Using our time, talents and treasure to bring glory to God by doing good, making beauty and sharing truth.

Toward the end of Matthew 25 Jesus tells the parable of The Bags of Gold, as the NIV titles it. Jesus follows this up with a description of what it will be like when he returns to earth, sits on his glorious throne, and separates the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. I’m sure you know these stories, and have probably heard sermons on both these texts. I certainly have. But I have never heard a sermon that connects these two passages. This is unfortunate because they are clearly connected in Matthews gospel and surely in the mind of Jesus. I don’t think we can really understand one, without connecting it to the other.

The parable of the Bags of Gold, found in Matthew 25:14, tells of a master going away on a long journey. Before he leaves he calls three of his servants and gives them bags of gold to invest for him while he is gone. The amount he gives to each one is according to his ability. When he returns he is delighted to discover that two of his servants have doubled the amount of gold he gave them, and proclaims to each of them, “Enter into your masters joy.” The master is disappointed that the third servant hid the money in the ground, and there was no increase. The master rebukes the man, calling him wicked, lazy and worthless, and has him tossed out into the darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.

After this parable, Jesus proceeds to tell the disciples that when he returns, he will judge humanity according to what they did and did not do. To those who helped people by feeding the hungry, giving water to the thirsty, clothing the naked, taking strangers in, ministering to the sick and visiting those in prison, he invites them to take their inheritance and enter into the kingdom of eternal life, because when they did good to those in need, they were doing good to him.

To those who did not help the needy, who did not do good to the “least of these”, he proclaims ” Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire, prepared for the devil and his angels!”

I think God gives everyone three symbolic bags of gold, those being time, talent and treasure. To those who invest their bags of gold in doing good, making beauty and sharing truth for the glory of God, they will one day hear those delightful words, “Enter into your Masters happiness. Come into eternal life.”

Unfortunately, it seems most people use their bags of time, talent and treasure towards selfish ends. To advance their careers, improve their lifestyle and up their prestige. Sadly, one day they too will hear from the Master, King and Judge, but they will hear words of condemnation and enter eternal fire.

I love living in Oaxaca, Mexico, working at FFHM’s Home For Needy Children and working alongside so many brothers and sisters in Christ who have dedicated their time, talents and treasure to helping the least of these, the poorest of the poor. In our own ways we are doing good things for the kids (great meals, warm clothes, lots of play) making beautiful surroundings and beautiful lives (gardens and art work) and sharing the truth of the Gospel (as well as the truth of math, science and history at our elementary school).

I hope and pray that all Christians can find that happy niche in life where they joyfully give of their time, talents and treasure to do good, make beauty and share the truth of God’s love, all to God’s glory.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,

which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Ephesians 2:10