The Responsibility Opportunity of Ministry

Matt 25:14-28

"For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. 15 And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. 16 Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. 17 And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. 18 But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord's money. 19 After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them.

20 "So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, 'Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.' 21 His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.' 22 He also who had received two talents came and said, 'Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.' 23 His lord said to him,'Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.'

24 "Then he who had received the one talent came and said, 'Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.'

26 "But his lord answered and said to him, 'You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. 27 So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. NKJV

In the story Jesus gives us a prospective picture of what our accounting will be like. The story is simple. There was a rich man who had three servants. Since he was going on a long journey and needed someone to look over his affairs he divided it up among the three.

The master was conscious that some have greater capabilities that others. So he gave 5 to one 2 to another and 1 to the last.

Having delivered the money to each man he took his leave of them. While he was gone the first two went to work and gained twice what they had been entrusted with. While the last man went and hid his so as to not loose even what he had.

Now eventually the master of those servants returned. When he did, he called them all for them to give an account of what they had been entrusted with. He was very pleased with the first two but not with the third.

We know very little about the motives or the thinking of the first two. But the third is different. He is called to give an account of why his amount was the same as at the beginning.

He sees his master as a very demanding fellow. Instead of this spurring the man to do the best he could he decided to do nothing. For some people nothing is best because if you don't try anything you cannot fail.

But this was contrary to what he had been told to do. Therefore he was being disobedient. He knew it was wrong but he did it any way or should we say he didn't do it. Think of that day after day for a long time he looked at the place where he had buried the money and never changed his mind. It was like he was disobedient every day. He could have repented at any time but he never did. Day after day he multiplied his transgressions for he did not change.

Maybe he thought that at least he was not stealing the money. He was going to give it all back just as he received it. There must have been a dozen good reasons for not doing anything but they would not hold when the master returned.

Secondly the master said he was lazy. Lazy because what had he been doing all the time he was supposed to be using what his master had given him. We do not know. Maybe he did nothing. Many of us are experts on doing nothing. Some accidently and others on purpose. You heard the story of the fella who came into a house where several young men were just lying around doing nothing. The fella said, " I'll give 10.00 to which ever one of you can prove you are the laziest." All but one man jumped up to begin to demonstrate how laze they were. But the one man who had not moved said, "Just role me over and put the 10.00 in my back pocket." Now some people are just about that lazy.

But the master of the servant said he was lazy. He was supposed to be the servant of the master and he was evidently not doing what he needed to be doing.

I will be the first to admit that we do not know all that is going on in this passage. But I think we could all agree the problem is attitude. He has the wrong attitude toward his master and the way the master makes demands of others. He claims that it was out of fear that he hid the money but it is deeper than that.

Many people are affected by attitude problems. The story of Bill Porter in Door to Door is a perfect illustration.

Or the way some children do in school as opposed to others is often a matter of attitude rather than ability. In the parable we know that the man had the ability, for it says he gave the talents according to their ability. Ability was not his problem, it was attitude.

If we see ministry as responsibility we will never do it. The pastor will be forever spending the most of his time trying to get people to do ministry. We must see ministry as opportunity, not responsibility. Not only will it affect the way we minister it will mean that ministry is ever fulfilling.

People like to do things they get to do. They do not like to do things that they have to do.

If you see your service for God as a responsibility it will always be something that you have to do. There will be little joy and fulfilment. Instead you will complain about all the other people who aren't doing their share. You will look for excuses to get yourself out of it.

But if you see service for God as an opportunity it will be something that you will enjoy for the most part. You will look forward to ministry as something you get to do. You won't complain that others are not doing their share. You will feel sorry for them for all that they are missing out on. You will want them to get involved, not to take the load off of you but because you want them to have the fulfilment that you have.

If it wasn't for the fact that I have a family to support I would do this job for nothing. As a matter of fact I did this job at other churches for less than nothing for over 14 years. I believe what I am saying because I live it.

So I want to pont out the difference between opportunity and responsibility.

  1. Jesus taught that attitude was important.
    1. Jesus always obeyed the Father's will.
      1. But it was not out of responsibility but out of love.
      2. Psa. 40: 7. Then I said, "Behold, I come; In the scroll of the Book it is written of me. 8. I delight to do Your will, O my God, And Your law is within my heart.''
      3. Ps 1:1-2 Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, NKJV
    2. Jesus gave His life for us not out of obligation or responsibility but out of love.
      1. Greater love no one has than this than to lay down one's life for His friends.
  2. Opportunity is filled with gratitude as opposed to a sense of toil.
    1. We are thankful that God has allowed us to be a part of His great plan.
    2. We have such a blessing for God has given us the secrets of what life is all about.
      1. Others are searching without hope.
      2. But God has set us here to point the way.
      3. And we get to do that.
     This message was preached at FBC Toulon,
    1. by Albert Harmon. See it at