Derek Prince - The Hardest Thing To Find In The Church Today
Let’s look at the next parable which is very similar but somewhat different. The parable of the talents. That’s in Matthew 25:14-30. Matthew 25:14 and following: 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. And to one he gave five talents, to another two and to another one. To each according to his own ability, and immediately went on a journey.
Now, notice in the minas each one got one mina but with the talents, one got five, one got two and one got one. And he distributed them according to their ability. Understand that God gives you talents according to what He knows, you can do with them. If you can use five talents He’ll give you five. If you can only use two He’ll give you two and if you can only use one, He’ll give you one. But it’s according to your ability, that He measures what He gives. And then it says: Then the one, who received five talents went and traded with them and made another, five talents. Likewise, he who had received two gained two more also. But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money. After a long time the lord of those servants came, and settled accounts with them. The Lord is going to come, and settle accounts with you and me.
So he who had received five talents, brought five other talents. Lord, you delivered to me, five talents. Look, I’ve gained five more talents beside them. The lord said: Well done, good and faithful servant. You were faithful over a few, I will make you ruler over many. Enter into the joy of your lord. The same principle, what you do, in this world will determine what you do in eternity. He who also received, two talents came and said, Lord, you delivered to me two talents. I’ve gained two more. His lord said: Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a few, I will make you ruler over many. Enter into the joy of your lord.
Now there’s a different principle there. One made five talents and the other made two, but the words of commendation were exactly the same to each of them. In other words, it’s the percentage that God looks for. If you’ve received five, He expects a hundred percent. That’ll be fine. If you received two, He expects a hundred percent, that’s two. He knows what you’re capable of and He doesn’t ask more from you, than He knows you can deliver. Let’s go on: 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. I was afraid and went and hid your talent in the ground. There, you have what is yours. But his lord answered and said to him: You wicked and lazy servant!
Let me point out to you that laziness, is wickedness. Most of our churches wouldn’t accept drunkards. They’d say you can’t take a place in the congregation. Many of our churches accept lazy people. But in the sight of God, I think laziness is a worse sin than drunkenness. That’s just the way I see Jesus measuring things. Please understand, I’m not endorsing drunkenness, it’s a sin. But I think in the eyes of God laziness is a worse sin. Jesus said: You wicked and lazy servant! You knew that I reaped where I have not sown. Then you ought to have deposited, my money with the bankers and at my coming I would have received back, my own with interest. The same principle. If you haven’t got the ability, to make money yourself, invest it in a ministry that is bringing forth fruit. Take the talent from him and give it to him who has ten talents. It’s the one who has that receives. For to everyone who has, more will be given and he will have abundance. From him who does, not have, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
That phrase is used, several times in the New Testament, weeping and gnashing of teeth. I’ve studied it and I’ve come to the conclusion, it’s only used about people who’ve been right close to the real thing. They’ve had every opportunity to get in. It’s not people who’ve been right out, and never knew anything about God but it’s the people who’ve been right there, all their lives and knew all about it and never entered in. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. There will be the tremendous bitterness of saying, I could have been in this. I had the opportunity all the time but I never availed myself of it. Now I’m cast out forever into outer darkness. Terrible.
Let me say one more thing. The people who were rejected were the people who had the least, committed to them, the one talent person. I find that’s true in the church. The people who’ve got a lot of ability, will do something with it. The people who’ve got a good measure, of ability will do something. But the one talent people sit back and say: Well, I don’t have much, there’s nothing much I can do so I won’t do anything. They’ll be rejected, they’ll be cast out. I want to speak to some of you. I don’t want to identify you but you are one talent persons. You’ve underestimated your responsibilities. There’s not much I can do. God doesn’t require much of me. God requires faithfulness whether you have a little, or whether you have much.
I preached this in our church in Fort Lauderdale, on the one talent people and I asked for a response for people who felt, they were one talent and hadn’t been using their talent. The response was shocking! It was about half the congregation. This is a major problem with many believers. I’ve only got one talent so what can I do with it? I’ll do nothing. Jesus will not accept that. He said, You could have put it in the bank. Your one talent you could have invested in a ministry that was really, bringing forth fruit. Much of that fruit would have been credited to you. One of our big problems, Ruth and I, is we need somebody to serve us. We don’t want to lord it over people but if we’re to do, our job, the one that God assigns, we have to have people who will serve. Just serve.
The hardest thing to find in the church today, is people who are willing to serve. We’ve had some wonderful ones. We’ve met them here. We had a little gathering, with three different people who had served us at different times. Each of them had been faithful. But we’ve had so many problems with people who want their own ministry. They’re not content to invest in another ministry. And they miss everything. They don’t get the benefit of the investment, that they made in another’s ministry. Dear one talent people, look out. You’re in danger. You may hear the words, Cast the unprofitable servant into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Now let me take some principles from these parables.
Number one, our service in this life determines our position in the next life.
Number two, not to use your talent is to lose it.
Number three, not to do good when you can is sin. James 4:17: Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, it is sin.
We often talk about the sins of commission but the sins of omission, are just as real. And then I want to analyze for a moment Matthew 5. There are three classes of people there who were totally rejected by God. The foolish virgins who took no oil, the one talent servant who did, nothing with it and the goat nations who did not help the brothers of Jesus. And they were all totally and finally rejected by God. I said to myself one day, What did they all have in common that caused them, to be rejected? What did they do? I got a simple answer. They did nothing. That’s all you have to do to be rejected - just do nothing. It’s a solemn thought. We’re going to go on very quickly to the other judgments. We’ve been dealing with the judgments of believers. That’s the one that really concerns us. If we’re believers this is what we really need to know about.