NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from the YOU curriculum.
Bible Passages: Matthew 25:14-19, 24-29
Discussion Questions: Have I increased what God has given to me? What steps will you take to increase God’s return on His investment He has entrusted to you?
Food for Thought:
There are stewardship principles that help us honor what God has entrusted to us. After all, everything belongs to God and He expects a return on His investments. Proper stewardship of our resources (including our time, talents, and treasures) is biblical. Stewardship means “to responsibly manage something that belongs to another.” Biblical stewardship is not just taking care of God’s stuff. It’s about using and increasing what God has given to us. God calls us to leverage it, maximize it, and expand it! That’s why taking care of business is important.
Matthew 25 records Jesus’ parable of the talents. The master prepared for a journey and entrusted his possessions to his servants. While he was gone he needed to be sure that his property was well cared for. He expected the servants to manage his property wisely in his absence. Jesus challenged His followers to invest all that God has entrusted to them to advance His kingdom. He taught that living in God’s kingdom includes waiting, but it is an active waiting where people are provided resources by God, are expected to put them to use, and will be judged on their faithfulness. God owns it. We manage it. We must give an account.
Today’s Scripture passage highlights three important principles regarding the talents God gives to us today. First, God grants resources to all people. The master called three of his servants. Each was given an amount of a financial asset: to one he gave five talents; to another, two; and to another, one. A talent originally was used as a measurement of weight (about 75 pounds) before later referring to money. The value of a talent was a large sum. The symbolic meaning of the talent can fit various applications and is not limited to money, spiritual gifts, natural abilities, the Gospel, or anything else. Every person, even an unbeliever, has something God provides to bring Him glory.
Second, God determines who receives what resources and the amounts. The master knew ahead of time the trustworthiness of each servant and acted accordingly. He determined who would receive how much.
Third, God expects the assets He provides to be put into use. The master expected that the servants do more with the money than simply hold on to it. Two obeyed and managed the money in such a way to earn more. One did not and buried his money to protect it from thieves.
God’s criterion for reward is what we do with what we have, not how much we have or how much we gain. The master’s commendation was the same for both the one given two talents as the one who began with five. But instead of receiving blessings, the third servant suffered judgment for both his faithless attitude and his bad action. Because God owns everything, He will hold us accountable for what He’s given us. Being prepared for Christ’s return means refusing to “play it safe” doing little or nothing, but instead serving with the goal of results.
Taking care of business requires work. Likewise, taking care of God’s business involves working with the resources He has entrusted to us. Just think –– if you entrusted your business to someone, you would want that person to help it grow and thrive. God expects the same from us, a return on His investment. Take time to pause and thank God for entrusting His wealth to you. Pray that God will help you replace a “mine” with “Yours” attitude and recognize that everything truly does belong to Him.
In a shifting cultural context, it’s more important than ever before that people connect, grow, serve, and go in their Christian life. YOU is committed to doing just that by providing a complete Bible study experience for small groups and classes. Every session is written through an urban and multiethnic lens that provides relevant, engaging and applicable studies that not only encourage and equip people, but also motivate them to mission. This flexible, non-dated all-in-one quarterly resource offers weekly Bible study for leaders and learners, devotionals, and teaching plans, as well as articles on hot topics and missions. For additional online teaching resources, visit LifeWay.com/YOU.