Series: Guest Preachers

Sharing in the Master's Happiness

May 26, 2024 | Ron Zeigler



This lovely parable of Jesus has a simple message of living life with all that God provides for each of us for His glory and honor. No comparisons are needed. Some are given more, and some are given less. Each of us can enjoy the Master's Happiness by using the best we can, that which He has given to us for His pleasure. We do all of this in the power of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we can work with what He gives us and wait upon Him as we work to bring the increase and results as He sees fit.


Join me in hearing todays text: Matthew 25:14-30                                                                                                

 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.

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 have 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 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.’

As we travel through this parable today, please ask God to help you take a thoughtful look at your life and all that is in it. By the power of the Holy Spirit, consider taking a personal inventory of your precious life, gifted to you by God for your blessing as well as for the benefit of the Body of Christ and ultimately for the honor and glory of God in Jesus Christ to the furthering of His Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.

Just in this congregation we have all kinds of talents, gifts, abilities, understandings, affections, insights manners and a multitude of assets. We could likely take a lifetime to inventory all that is possessed by just this group. Remember, we are talking about everything we have, everything we are, everything we know and everything we can do, because all of it is a gift from God, to be used for His good purposes.

The talents described in this parable are of exceedingly great value consistent with a servant's entire life's valuables and more. 

We have before us Jesus’ teaching on what life is truly about now, as we await His sure return in glory, and about what matters for all of us in the future.

It is a teaching designed to motivate those who belong to God in Jesus Christ through His gracious gift of faith and are now seeking to obediently live for the Master’s glory and enjoy His happiness.

This is not a passage about how we can gain salvation, fellowship, and peace with God in Jesus. Instead, it is about showing us how we can properly and lovingly live out our cherished relationship of salvation and peace with God in our everyday lives.

Those who know God in Jesus Christ by His generous gift of faith are His loving servant/disciples gifted with a variety of talents, according to our abilities. Or, in other words, according to what God is pleased to give us. 

According to our abilities, for some or maybe even all of us, is a phrase that might sting or hurt a little when we first hear it. Maybe this is true because too often we want what we think we need, and we are not satisfied in our selfish pursuit, unless we get it. We have our own ideas of what we think we should have. 

Jesus offers to each of us today, through this passage, a reality check in that all people, who have been given the gift of New Life in Jesus Christ and have peace with God by His wonderful gift of faith, can be truly satisfied and even rejoice with thanksgiving no matter what are our circumstances, no matter what are our abilities, and no matter what talents God is pleased to provide for us. 

When we are in Christ, we are useful for the glory of God as we proceed by faith, no matter how many "talents" we have. The key for each of us, in Christ's care through the power of His Spirit, is to use all we have, the best we can, out of love for God and unto His glory in thankful obedience. 

This parable provides a contrast between what it means to live for one's master with joy, love and devotion, verses what it looks like for one to live for himself alone, defying his master and living contrary to his master's clear instructions. 

For those who are yet united with God in Jesus Christ, this is also a parable that serves as a warning those who do not honor God and do not strive to live all of life for His glory.  It is a warning about the eternal judgment to come and in so doing, God in His mercy may bring new life to some through the message of this passage. 

The apostle Paul understood well the teaching of this parable. God had thoroughly worked on him and brought him to the right place of embracing all of life in Christ. So, in dramatic fashion he wrote to the followers of Christ in Philippi this clearest of messages of what it means to live life to its fullest for Jesus, his master, and to enjoy Christ's happiness, 

“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

Paul summarizes the life of a Follower of Jesus perfectly. When a person is united with God through faith in Jesus Christ, our life's primary goal is living for His glory and striving to do His will in all of life, by the power of the Holy Spirit. 

In his letter to the saints in Ephesus, Paul reminded them of this when he told them…"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." (Eph. 2:10 ESV) 

All who are in Christ, are gifted by God with talents and He will strengthen each of us, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to multiply and use these talents for His glory and for the building up of the family of God. 

Again, in a similar way, Paul writes to the followers of Christ in Philippi about the magnificent help they have in living for Jesus. We are never left alone in using our talents to serve God for His glory.

"Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God Who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure." (Phil. 2:12 ESV) 

It really doesn't matter how much you can supply. It is always God Who ultimately brings the increase in our lives in accordance to His perfect will. What you bring or provide in any given situation is enough in His care. When done out of obedience to God in thankfulness for all He has accomplished and provided for you in Jesus Christ, He brings the fullness of our lives to completion. Nothing in our lives is wasted when we are in Christ's care.

