July 30, 2006 – August 5, 2006
“His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” Matthew 25:23.
Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 1, 656–660.
“The parable of the talents has not been fully understood. This important lesson was given to the disciples for the benefit of Christians living in the last days. And these talents do not represent merely the ability to preach and instruct from the word of God. The parable applies to the temporal means which God has entrusted to His people. Those to whom the five and the two talents were given, traded and doubled that which was committed to their trust. God requires those who have possessions here, to put their money out to usury for Him—to put it into the cause to spread the truth. And if the truth lives in the heart of the receiver, he also will aid with his substance in sending it to others; and through his efforts, his influence, and his means, other souls will embrace the truth, and begin also to work for God. I [Ellen White] saw that some of God’s professed people are like the man who hid his talent in the earth. They keep their possessions from doing good in the cause of God. They claim that these are their own, and that they have a right to do what they please with their own; and souls are not saved by judicious efforts made by them with their Lord’s money. Angels keep a faithful record of every man’s work, and as judgment passes upon the house of God, the sentence of each is recorded by his name, and the angel is commissioned to spare not the unfaithful servants, but to cut them down at the time of slaughter. And that which was committed to their trust is taken from them. Their earthly treasure is then swept away, and they have lost all. And the crowns they might have worn, had they been faithful, are put upon the heads of those saved by the faithful servants whose means was constantly in use for God. And everyone they have been the means of saving, adds stars to their crown in glory, and increases their eternal reward.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 197, 198.
1 What will be said to everyone who enters the kingdom of God? Luke 19:17, first phrase; Matthew 25:23.
note: “God requires all to do with faithfulness the duties of today. This is much neglected by the larger share of professed Christians. Especially is present duty lost sight of by the class . . . who imagine that they are of a finer order of beings than their fellow mortals around them. The fact that their minds turn in this channel is proof that they are of an inferior order, narrow, conceited, and selfish. They feel high above the lowly and humble poor, such as Jesus says He has called. They are forever trying to secure position, to gain applause, to obtain credit for doing some great work that others cannot do. But it disturbs the fine grain of their refined organism to associate with the humble, the unfortunate. They mistake the reason altogether. The reason why they shun any of these duties not so agreeable is found in their supreme selfishness. Dear self is the center of all their actions and motives.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 466, 467.
2 In what way may our means be so used as to bear fruit throughout eternity? Psalm 112:9.
note: “God will furnish facilities so that the faithful steward of His entrusted means shall be supplied with a sufficiency in all things, and be enabled to abound to every good work. ‘As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth forever. Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness.’ 11 Corinthians 9:9, 10. . . .
“The Lord now calls upon Seventh-day Adventists in every locality to consecrate themselves to Him and to do their very best, according to their circumstances, to assist in His work. By their liberality in making gifts and offerings, He desires them to reveal their appreciation of His blessings and their gratitude for His mercy.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 132.
3 Is it the amount or the motive that makes a gift acceptable to God? Matthew 10:42.
note: “ ‘Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.’ Hebrews 13:2. These words have lost none of their force through the lapse of time. Our heavenly Father still continues to place in the pathway of His children opportunities that are blessings in disguise; and those who improve these opportunities find great joy. ‘If thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday: and the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.’ Isaiah 58:10, 11.
“To His faithful servants today Christ says, ‘He that receiveth you receiveth Me, and he that receiveth Me receiveth Him that sent Me.’ No act of kindness shown in His name will fail to be recognized and rewarded. And in the same tender recognition Christ includes even the feeblest and lowliest of the family of God. ‘Whosoever shall give to drink,’ He says, ‘unto one of these little ones’—those who are as children in their faith and their knowledge of Christ—‘a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.’ Matthew 10:40, 42.” Prophets and Kings, 132.
“Poverty need not shut us out from showing hospitality. We are to impart what we have. There are those who struggle for a livelihood and who have great difficulty in making their income meet their necessities; but they love Jesus in the person of His saints and are ready to show hospitality to believers and unbelievers, trying to make their visits profitable. At the family board and the family altar the guests are made welcome. The season of prayer makes its impression on those who receive entertainment, and even one visit may mean the saving of a soul from death. For this work the Lord makes a reckoning, saying: ‘I will repay.’ ” Testimonies, vol. 6, 347.
4 What things does the apostle mention that may be so used as to insure to us eternal life? 1 Timothy 6:18, 19.
note: “Day by day we may be laying up a good foundation against the time to come. By self-denial, by the exercise of the missionary spirit, by crowding all the good works possible into our life, by seeking so to represent Christ in character that we shall win many souls to the truth, we shall have respect unto the recompense of reward. It rests with us to walk in the light, to make the most of every opportunity and privilege, to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, and so we shall work the works of Christ, and ensure for ourselves treasure in the heavens.” Review and Herald, January 29, 1895.
