It’s About More Than Your Talents
I. All the PARABLES in CONTEXT.
A. INTRODUCING: “The KINGDOM is like…”
B. CHARACTERIZING: The reality of GRACE.
C. JUDGING: When the Kingdom fully COMES.
Jesus’ use of parables and the focus he gave them changed over the course of His public ministry. The parables we will engage this week and next week mark a decisively turn in focus. It’s important that we see the overall context so we can better understand each parable as we reflect on it.
1. Kid’s question: What story do you remember Jesus telling? What do you like about that one?
2. Does the three emphasis of the parables throughout Jesus’ ministry make sense to you?
II. WALKING through the STORY. (v.14-30)
A. A MASTER going on a long JOURNEY. (v.14,19)
B. Servants GIVEN a lot of MONEY. (v.15)
C. The ACTIONS of each SERVANT. (v.16-18)
D. The RESPONSE of the returning MASTER. (v.19-30)
Hearing a story starts with just that…hearing. It’s important, no matter how familiar the parable, to walk through it piece by piece. This helps us to hear it again, as if for the first time. We slow down long enough to listen to hear what God might be saying to use today.
3. What stands out to you about this story? What questions does it raise in your mind?
4. Is there anything in this parable that makes you uncomfortable? What is it?
III. RETHINKING what we think we KNOW. (Ps. 119:27)
A. The MASTER gives…and then GIVES more. (v.15, 21-23, 28-29)
B. The focus is FAITHFULNESS not AMOUNTS. (v.20-27)
C. The FAITHFUL are enfolded in JOY. (v.21,23)
D. Yet EVERYONE doesn’t “WIN”. (v.24-30)
E. PARALYZING fear from MISPERCEIVING God. (v.24-25)
Jeff titled the sermon, “It’s about more than your talents” because we often chose to draw that application because the word talent is right there in the text. But a talent then and a talent today were very different things. And while God does give people talents today to be used on His behalf, this parable looms larger than just that one idea.
5. In the rethinking process what aspects of the parable surprised you? Why?
IV. Taking the STORY to HEART. (Ps. 119:11)
A. EXAMINE your PERCEPTION of God. (v.24-25; Jn. 17:3; 2 Cor. 3:18)
B. Fear is a INDICATOR of MISPERCEPTION. (v. 25; Is. 41:10; I Jn. 4:18)
C. Don’t HIDE the gifts or COMPARE to others. (v.25; Mt. 5:14-15; Gal. 6:4)
D. God embodies GENEROSITY and JOY. (v.21,23; Zeph. 3:17; Phil. 4:19)
There are some key take aways from this parable. Every time we read the Scripture the question eventually gets around to, “What are you saying to me God? What do I need to take to heart?” Today’s parable has a wealth of insight to contribute.
6. How would you describe your perception of God? How does that perception shape other parts of your life?
7. Where do you find a fear (the bad kind) of God to play a role in your life? How did that get there? How can you shape that a different way?
8. What has God given you that you’d prefer to hide (or hoard)? Why? How can you change that?