Your pain is not wasted, your sorrow is not wasted, your joy is not wasted, your struggles are not wasted, your weakness is not wasted, your mistakes are not wasted, and your successes are not wasted.

God uses the whole of our lives in Christ for His honor and glory as He daily strengthens His precious children through the power of the Holy Spirit. 

Also, this parable is sandwiched between two other parables about the ultimate judgment of God upon all people. This judgment is a reality that will ultimately come upon every person who ever lived.    We are reminded that death does not lead to a final reward for everyone. Eternal life is only for those who know God in Jesus Christ and this reality is manifested in lives that are lived for His glory, no matter the level of accomplishment or success.

When considering the final judgment, there is never any need to worry, for those who belong to Jesus, because He has covered their sins with His righteousness for ever more. No use of one's talents, no matter how great or small, can ever add one bit of righteousness to us. All of our righteousness is in Jesus Christ, and this righteousness is ours only by His gracious gift of faith. 

There is also some teaching here about what it means to be a disciple of Christ. It speaks to the fullness of a disciple’s commitment to following and serving one’s master in every aspect of life.

At the end of The Gospel according to Matthew we have recorded these well-known words of Jesus about being one of His disciples. 

Matthew 28:18-20

            18 Then Jesus came to the eleven disciples and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me.
            19 Therefore, as part of your everyday lives, wherever you are, whatever you are doing, make disciples of all nations,                baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey                            everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

            So, for us today, in your everyday lives, be a disciple of Jesus and be about making disciples of Jesus. 

What is a disciple?

            Servant - One whose life is completely in the hands of his master           
            Steward - One who uses his master's resources for his master's gain.
            Witness – One who simply tells what they know about something
            Equipper - One who helps others along in their journey for the master. 

            In this parable Jesus is highlighting the servant and steward aspects of being a disciple, to teach us about a critical aspect of a disciple’s life in Christ. 

            In a similar manner, relating to being a disciple of Christ, Jesus spoke about the Kingdom of God when He responded to the question, what is the greatest commandment. With all authority, He answered,

            “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hand on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40)

            At the core of the living for the Kingdom of God is seeking to love God with all of one’s heart and all of one’s soul, and all of one’s mind, and then loving one’s neighbor as himself or herself while serving God with everything God has given to each of us. 

In this parable,

The first servant valued his master and desired with eagerness to use the talents given to him by his master to improve upon his master’s assets. 

The second servant also valued his master and sought with devotion to use the talents given to him by his master, even though they were fewer than those given to the first servant. 

The third servant did not value his master. He was not interested in furthering the master’s assets and saw him not as a loving master who he wanted to please out of love and devotion, but instead, he did not value serving his master. So, he hid the talents given to him and did not use them for the master’s blessing and benefit. He simply left them as they were given to him.
            Judgment against this third servant, is not for the lack of the amount gained, because the first two servants who gained unequally, were equally praised.

            The problem for the third servant is that he gained nothing by not trying. He did not value and honor his master enough to serve Him by using the talents he was given for the Master's benefit.             He alone received judgment against him by his master because he valued his own desires and his own purposes and his own interests above those of his master. He did not use any of his talents in any manner for his master. 

            Let's put this parable in contrast to an earlier teaching of Jesus recorded for us in Matthew 7:17-23
            17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit.
            18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 
           19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.   
             20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.
           21 "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my               Father who is in heaven.

            22 On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your                      name, and do many mighty works in your name?'

            23 And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.' 

            In the parable of the Talents, the third servant is judged guilty by the Master, as an affront to His authority, because of               his absence of effort to use the talents gifted to him for the Master's purposes.

            In Matthew 7, those people whom Jesus says are to depart from Him, are not to depart because of their lack of action, but are to do so, because He never knew them, these are the people who say they have done many great things in His name.

            They prophesied in His name, cast out demons in His name and did many mighty works in His name. He describes them as workers of lawlessness.

            So, what really matters when it comes to living life as a disciple of Jesus?  

            What matters is being a child of God through His gracious gift of faith.

            True saving faith is the power of God that moves us to want to live for Him in all of life.

            It is a faith working in us by the almighty power of the Holy Spirit that moves us to see life more and more from God's vantage point, and for His glory.

