He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.…
We may bring out the main thought of our Master in this parable if we consider the four points of -
I. GOD'S SOVEREIGNTY OF OUR LIFE. He is the Divine Lord of our life. It came from him; it is continued by him; it is enriched perpetually and liberally from his bountiful stores; and it is subject to his sway. He has a sovereign right to determine what it shall be - what shall be its aim and its issue. He is the "nobleman;" we are "his servants." if we do think of objecting to his claim (ver. 14), we shall only be disappointed and defeated in our rebelliousness of heart. He cannot be dethroned; against his right to rule there can be no appeal. Submission is our true wisdom, as it is our first and last obligation.
II. THE SACRED CHARGE HE LAYS UPON US. He gives to each of us money (silver) - a talent (Matthew 25.), a "pound" (text), and he says to each of us, "Occupy till I come."
1. The time of the nobleman's absence represents our mortal life, or (more correctly) the period between our first sense of responsibility and the last hour of consciousness.
2. The pound (talent)represents the opportunity of service which he places within our reach. This opportunity is compounded of
(1) our natural capacity - bodily, mental, spiritual; and of
(2) all the favourable circumstances by which we are attended as we pass through our life - education, home influence, capital, facilities for entering a sphere of activity, etc. And this sacred opportunity looks out in three directions:
(1) the cultivation of our own nature;
(2) the service of mankind;
(3) the worship of God, and work in his broad field.
The Lord of our life is saying to us, "Occupy till I come;" i.e. put out this pound, employ this sacred opportunity now within your reach, turn it to good account, use your capacities and your circumstances for high and noble ends - for your own spiritual enlargement, for the good of your brethren, for the glory of Christ.
III. THE REWARD OF FAITHFULNESS. (Vers. 16-19.) Here are two principles on which we may depend as guiding the Divine hand when the day of account arrives.
1. Those who have done well will receive God's gracious commendation and reward. To them he will express his good pleasure, and to them he will give an award.
2. They who have been more faithful will receive the more gracious approval and the larger sphere. He who turns his one pound into ten has a warmer welcome and a more liberal reward; to him are those most gladdening words addressed, and to him are entrusted not five but ten cities over which to rule (ver. 17). "Then shall every man have praise of God." But then shall those who have striven hard and Toiled long and suffered much in the cause of Jesus Christ have a full measure of benediction; and to such will be apportioned a crown that will be bright indeed, a sphere that will be broad indeed.
IV. THE PENALTY OF NEGLIGENCE. (Vers. 20-24.) The slothful servant may make excuses, but they will be brushed aside; he himself will be severely condemned; he will he divested of what he has left him; he will be sent into saddest exile (Matthew 25:30). It is not the atheist, or the criminal, or the perpetrator of vicious deeds; it is not the outward and flagrant transgressor, who is here condemned and sentenced; it is the man who made nothing of his life; it is the man who had no sense of sacred responsibility; it is he who withheld his powers from the service of God; - it is he who is pronounced to be so guilty. To let our lives go by without making them a service and a blessing, to let our powers and our opportunities rust in mere disuse, is to be accumulating a debt which we shall not be able to discharge, and which will make us to appear bankrupt at the great account. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.