Does God want you to be rich or to be poor? Pick one or the other… and take a minute to really think about why you answered that way.
In Matthew 25:14-30 Jesus tells the Parable of the Talents. A Master went away for a long time and left three men in charge of his money . One servant had 5 Talents, another was given 3 Talents, and another was given one Talent. I’ve looked at a few websites to find out today’s equivalent of 1 Talent, and found it ranging from $600,000 – $1,000,000! That’s a lot of money! The first and second servants both doubled their money by the time their Master returned, but the third servant did nothing with his money. He buried the money in the ground because he didn’t want to lose any of it, and the Master judged him harshly for it and gave his money to the one who made the most.
I believe we can see at least three principles that apply to honoring God with our T3: our talent, treasure, and time.
First, a lesson in personal management. Do you see yourself as a steward who will one day give account for how you’ve used your talent, treasure and time; or do you see yourself as an owner who can use your T3 however you want to without needing to answer to anyone? An owner possess and controls what he has. A steward uses what he’s been given to the best of his abilities, but remembers that eventually he will return it all to the true owner. If I let a friend live in my house for a year while I was off traveling the world, I would want him to treat my house well and to care for it. If I returned and found the house in disarray and with holes in the walls I would not be happy!
The second principle is one of excellence. God is not honored by mediocrity. I learned this while doing my internship with the High School Ministry a large church in the Chicago area. I was doing a mailing and stuffing hundreds of envelopes, then labeling them, but I put a few of the address labels on upside down without realizing it. When my mentor looked through my work he noticed my mistake and asked me, “When he/she gets this letter and it looks like this, what’s it telling him/her about how important the content of this letter is? We try to do everything, even address labels, to the best of our abilities as an act of worship to honor Jesus Christ.” I’ve never forgotten that. Certainly, God doesn’t want us to become perfectionists who live like any mistakes are absolutely unacceptable, but we ought to do things excellently for Jesus.
The third and final principle I see here is one of accountability. Remember what happened to that third servant. He didn’t use his talent to honor his Master, so he lost it and was “cast into outer darkness” as well. There are people I know who have lots of money, and they use it well. They support missionaries, give generously to the Church, and use their T3 to bring honor to Jesus Christ. God has given them treasures because He knows they will use their treasure to honor Him.
If God gave you treasures, how would you use them? Would you spend all you were given to get “stuff” – or would you spend your money wisely and give generously to those in need and to support Christ’s work in the world?
When it comes to your T3, are you a steward or an owner of your talents, your treasures, and your time?