“Who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them……And to one he gave five talents…and traded with them and made another five talents……but the one who had received one went and dug in the ground and hid his lord’s money.”  Matthew 25: 14-18 (exerts)

“And Stephen, full of faith and power did great wonders and signs among the people.”  Acts 6:8

It is one thing to give illustrations, it is another thing to have a living example; thanks to Jesus Christ, we have both.  For Jesus taught the people using parables; stories.  He told several in an attempt to illustrate, to get across with common language and circumstances, that which was and is virtually incomprehensible; what the kingdom of heaven is like.  One of the stories that is referenced above concerns a rich man leaving his talents (money) with his servants while he is away.  Two of the servants are wise and take what has been given to them and invest it to get more.  One fearful servant does nothing to try to gain anything but buries the talent in the ground.  The two servants that used the talents to get more are called wise.  The one servant who does not use the money but buries it is called lazy and foolish.

It’s a good story but when would we ever see it happen in reality?  Enter Stephen.  Scripture tells us that Stephen was a follower of Jesus Christ.  We know that Stephen is not one of the original twelve but at some point, either hearing Jesus himself, or hearing the disciples preach, he became a believer.  We are told that Stephen was known for having wisdom and being full of the Holy Spirit.  Yet Stephen could have decided to keep those talents and their use to himself, hiding them, burying them you might say instead of sharing them.  Instead Stephen is chosen and accepts serving in the new church concerning the meeting of daily needs.  In discharging his duties, Stephen is so talented that many after hearing him, are repenting and becoming members of the church.  Stephen is multiplying His Master’s possessions.  When Stephen’s enemies can not find any weakness in his faith or his preaching about Jesus Christ, they revert to telling lies about him to get him in trouble.  Stephen is brought before the council to be tried.  Again, Stephen does renege on his faith or shirk his responsibility to speak the truth; far from it.  Instead through the divine inspiration of Holy Spirit; starting with Abraham, Stephen gives one of the most thorough, impassioned explanations and defenses of Jesus Christ as the One True Messiah.

“Now wait a second!”, a skeptical person might say.  “You know what Stephen got in return for his good deeds and his impassioned defense of Jesus Christ!?  He didn’t get a thank you wise and trusted servant.  No, he got smashed in the head with rocks as the crowd stoned him to death!”, the skeptic would finish.  And from the world’s point of view, Stephen was foolish to be so bold because it meant his death.  Yet here’s the thing, Stephen didn’t have a world view.  Stephen had a view of the kingdom.  As they were picking up stones preparing to kill Stephen, he looked up into heaven and saw Jesus Christ at the Right Hand of the Father.  He forgave the crowd and Jesus excepted Stephen’s spirit into heaven.  One can imagine Jesus receiving Stephen with those words:  Well done good and faithful servant.

So what are we to make of this?  What does this story have to do with us?  Much!  For we have the benefit of both the parable that Jesus tells and real life example in action of Stephen.  You and I call ourselves servants of Our Heavenly Father.  As servants, we have been given “talents” by Our Heavenly Father.  Now these “talents” might be actual financial resources but they may also be talents in leadership, fellowship, musical, preaching, teaching and on and on.  Our Heavenly Father does not want us to bury those talents, that is not use them either out of fear or fatigue or neglect.  He wants us to invest our talents doing wonderful acts for His Creation.  Through people seeing what we do in love, we can shine His light in their hearts melting the coldness of this world and replacing it with the Love of His World.  If you and I aren’t careful where we train our vision, we may end up seeing the world, seeing the envy, spite and hate some, perhaps many will have for us.  In the world’s view we may become tempted to withdraw and bury our talents for another day.  But, like Stephen, we can focus our view on Jesus Christ and have a heavenly view; Our Heavenly Father will not forsake us but will show us His beauty, power, mercy, grace and most of all, love, which will sustain us through all trials whatever they might be.

Should we find our talents deeply buried; we can call upon the shovel which is the Holy Spirit to dig into our hearts and retrieve those God Given talents so that we may use them for His Kingdom.

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, thank You that You have provided learning and real life examples of how we can carry out that learning.  Help us to be like Stephen, using the talents You have so richly bestowed upon us, to help our fellow person and further Your Kingdom.  Forgive us when we become fearful allowing the world view to tempt us to bury our God Given talents away.  Pour out Your Holy spirit that we might be bold in using our talents we pray.  That our lives would be lived in glory and praise to You.  We pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.