Many of us are familiar with the parable of the talents found in Matthew 25.14-29. In this parable, a master gave three servants varying amounts of money to take care of while he was away. The first two servants used their funds to advance their master’s holdings, while the third servant buried his, returning to the master exactly what he had originally been given. The master was pleased with the results of the first two servants and very unhappy with the third. He expressed his pleasure to each of the first two servants with the statement, “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!”

 

There are a number of lessons we can learn from this passage. I want to focus on one: In addition to entering the master’s joy, the reward for a job well done is more work.

 

Verses 21 and 23 read the same: “You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things,” and verse 28 reads, “Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.” The reward for a job well done is more work.

 

 

A Job Well Done

 

The master commended the first two servants for their job well done. He invited both to enter into the joy of their master. We are not told precisely what that joy was, or how it was to be experienced, but I can only imagine the joy of the Lord is highly desirable. What he did not tell the servents is also significant. He did not tell them to take it easy. He did not tell them to take a vacation. He did not tell them that their workload would be lightened. In fact, he told them just the opposite: You have done well. I will give you more to do well at. 

 

 

Created For Work

 

Often we fail to realize that God created us to work. Before Eve was ever created, God put Adam in the garden to tend and keep it (Gen. 2.15). It was only after the fall and as a consequence of sin that work became drudgery and less fulfilling (Gen. 3.17b-19).

 

Just as God created Adam with purpose and for a purpose, so he does us. Although we often look forward to Fridays while dreading Mondays and long for the year when we can finally retire, God still calls us to work. And He still uses work to give us purpose and a sense of fulfillment. Because work is such an integral part of God’s economy, more work is His reward for a job well done.

 

How often, after a big project is complete, do we want to sit back and take it easy? Yet our attempt to take it easy is met with a slew of work that still needs to be done. We grumble and complain without realizing that God’s plan, God’s reward system, includes a never- diminishing amount of work.

 

Discouraging? It shouldn’t be. Just as the master in the parable gave each servant according to his abilities, so does God. The work He asks us to do, He has also equipped us to do. This point is not a rationalization for workaholism. There must be balance in our lives and especially with our families. God will not be pleased if we have accomplished great things yet neglected our spouses and children.

 

 

Balance Is The Key

 

God is not a harsh slavemaster who will work us until we drop dead from exhaustion. Nor is He a hedonistic ruler who wants His subjects to focus solely on self-indulgent pleasures. Vacations and times of relaxing are important parts of recharging and preparing for what is next. And what is next is very often more work and greater responsibility.

 

Each of us has the same choice faced by the servants of the parable: be fruitful with what has been given to us, or suffer judgment for not even trying. God has given us talents – spiritual gifts – to accomplish His work and He has warned us that a job well done will be met with still more work.

 

Are we willing to do what is required to hear the praises of the King? Are we willing today to do those things that will allow us tomorrow to hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant”? Is our desire to experience the joy of the Lord strong enough to be willing to do whatever the work, in both scope and amount, the Lord calls us to?

 

There are a number of lessons we can learn from this passage. I want to focus on one: The reward for a job well done is more work.

 

Verses 21 and 23 read the same: “You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things,” and verse 28 reads “Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.” Here we see that the reward for a job well done is more work.

 

 

A Job Well Done

 

The master commended the first two servants for their job well done. He invited both to enter into the joy of their master. We are not told precisely what that joy was, or how it was to be experienced, but I can only imagine the joy of the Lord is highly desirable. What he did not tell the servents is also significant. The master did not tell them to take it easy. He did not tell them to take a vacation. He did not tell them that their workload would be lightened. In fact, he told them just the opposite: You have done well. I will give you more to do well at. 

 

 

Created For Work

 

Often we fail to realize that God created us to work. Before Eve was ever created, God put Adam in the garden to tend and keep it (Gen. 2.15). It was only after the fall and as a consequence of sin that work became more drudgery and less fulfilling (Gen. 3.17b-19).

 

Just as God created Adam with purpose and for a purpose, so he does for us. Although we often look forward to Fridays while dreading Mondays and long for the year when we can finally retire, God still calls us to work. And He still uses work to give us purpose and a sense of fulfillment. Because work is such an integral part of God’s economy, more work is His reward for a job well done.

 

How often, after a big project is complete, do we want to sit back and take it easy? Yet our attempt to take it easy is met with a slew of work that still needs to be done. We grumble and complain that there is no rest for the wicked without realizing that God’s plan, God’s reward system, includes a never- diminishing amount of work.

 

Discouraging? Perhaps. But just as the master in the parable gave each servant according to his abilities, so does God. The work He asks us to do, He has also equipped us to do. This point is not a rationalization for workaholism. There must be balance in our lives and especially with our families. God will not be pleased if we have accomplished great things yet neglected our spouses and children.

 

 

Balance Is The Key

 

God is not a harsh slavemaster who will work us until we drop dead from exhaustion. Nor is He a hedonistic ruler who wants His subjects to focus solely on self-indulgent pleasures. Vacations and times of relaxing are important parts of recharging and preparing for what is next. And what is next is very often more work and greater responsibility.

 

Each of us has the same choice faced by the servants of the parable: use what has been given to us, or suffer the judgment of not even trying. God has given us talents – spiritual gifts – to accomplish His work and He has warned us that a job well done will be met with still more work.

 

Are we willing to do what is required to hear the praises of the King? Are we willing today to do those things that will allow us tomorrow to hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant”? Is our desire to experience the joy of the Lord strong enough to be willing to do whatever the work, in both scope and amount, the Lord calls us to?

 

 

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