For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 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.” 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.” 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.” 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.” 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, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.” But his master answered him, “You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 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. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 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. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
—Jesus Christ *
Do you believe your successes make you something? Do you believe your failures make you nothing? You have always been something before God, for why else would he concern himself with judgment! You have always been nothing compared to God, for otherwise he could not judge you! But you, you who are something before God because he desires you, and you who are nothing compared to God because he created you, do you still believe that your successes or failures are what God judges? Do you believe that God loves the man of five talents more than the man of two? Supposing these men both double back what has been given to them, do you believe God—who judges all and judges without partiality—regards the one more than the other because the increase of five was greater than the increase of two? Now supposing they both make the investment, but the circumstances of their worldly lives only allow the man of five talents to add two, and the man of two talents to add one, now do you believe God regards them less than he did when they had had a more favorable turn? Do you believe you are able to please God more when it is easy to show how much you have done? Do you believe God’s pleasure is founded in the twists and turns of the world?
Do you believe God judges the faithless servant because only one talent was returned? Do you believe God needed more talents and was angered because the servant’s despairing conduct put God, the Maker and Possessor of all, at a loss in the world? Do you believe your successes add an iota to God’s kingdom? Do you believe your failures diminish God’s glory? Do you believe you are the one who gives the increase? Do you believe God would be pleased with any and every kind of increase? Do you, then, believe the faithless servant could have stolen ten talents from the other servant and pleased God with this great yield? Do you believe that the ends would justify the means? Do you believe God judges the ends without regard for the means? Oh! What a lie, as if God judges you for the ends at all! All the ends are his, yet do you believe you can bring them about? Do you believe you can know the future and guess all the circumstances? Do you believe some special wisdom is given to you to know what God has kept hidden? Do you believe glory comes from good intentions? Do you believe your success is better if knowledgeable? Do you believe your failure is excused because well intended? Do you still believe God is concerned with success or failure?
Instead, do you not believe God judges you for your actions, when you—you and no one else, you without the excuses of the crowd, you without regard for circumstance, you without the pride of success, you without the worry of failure, you without your intentions—in the very moments of obedience, did or did not do what God commanded?