of them not the sharpest, and they changed the world. There are now approximately 2.1 billion Christians in the world today and all of them are a result of seeds sown by those twelve or their downline. How would you like to have that for a downline?

The principle of sowing and reaping runs through all the parables and Jesus said if you don’t understand this principle then you can not understand any of the other parables. The generous soul will be made rich, And he who waters will also be watered himself (Proverbs 11:25). The first and second servant understood that they had to invest and sow seeds (work, labor, trade) if they were to gain a harvest. This is a Kingdom principle that works for the believer and non-believer. Give, and it shall be given unto you. A prime example of a secular organization that knows the benefits of giving is the PGA (Professional Golfers Association) of America. Their history shows that they first started giving to the USO, Red Cross and several military relief organizations in 1942. Their gift that year was $25,000. They now give millions to charities each year and their organization has experienced enormous growth and prosperity. But of course, some people would say that growth was all due to great players like Nicklaus, Palmer and Woods, and million dollar media contracts. Don’t believe it for a minute. The exponential growth comes from seeds that have been sown. Mona Vie is a much newer company than the PGA but they are on a similar path to exponential growth and it will be due to seeds that are being sown.

The Currency of Heaven

The parable of the talents is all about the currency of Heaven. The master, Lord, or employer that went away is the Lord Jesus Christ. He came and established his business (the Kingdom) on the earth and he went away for a long period of time. He made a great deposit in his disciples. He gave them eternal life and the power of the Holy Ghost. He gave each disciple certain gifts (Ephesians 4:8) and talents that were unique to each person. He gave them everything that they needed to be a successful overcomer in the life that they would live and the profession that they would work at. He told us that he would come again and when we see him again there will be an accounting of what we have done with his business.

The currency of Heaven has your picture on it. It is the deposit that Jesus makes in each believer. It is your choice what you do with that deposit. You can use your gifts, talents, skills, money, time, sweat, labor and occupation to build the Kingdom or you can bury it all in the ground because of fear, political correctness, and rejection. As a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ we are instructed to go into the entire world and preach the good news. We are not to be ashamed or hide our light under a bushel. Our currency is to be invested in souls. There are people that will be reached by you that no one else can reach. As you and I are obedient and faithful to invest our talents, then God will give the increase. One plants, one waters, but God gives the increase. You have more on deposit than you know. You are richer than you realize. You are stronger than you think. The Lord himself has invested in you miracles that only you can accomplish. You are someone’s answer to prayer.

It is our hope and prayer that everyone that reads this article, including the writer, will one day hear those great words of success “good and faithful servant”. The investment of a lifetime has been made! The currency of Heaven has been deposited! Spend it wisely.

Ed Henderson
New Life Network

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