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Chapter 4: The Greatest Gift

Jesus gave this parable of the talents while He was speaking about the time of His return. It is a parable that speaks of the harvest:

“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. So also the man with two talents gained two more. But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.”

“After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who received the five talents brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’

“His master replied, ‘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!’

“Then the man who had received the one talent came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’

“His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gathered where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. ‘Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’”

Matthew 25:14-30

This parable is usually preached in reference to our personal talents, abilities and money. Valid as this may be, it does not identify the original intent of Jesus’ story.  The “talent” given to each servant, that is the gift that Jesus was symbolically illustrating in this parable, is the gift of eternal life.  Jesus is speaking about believers and what they do with their “talent” – the gift of eternal life. Salvation is truly a free gift. It is given even though we do not deserve it. But there is also a price to be paid as a part of our appreciation.

The man who squanders the Lord’s gift of eternal life and refuses to grow and share what has been given is placing himself in eternal danger. Our call is to grow into the likeness of Jesus… to become one with Jesus.

The servants who received five and two talents are like one who becomes “born again” – saved from great sin and trouble like drugs or prostitution or other self-destructive forces. This is one who is given so much – saved from so much – that he/she is eternally grateful and seeks to be obedient to God… because there is so much appreciation and love for Jesus.

The servant who received just one talent is like one who has lived a moral and good life and has had little difficulty. Yet he still comes to the reality and recognition of Jesus as Savior – becoming “born again.” These are those who have not been saved from great earthly trouble and must realize that they have purchased a “pearl of great price.” (Matthew 13:46)

It comes at a great cost, your life – fully surrendered – hungering and thirsting for righteousness! It means making Him Lord of your life, as well as Friend and Savior.

“Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of My God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.”

Revelation 3:2,3

God knows everything about your life, even before you live it. He also knows if your salvation comes with a desire to live for Him. That is why every child and believer can be assured of God’s righteous reward regardless of age or maturity – regardless of premature death or longevity. God’s Word is for every moment of your living.

“Now is the appointed time of salvation.”

II Corinthians 6:2

We are continually saved from ourselves and the work of Satan.

“Work out your faith with fear and trembling.”

Philippians 2:12

God says if we endure to the end – the end of our days – we shall be saved. That is what makes you an OVERCOMER.

The Fullness of Eternal Life

The “fullness” is gained through the infilling of the Holy Spirit. This is the gift God gives to every believer who surrenders his/her complete life to Him… a complete surrender – everything, without holding anything back! If you truly love Jesus, you will do anything for Him; you will give your whole life to Him!

“…any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be My disciple.”

Luke 14:33

Your total surrender will manifest the “fullness” of eternal life and give the Lord complete authority to bless you and direct you through the many ways He speaks.

God knows that living in your “self,” you can never love Him, obey Him or please Him. The “fullness” of eternal life enables you to love God and obey His will. The “fullness” of eternal life is living “in” Jesus, “in” the Holy Spirit, “in” the Father of Creation!

“This is how we know we are in Him: Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did.”

I John 2:6

“Jesus replied, ‘If anyone loves Me, He will obey My teaching. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. He who does not love Me will not obey My teaching.”

John 14:23, 24

The “fullness” of eternal life is being open to the “gifts of the Spirit” like praying in God’s glorious Heavenly language (praying in “tongues”) or being receptive to the “word of knowledge” or praying for healing.

God is manifesting every one of the nine gifts of the Spirit in believers today! He wants to manifest His gifts in you as well. But God will do so as He chooses, to whom He chooses and when He chooses.

Our responsibility is to be open to them, pray for them and seek them. Why! Because they demonstrate the deity of Jesus and empower us to perform His will.

Spiritual Gifts

“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and He gives them to each one, just as He determines.”

I Corinthians 12:4, 8-11

“The person who truly loves God is the one who is open to God’s knowledge.”

I Corinthians 8:3

“In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungoldy desires. But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit (tongues). Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.”

Jude 1:18, 20, 21

“Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy.”

I Corinthians 14:1

“Behold, I will pour out My Spirit unto you; I will make known My words to you.”

Proverbs 1:23

The “fullness” of eternal life is uniting your will with God’s love – a union that begins at “spirit birth.” But like a newborn child, there must be growth in order to achieve maturity. Every mother nurtures her newborn child until it grows and becomes able to properly care for itself. In the same way, God nurtures each one of us to maturity according to our ability to grow and receive. But our sinful, “self-willed” nature, encouraged by Satan and his demonic forces, is working against His nurturing.

So God therefore disciplines us in order to correct us. This is why every true “son of God” must endure suffering and difficulties in order to GROW.

“Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you.”

Deuteronomy 8:5

“Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with Him and he with Me.

“To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with Me on My throne, just as I overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.”

Revelation 3:19-21

We are to overcome just as he overcame. Did He suffer? Did He surrender all for the sake of the gospel? Did He seek the will of His Father? Did He live a life focused on the real life – eternal life? Did His heart break for the souls of the world who are doomed to a horrible eternity in hell?

The “fullness” of eternal life is the painful, self-stripping transformation from a life lived for your “self” and controlled by your carnal nature to a life guided by Jesus, a life flowing with the peace of His indwelling presence, a divine fellowship with the Father through His Son.

“It is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God.”

Galatians 2:20

The “fullness” of eternal life is the growing of your soul at God’s pace – a willing soul, unhindered by self-reliance and self-defiance and a soul enhanced by the heart’s desire to be all that God knows it can be. Try to be open.

Listen to His words. Look for His leadings – and go forward! Challenge your faith with action! He needs your willingness to help you grow.

Pray to become all that He sees you can be… and you will realize your potential in all things. God, the Father, desires to give you blessings beyond your imagination – blessings full of His love and creative goodness.

It is His heart’s desire for every one of His Children. But there are conditions. God says, “Just by being My children you are responsible to live your lives to the fullest using all the talents available.”

“Be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”

Hebrews 6:12

“… man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”

Deuteronomy 8:3

The “fullness” of eternal life is Jesus LIVING in you…Jesus LOVING in you – Jesus, IN YOU, uniting you with God, uniting you with your true Father. It is true freedom! It is true happiness!

“And this is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.”

John 17:3

Jesus, making eternity a reality, brings everlasting joy. It is not enough to just accept Him as Savior – that is just His introduction! Jesus yearns to be your personal, confiding Friend. Eternal life is entering God’s kingdom and becoming a part of His kingdom – a living pillar in the House of the Lord.

“He who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of My God. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem.”

Revelation 3:12

God’s words are faithful and true. You can trust them. You can stand on His promises…He will be with you, guiding you through every step. Go forward and trust Him. He loves you and waits for you to enter. He waits for you to enter into the Kingdom of God—now, in this lifetime. Your entrance is for now—not when you die!