The kingdom of heaven is as a man traveling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. …
“After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou 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.
“He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. 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.
“Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: and I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Thus Christ by definite instruction prepared His disciples for their work. He is our Master, as He was theirs, and this instruction we are to follow. We are to work earnestly and vigilantly to prepare the way for the second coming of the Lord. There is much to be done in preparation for that solemn event. Waiting, watching, praying, and working,—this is what we are to do as servants of God. Personal consecration is necessary, and we cannot have this unless heart-holiness is cultivated and cherished.
God requires us to be faithful in His service. Let there be no spiritual declension. The apostle exhorts us to be “not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.” All are to strive to increase their capabilities, that they may continually do better work for the Master. He has provided every facility, so that His servants can labor intelligently.
When invited to a dinner or a feast, Christ accepted the invitation. He was accused by the religious leaders of eating with publicans, and they cast at Him the imputation that He was like them. The respect shown to Christ at the feasts He attended was in marked contrast to the manner in which the scribes and Pharisees were treated, and this made them envious. When at a feast, Christ controlled the conversation, and gave many precious lessons. Those present listened to Him; for had He not healed their sick, comforted their sorrowing, and taken their children in His arms? Publicans and sinners were drawn to Him; and when He spoke, their attention was riveted on Him.
Christ taught His disciples how to conduct themselves when in the company of others. He instructed them in regard to the duties and regulations of true social life, which are the same as the laws of the kingdom of God. He taught the disciples, by example, that when attending any public gathering, they need not want for something to say. His conversation when at a feast differed most decidedly from that which had been listened to at feasts in the past. Every word He uttered was a savor of life unto life. He spoke with clearness and simplicity. His words were as apples of gold in pictures of silver.
Christ gave lessons adapted to the needs of His hearers. It was at a feast that He gave the parable of the great supper.
“It came to pass,” the record says, “as He went into the house of one of the chief Pharisees to eat bread on the Sabbath day, that they watched Him. … And He put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when He marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them, When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honorable man than thou be bidden of him; and he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place, and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room. But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee. For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”
In His parables Christ held up the mirror of His Father’s mind. Every insult shown by man to his fellow man only made Him more conscious of their need of His divine sympathy. He realized the harm Satan was trying to do through the power of position and wealth. In His human nature He felt the need of the ministration of heavenly angels. He felt the need of His Father’s help, as no other human being has ever felt it. He was Himself winning, as a powerful warrior, a victory in behalf of the world that He had created; and under the most trying circumstances His faith did not fail. He placed Himself in His Father’s hands, and every insult He endured enabled Him better to understand man’s great need. As our substitute and surety, He felt every pang of anguish that we can ever feel. He Himself suffered, being tempted.
“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not. Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”
Christ’s humanity made Him very tender toward humanity. The lessons He gave His disciples were in perfect harmony with His announcement of His life work. We read that after being tempted in the wilderness, Christ returned to Galilee, “and He taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all. And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up: and, as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto Him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”
In everything Christ sought first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and that which He did He commands His followers to do. This example He gave to the human race that they might in His strength render to God the obedience He requires, and in the end present themselves perfect before His throne. He was one with the Father. His life was a fulfilling of the law, a continual obedience to God’s commands. The Review and Herald, October 2, 1900