Derek finishes his message by looking at our Lord's Parable of the Talents. He warns and exhorts us to use what we have been given. Don’t just go and bury it. Each of us matters in the kingdom and the task God has given us is vital for the work to be accomplished on the earth while we are still here. You are blessed to be a blessing!
Now we come to the real, I think the climax of this parable.
“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...’”
I think one of his problems was he had a wrong vision of the lord. All he could see of the lord was a hard man.
“‘...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. Therefore you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest.’”
Now, listen to the judgment.
“Therefore, take the talent from him and gave it him who has ten talents. For 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.”
I’ve seen that. It’s true in experience. The ones who have get more, the ones who use what they’ve got get more, and the ones who don’t use what they’ve got lose even what they have.
And then it says, and this is terrible:
“Cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
If you study that phrase, weeping and gnashing of teeth, it’s used several times by Jesus. It’s always used in connection with somebody who was right there who had every opportunity and missed it. It’s not used of a sinner who never was confronted with the gospel, it’s only used of people who’ve known the whole truth, had it offered to them and rejected it.
Now, I know this is controversial but I don’t believe Jesus ever uses servants who are not saved. So, it’s possible to be saved and to be cast into outer darkness. You may not agree with that logic, you’re entitled to your opinion. But to me it’s a very significant fact.
I just want to say something about the one talent person. As I’ve seen in experience over the years, this is psychologically true. The one who has five talents says, “Look, I can make a difference. I can change the world. I can produce results.” The one who has two talents says the same. But the one talent person says, “Well, I don’t have much. I’ll never make a name for myself. I’ll never have my own ministry. I’ll never build a church so I’ll just bury my talent.” I think the greatest danger is for the people with one talent. I want to suggest to you that there are a lot of people here this morning who are not five talent people, who are not two talent people, they’re just a one talent person. What are you doing about it? I’m not the one who can estimate, I don’t know your capacities or your talents. I’ve seen in many parts of the world the person who doesn’t feel that he or she has much does nothing with it. Jesus classified that as laziness and wickedness.
Now Jesus said you didn’t have the capacity to do business for yourself but you could have given it to the bankers and when I came back I would have gotten my own with interest. What would that mean for a one talent person? You don’t have a ministry of your own, you’re never going to be a pastor, an evangelist or a missionary. You may not have any great spiritual gifts, you just have one talent. You sit there and do nothing with it. “I’m not important, I can’t make much difference to the kingdom of God. God isn’t asking much of me. I’ll just play it safe.”
Dear brothers and sisters, that can cost you your soul. You can be cast into outer darkness simply for that. This 25th chapter of Matthew is interesting because it contains examples of three kinds of people who were totally rejected by the Lord. The first was the five foolish virgins who didn’t take enough oil. The second is the servant who only had one talent. The third group are the goat nations who didn’t help the Jews when they were in need. I said to myself some years ago what did all those groups of people have in common that they were rejected? What did they do? I answered in one word, nothing. That’s all you have to do to be rejected, is do nothing.
But I want to appeal to those of you who’ve been sitting there doing nothing for the kingdom of God, maybe doing a whole lot for yourself. You’re a one talent person. If the truth is stated at this moment, if Jesus were to take stock of your life, He would call you a wicked and a lazy servant. I’ve used hard language and it’s going to take humility to acknowledge the truth. But remember, before honor is humility. If my description of a one talent person applies in your life and all you’ve been doing is burying it in the earth, I’m challenging you to make up your mind to change while you have a chance.
Now then, I think it would be good if you really want to change, if you want to say, “Lord, here I am, I’ve got my one talent, but I’m willing to invest it.” Do you know how you can invest it? I’m sure there are other ways—is to invest in someone else’s ministry. Choose a ministry that is working, that is producing fruit, and say, “I’ll serve that ministry in whatever capacity.” You know, the hardest thing to find today is people who will serve.
Are you willing to serve in another person’s ministry? There’s been a whole list of ministries that’s been set forth before you. Most of them, including DPM, we need people to serve us. We’ve had some bitter disappointments—I don’t want to give any indication of who they were but we’ve had people with real talent and ability who just were too proud to lose their identity in somebody else’s ministry.
So, if you are willing to be humble to serve, to do what you’re told, to wait around, and you’d like to give yourself to God and to Jesus and to some ministry or person for that purpose, I would invite you to come forward and kneel here in front. Make a commitment.
I want to pray for each of you that’s come forward and then I want you to pray your own prayer in your own language in the only way that you can approach God naturally.
“Lord Jesus, you are the Lord of the harvest. You see each one that’s come forward, that’s humbled themselves, that’s acknowledged, Lord, that they’re not really working in your harvest fields. The days are slipping fast, the darkness is coming and they’re doing nothing of any real significance in the kingdom of God. Lord, I ask you to have mercy on them. I ask you to visit them with your Holy Spirit. I pray if there are those whose circumstances or physical condition make it difficult that you undertake, that you’ll heal, that you’ll release, that you’ll do miracles for these people that stand here before you this morning. If there are those who have spiritual wounds, Lord Jesus, pour in the oil and the wine—your blood and your Holy Spirit. To those who feel they’re valueless, Lord, let them know how much you value them. You valued them enough to die for each one of them. You gave your life, you paid the highest price. They are more valuable than they could ever understand. Lord, grant a revelation of your love, of how much you value them, how much you depend upon them. In Jesus’ mighty name.”
I’m just going to leave it to you now just to take time to pray your own prayer, each one, in your own words. You can pray out loud or you can pray silently. I would suggest that you don’t get off your knees until you know that Jesus has your life.