“God desires the willing service of our hearts. He has endowed us with reasoning faculties, with talents of ability, and with means and influence, to be exercised for the good of mankind, that we may manifest His spirit before the world. Precious opportunities and privileges are placed within our reach, and if we neglect them, we rob others, we defraud our own souls, and dishonor our Maker. We shall not want to meet these slighted opportunities and neglected privileges in the day of judgment. Our eternal interests for the future depend on the present diligent performance of duty in improving the talents that God has given into our trust for the salvation of souls.” Counsels on Stewardship, 127.
5 What forcible illustration does Daniel give to represent the condition of those who are saved? Daniel 12:3.
note: “The Lord has often given me [Ellen White] a view of the situation and wants of the scattered jewels who have not yet come to the light of the present truth, and has shown that the messengers should speed their way to them as fast as possible, to give them the light. Many all around us only need to have their prejudices removed and the evidences of our present position spread out before them from the Word, and they will joyfully receive the present truth. The messengers should watch for souls as they that must give account. Theirs must be a life of toil and anguish of spirit, while the weight of the precious but often-wounded cause of Christ rests upon them. They will have to lay aside worldly interests and comforts and make it their first object to do all in their power to advance the cause of present truth and save perishing souls.
“They will also have a rich reward. In their crowns of rejoicing those who are rescued by them and finally saved will shine as stars forever and ever. And to all eternity they will enjoy the satisfaction of having done what they could in presenting the truth in its purity and beauty, so that souls fell in love with it, were sanctified through it, and availed themselves of the inestimable privilege of being made rich, and being washed in the blood of the Lamb and redeemed unto God.” Early Writings, 61.
6 Who are illustrated by the parable of the talents? Matthew 25:14.
note: “By pouring the whole treasury of heaven into this world, by giving us in Christ all heaven, God has purchased the will, the affections, the mind, the soul, of every human being. Whether believers or unbelievers, all men are the Lord’s property. All are called to do service for Him, and for the manner in which they have met this claim, all will be required to render an account at the great judgment day.
“But the claims of God are not recognized by all. It is those who profess to have accepted Christ’s service who in the parable are represented as His own servants. . . .
“To His servants Christ commits ‘His goods’—something to be put to use for Him. He gives ‘to every man his work.’ [Matthew 25:14; Mark 13:34.]” Christ’s Object Lessons, 326.
7 Is everyone responsible? and to what extent? Matthew 25:15.
note: “Every servant has some trust for which he is responsible; and the varied trusts are proportioned to our varied capabilities. In dispensing His gifts, God has not dealt with partiality. He has distributed the talents according to the known powers of His servants, and He expects corresponding returns.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 282.
“However large, however small, your talents, remember that what you have is yours only in trust. Thus God is testing you, giving you opportunity to prove yourself true. To Him you are indebted for all your capabilities. To Him belong your powers of body, mind, and soul, and for Him these powers are to be used. Your time, your influence, your capabilities, your skill—all must be accounted for to Him who gives all.” Ibid., vol. 7, 281.
8 What period of time is referred to in the parable of the talents? Matthew 25:19.
note: “With what intense interest is the examination of the talents carried on in the judgment, that the improvement may be noted, or the deficiency revealed. Eternal life or death hangs upon the decision of this investigation. Though the participants in the work of the Lord have to acknowledge that they can claim no merit, that their talents are those that have been delivered unto them, that there could have been no gain without the deposit, no interest without the principal, by diligent trading God has been glorified. Those who have made use of their intrusted gifts have gained other talents. They do not feel that they have done more than their duty. The capital was the Lord’s, and the treasure is his, and they are satisfied that their work meets the Master’s approval. But he who faithfully fulfilled his trust has abundant reward; for the Lord restores to him both principal and interest, and makes him ruler over all that he hath. The recipient of this mercy realizes that all his success is of the Lord; for had not the Saviour bestowed upon him his love and mercy, the trader would have been bankrupt for eternity. But mark this: when the Lord scrutinizes the talents, and notes their improvement, he bestows upon the diligent trader his approbation, and rewards him as though all the merit were of the human actor.” Review and Herald, March 7, 1893.
9 In what way are we to lead others to Christ? Matthew 5:16.
note: “God holds you as His debtor, and also as debtor to your fellow men who have not the light and truth. God has given you light, not to hide under a bushel, but to set on a candlestick that all in the house may be benefited. Your light should shine to others to enlighten souls for whom Christ died. The grace of God ruling in your heart, and bringing your mind and thoughts into subjection to Jesus, would make you a powerful man on the side of Christ and the truth.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 52.