According to the late Bill Bright of Campus Crusade, only two percent of Christians regularly share their faith with others. In Matthew and Luke, Jesus recounts two versions of the parable of the talents. Most people think of these parables in terms of money stewardship or ability stewardship. However, the same principles equally apply to evangelism.
While different in many aspects, three points remain consistent:
- These parables are instructions to Christians. The nobleman represents Jesus. Both versions refer to the servants of the nobleman using the Greek word, “doulos.” A “doulos” is not merely a servant but a person “wholly-involved in a subservient relationship.” Therefore, these parables are specifically aimed towards people in relationship with the noble man. The Luke version specifically refers to the citizens as a distinctly separate group from the servants.
- In both parables, the Nobleman entrusts the servants with His treasure and, then goes away for a time with a promise to return. At His return, He asks the servants for an account of the treasury.
- Whether the servants received the same number of talents or differing talents was not critical to the parable. The amount of profit was unimportant. The Nobleman’s response was, “Well done, good and faithful servant, ” whether the increase was two times or ten times. (Mat 25:21 CEV) The point of the parable was solely “increase.” Both parables contain the same woeful admonition to the servant who did not increase.
“You worthless, unprofitable servant! You could have ‘at least’ earned interest by putting my treasure in the bank.” (Mat 25:27 CEV paraphrase)
The Nobleman would have been satisfied with a measly 3% savings account return on his investment!
Jesus charges each one of us to “Go and preach the good news to everyone in the world. ” (Mat 16:15 CEV) The Good News is the treasure. The parables of the talents indicate that while personal salvation is good, Jesus expects us to invest the treasure to increase His kingdom.
“Unprofitable servants!” Two percent of Christians regularly share their faith with others. I would be indignant about this number if not for this: I was a ninety-eight percenter. I was but am no more. I realized that while I don’t have great Bible scholarship like John Wesley, I have same the treasure. I’m not a great speaker like Billy Graham but I have the same charge. Increase the kingdom.
“While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest… shall not cease.” (Gen 8:22 KJV)
I’m weak in the seed department and not so strong in harvesting. I don’t hand out tracts on the street corners or tell my neighbors “Jesus Christ died on the Cross for you.” I’m not a preacher; I’ll probably never lead a harvest of thousands to the Lord. Nonetheless…
As a country girl, I know this truth. Just as seed must come before the harvest, plowing and preparation must come before the seed. Okay, I’m weak in seed and not so strong in harvest. But, I can plow. I can be a two percenter.
I encounter hundreds of people each year. Just think about it– the supermarket, the bank, the school, playgroups. Even for Work-At-Home-Mom, the list of contacts is huge. I try to touch everyone I meet with the ministry of “Please and Thank You.” The ministry of “Please and Thank You” softens the heart in preparation for the Word. With every tip I leave and every bill I pay, I enclose a “Thank you” witness card. The cashier at Wal-Mart may not accept Christ because I bought wheat bread, but her heart will be prepared by graciousness. A simple card with the Word of God inside can cultivate hardened soil. The soil is the heart and the seed is the Word.
“The seed that fell on good ground, sprang up, and bare fruit a hundredfold.” (Luke 8:8 KJV)