November 16, 2008am    Heavenly Harvest     Matthew 25:14-30

by Ron George Jr. at the Fayetteville Baptist Church

What type of a harvest does God want?  What has He planted?  What kind of a garden does God have?  What kind of fruit and vegetables does He like to eat and enjoy?  Jesus gave us parables to help us to understand God’s desires for our lives.  A parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.  Listen to the parable of the talents. 

Scripture Text:  Matthew 25:14 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. 15 To one he gave five talentsa of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. 17 So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. 18 But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
19 “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’
21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
22 “The man with the two talents also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.’
23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
24 “Then the man who had received the one talent came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’
26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.
28 “‘Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. 29 For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

What is the heavenly harvest? 

1.  The Planting. This is God’s role.  These are the things that God does for us that we enjoy.  Our faith, health, strength, life, country, intelligence, resources, What is a talent?  Our three t’s:  time, talent, and treasurers.  What has He given you?  What is a talent?  How can you use it to profit Him?  God gives us opportunities to make a profit for Him. 

Although the exact value of a talent varied from period to period and place to place, we may estimate the values of these investments at roughly fifty thousand, twenty thousand and ten thousand denarii. Since one denarius was a day’s wage, this would be a “small sum” (25:21, 23) only to a very rich master, who would probably entrust his wealth only to his most dependable and prudent servants.

2.  The Growing. This is our role.  Use what God has given you to make Him a profit.  What can we do with the resources God has given?  Use what you have while you have it!   Why?  What should we do with what you have? 
Does He need some money?  Does this parable say we should give just our money to God?  How do we give to God?  How do we use what God has given to make Him a profit? 
The Money question?  A modern day parable of giving. 
            Three preachers were one day discussing how we should give our money to God.  The first preacher said I draw a line on the ground and throw the money in the air above the line.  Whatever falls on God’s side is His and whatever falls on my side is mine.  The second preacher said I draw a circle around my feet and then I throw the money in the air and whatever falls outside the circle is God’s and the money that lands within the circle is mine.  The third preacher had a different idea.  He said that we should give all of our money to God.  So he took his money in his hand and tossed it into the air.  At the same time he said Here God, Catch! 
            The truth of the parable is that our God given talent is all that we have and all that we are.  This is God’s gift to us to use as we see fit. 
We can use it for God’s business and profit or we can bury it and save it for a rainy day that never comes. 

3.  The Harvest.  This is Jesus’ role in  the story.  He is the master who comes to look for a harvest.  This is the heavenly harvest.  This is what God wants to see at the end of the day.  A day of reckoning is coming.  We will be held accountable for our stewardship and management of our God given resources.  What will happen if you do and / or if you don’t? What is God’s business and what is God’s profit? Did Jesus make a profit?  What did He do with what God gave him?  Can we follow his example? 

The rest of the story. The judgment of the sheep and the goats which Jesus gives the scripture immediately following this parable.  In the story of the judgment we find out that God’s profit is seen in the people that you have helped.  He asks for an accounting of how we have touched the lives of those in our lives.  This is what He looks for. 

a.  For those who made a profit:  This is our opportunity.  The profitable servants were industrious workers who did what they could to help further the master’s causes. They were blessed and given even more.  The goal is not to make a pile of money, but the goal was to further the master’s industry.  God’s business is people.  How have we helped those in need.   

b.  For those who buried their talent:  This is our demise.  The problem was laziness.  This servant buried his talent.  He took his talent and his Master for granted. 
In view of the impending day of reckoning, believers must make the wisest use of all that the Lord has entrusted to them, to make it count for him; they must never take their stewardships for granted (24:45–51).   
How will we use that which God has given us?  Could we become better managers of all the resources that God has given.   Ask God to show us. 

a A talent was worth more than a thousand dollars.

The Holy Bible : New International Version (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996, c1984). Mt 25:14-30.

Craig S. Keener and InterVarsity Press, The IVP Bible Background Commentary : New Testament (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1993). Mt 25:15.

Craig S. Keener and InterVarsity Press, The IVP Bible Background Commentary : New Testament (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1993). Mt 25:14.