            It is a faith that enables us to believe and trust in His everlasting care, even when we can't see the fullness of the outcome of our efforts or the purposes and benefits of our circumstances.

            It is a God given faith that enables one to see His amazing hand in our efforts to use what He has given to us to show forth His generous love and glory in Jesus Christ.

            As pastor Troy, at my home congregation, has rightly said many times, all of us in the Body of Christ are needy and all of us are needed.

            The Body of Christ has people with all variety of talents, as Jesus described in today's parable. All of us are needed and all are needy. No matter how strong one's abilities are or how abundant are one's talents, they are still in need of Jesus and in need of others.

            And no matter how weak one may think their abilities are, or how low their amount of talents, the truth is they are needed by the Body of Christ. They are useful to God and are as equally in need of Jesus as are those who appear stronger in their abilities. 

            These truths are the foundation of our life together in the Body of Christ.

            We thrive on the understanding that each of us is needy before God in Jesus Christ and before one another, and each of us is needed by body of Christ. 

            When you are in Christ, you have been chosen to be a valued and necessary part of the family of God in manifesting His glory to a watching world and also to those in the heavenly realms.

            When you are in Christ, through His gift of faith by the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus has called you salt and light in this world. This is because you know and have what this world really needs, the Truth of God, revealed in His holy word. You believe it and embrace it. This truth unlocks reality in the lives of all people to whom God reveals it.


“Part of our problem is that we tend to carry around with us an unbiblical definition of ministry that allows us to live comfortable as Christian consumers. We think of ministry this way: we have our little private lives that belong to us, and we step out of our lives into moments of ministry and then step back into our lives after those ministry initiatives are over.

            The fact of the matter is that since we have been bought with the blood of Jesus, our lives do not belong to us anymore. They are His possession for His use. This means that our life is ministry and ministry is our life. There is no real separation between life and ministry. That means we live, work, relate, play, and relax with a ministry mentality. It means I am always thinking about how to be part of what God is doing in the locations where he places me.

            This means my connection to the work of the body of Christ is not that I’m the attender of something, but rather that I am a participant in something along with everyone else. I am part of God’s ‘all of my people, all of the time’ redemptive plan.

            The greatest honor of my life is that I have been chosen to be both a recipient and an instrument. This has given my life deeper meaning than anything I could have discovered on my own. This is what God alone does by His grace.

            “New Morning Mercies” July 30, by Paul David Tripp 

            The apostle Paul wrote to the Saints in Corinth explaining well the true nature of God's concern and care for the Body of Christ and its proper function with all of the talents God has provided to them for His honor and glory and for their blessing and benefit. 

            12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.

            13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body-- Jews or Greeks, slaves or free-- and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

            14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body.

            16 And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body.

            17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell?

            18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.

            19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.

            21 The eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you," nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you."

            22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty,

            24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.

            26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.

            27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. (1 Cor. 12:12 ESV)


            As we begin to draw this to a close, please consider the great work of God in your life because of saving work of Jesus and by the power of the Holy Spirit. 

The Fruit of the Spirit:

            Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

            As a follower of Jesus Christ, these are “Talents” you have been given by God to use as He sees fit. 

            As part of the Body of Christ gathered here in Dauphin County, PA, with many “Talents” to use, it is possible for you to heed the calling of God as described well, many years ago. 

"Expect great things from God,

and attempt great things for God."

            So, I ask you, in Christ's care, founded completely upon His righteousness, and in the strength of the Holy Spirit, consider well the talents God has given to you, whether great or small and the place you have been given in the Body of Christ to use them in your whole life.

            Contemplate how you may be renewed and empowered with joy and hope to see what God is pleased to do with you, to use everything gifted to you by Him for the blessing and benefit of the Body of Christ, for His glory and for the furthering of His kingdom both now and forever more.

            If you don't have want you think you need to serve Him well, ask Him for what you think you need. Too many times we do not have because we do not ask, or we ask with the wrong motives.

            Then set out in a faith founded upon Jesus' righteousness, to use your talents well, sharing in your Master's happiness and see what increase Your loving and generous Master may bring for your blessing, for the benefit of others and for His great honor and everlasting glory.


            You may never know until you try. Amen.


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Series Information

When Pastor Peter is away Second City Church is blessed to hear other men God has gifted to preach.

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