Matthew 25:21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
Wealthy landowners usually delegated the control and multiplication of their wealth to trained accountants, who could be free persons or, as here, servants. In view of the impending day of reckoning, believers must make the wisest use of all that the Lord has entrusted to them, to make it count for him; they must never take their stewardships for granted (Matthew 24:45-51)
Mat_25:14. Well-to-do masters often went on long journeys. Given the uncertainties of transportation in those days, the time of return for even a well-planned trip would be uncertain.
Mat_25:15-17. Although the exact value of a talent varied from period to period and place to place, we may estimate the values of these investments at roughly fifty thousand, twenty thousand and ten thousand denarii. Since one denarius was a day’s wage, this would be a “small sum” (Matthew 25:21, Matthew 25:23) only to a very rich master, who would probably entrust his wealth only to his most dependable and prudent servants.
Those with sufficient capital could invest it at a profit; for instance, they could lend it to moneychangers who would use it to turn a profit and give them a substantial share. Lending money at interest was also profitable, given the exorbitant interest rates of the period (although Jewish people were not supposed to charge interest to fellow Jews); one patron is reported to have lent to an entire city at roughly 50 percent interest! Because most people did not have capital available for investment, those who did could reap large profits.
Mat_25:18. One of the safest—and least profitable—ways of protecting one’s money was to bury it in the ground; such buried reserves are still occasionally found where someone never returned to retrieve his or her deposits. (In Luke 19:1-48, a servant does worse: tying up money in a head cloth instead of burying it was considered gross negligence, because it did not even keep the deposit safe.)
Mat_25:19-23. Doubling one’s investment was normal, and the servants should have been able to accomplish this. The principle that integrity in smaller matters qualified one to prove one’s integrity in larger matters was often invoked in antiquity. Jesus may well have used the Aramaic term for “joy” that also means “festival” (cf. Matthew 25:10); the master threw a feast at his return and honored his helpful servants.
Mat_25:24-25. The third slave should have known better; he simply did not care what happened to his master’s property. The smallest possible investment, providing interest on a savings deposit, could not have endangered the deposit; it would have been as safe as burying the money. The phrase “You have what is yours” was used in Jewish transactions to say, “I am not responsible for this any further.
The three servants fell into two categories: faithful and unfaithful. The faithful servants took their talents and put them to work for their Lord. The unfaithful servant hid his talent in the earth. Instead of using his opportunities, he buried them! He did not purposely do evil. But by doing nothing, he was committing sin and robbing his Lord of service and increase.
The third servant was unfaithful and therefore was unrewarded. Because this man was afraid he might fail, he never tried to succeed. He feared life and his responsibilities.
As a Pastor I see both types of people daily. There are some that are so in love with Jesus that they can't wait to serve God through His Church. They are the types who are willing to "wash feet" or whatever job is needed. I have a man named Danny Grice who is like that at WM First Assembly. Danny before and after each serve is waiting to see if his pastor needs anything. He is a joy to be around. He does not miss services. You can count on Danny.
Then there are others who you just can't count on. They may or may not be in church, depending upon a couple of things: what else they have to do, and whether they feel like it or not. These are they type that "bury their talent" in the sand. They have time for everything, and everyone else but serving God through His Church. Pastor friends, these are the type of people who will emotionally wear you out if you aren't careful. I know several pastors who just got tired of the unfaithfulness and called it quits. Please understand you have some faithful, dependable people around you. They are the ones you need to connect with, and mentor.
God is looking for "faithful" servants. People He can depend upon. He will reward them with "well done!" Why not check your priorities today. The Word of God tells us not to "forsake the coming together with the saints" weekly, especially now that we are in the last days. (Hebrews 10:25)
"Lord, I know we shall all stand before You one day. My greatest desire in life is to hear You say 'well done my good and faithful servant'. I can't wait until everything works out the way I want it to, to decide to be faithful. I need to be faithful in the small things of life or I will never be faithful in the larger things of life. I thank You for this Word today. In Jesus' name, amen!"