« PreviousContinue »
THE THIRD REWARD. GREATER Opportunities, LarGER SPHERES. Thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things. I will give thee a larger sphere of usefulness. This would have been true of the Jewish nation had they accepted Jesus as the Messiah. It was true of the Apostles and early leaders of the Christian Church. They not only greatly increased in power and usefulness, but they have had the privilege of blessing the whole world, through the Gospels they wrote, through the history of their lives, and through the growth of the little plant they nurtured in its feebleness till it has become a great tree overshadowing the earth.
Think what a change was wrought in Peter by his faithfulness. He was changed from Simon the impulsive, to Peter the rock, from one who denied his Master, to one who spent all the rest of his life in proclaiming His Gospel, and died a martyr like his Master.
Upon all the faithful, even in this world, this same reward is bestowed, a larger sphere of usefulness and responsibility, increased power, greater influence. All the joys of imparting good, of helping others, are multiplied. We constantly see this illustrated in daily life. Faithfulness in the smaller sphere ever leads to a larger sphere, to new activities, to grander opportunities, to more splendid achievements. Thus, and thus only, can one become ruler over many things. More of the forces of nature are obedient to him, more of the influences over men are subject to his control.
This may be seen in the increased powers over nature given to Christian nations. One man can do the work of thousands in the savage state. Authority is given over land and sea, over winds and lightnings, over the hidden forces of nature, over fruits and flowers and trees; all minister to usefulness, character, and happiness. This reward will have its greatest realization in the future life. EXAMPLE. Edward Everett Hale writing of George Washington says: "He was always subordinating himself to the duty that was before him. He was born, as we saw, to small opportunities; he made them great. He was educated with comparatively small advantages; he made them the first of advantages. He was brought up among simple people. He learned among the simple people the way in which to dictate to kings and to handle generals. You must let me reverently repeat the words of Scripture: 'He was faithful in a few things; he was made ruler over many things.' As he was faithful in the little, he was successful in the great. And this is the American school of diplomacy, of statesmanship,
and of war."
GETTING AHEAD OF ONE'S SELF. "It was a very wise, as well as a strikingly successful man, who gave a young friend the illuminating advice: Don't keep trying to get ahead of other people. Even if you succeed, the situation will be unpleasant. Try to get ahead of yourself instead. There's no drawback in that, and it is the fastest way, besides.'”
THIS IS HOW THEY RISE. "A young woman found employment in a queensware store. She immediately began a course of study in her leisure moments, upon glassware and china. Then she read some recent works upon the appointments of the table, and in a short time, by applying herself to her business, became the most valuable employee in a large store.
"The young woman who, to earn an honorable living, went into a lady's kitchen, and instead of gossiping every evening found time to read a few good books and household papers, was soon too valuable a housekeeper to be kept in a subordinate position in the kitchen. She knew how a table should look for a formal dinner, she knew what dishes were in season, she knew how to serve a meal in its proper courses, and more than that, she knew something about the food value of different dishes.
"Of course this sounds like an old-fashioned Sunday school book, but the fact remains that there is always room at the top,' and that no unusual amount of intelligence is needed to reach the top. A fair average of good sense and a proper amount of application will accomplish everything."-Womankind.
HIS FOURTH REWARD. Enter thou into the joy of thy lord, participate in his joy and share with him in his pleasure, the same kind of joy which our Lord himself feels. Leighton's words on this entering into the joy of the Lord are beautiful: "It is but little we can receive here, some drops of joy that enter into us, but there we shall enter into joy, as vessels put into a sea of happiness." The joy of the Lord Jesus Christ, of which the faithful, like him, shall partake in some measure here, and in its fulness hereafter, is (1) the joy of a free activity in doing right, like the joy of motion in health, like the song of a bird in the morning. (2) The joy of entire consecration and submission to God. (3) The joy of doing good, of self-denial for others. (4) The joy of perfect faith in a wise and loving God, committing everything to his care. (5) Joy in the conscious love of God to us, communion and friendship with him. (6) The joy of loving others. (7) The joy of
also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other two other talents.
He 22. And he
23. His lord said unto him, 1 Well done, good thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make ruler thee things enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
24. And he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou not own, and gathering where thou hast not didst
1 V. 21.
and faithful servant; over many
seeing others saved. (8) The joy of victory. (9) In the end, outward delights and pleasures to correspond with the inward joy.
In his lines to his deceased brother-in-law Kipling began:
"Beyond the path of the outmost sun, through utter darkness hurled,
Sit such as fought and sailed and ruled and loved and made our world."
"For who giveth, giving, doth win back his gift: And knowledge, by division grows the more;
HIS FIFTH REWARD. We learn from v. 28 that the faithful one has still another source of reward, from the very failures of the unfaithful. By them he learns what to avoid; he finds the shoals and hidden rocks, and escapes from danger of shipwreck; he has the opportunities others refuse to accept; he does the work they leave undone; he makes use of their works and the methods which they fail to use.
His increased ability makes it possible for him to take upon his shoulders more than would come from the natural increase of his "talents."
Who hides his Master's talent shall die poor, And starve at last of his own thankless thrift."
III. The Man with Two Talents. - Vs. 17, 22, 23. "This man ought to interest us, for he presents the type to which we almost all belong, the man who is neither very rich nor very poor, not notable because of excess or of defect, the man with gifts like a million others, the average man. Therefore this quiet, commonplace, unnoticed man, going his faithful way, doing his duty insignificantly and thoroughly, winning so unobtrusively at last his master's praise, ought to be interesting to us all." — Bp. Phillips Brooks. He is average in wealth, neither rich nor poor; average in joy and sorrow; in mental capacity neither a sage nor fool; average in his experiences.
HIS FAITHFULNESS. 22. He also that had received two talents gained two other talents. He was as faithful and as successful in proportion to his ability, as the one who had received five talents. He would soon be equal to any one who had received five talents, but had not made so good a use of them. All depends on the ratio of faithfulThe progress is by geometrical progression. Even he who had received but one talent could have surpassed in a short time one who used five with less faithfulness.
"It is in the quality, more than in the quantity of talents that their true value lies." "Behold how great are these primary eternal qualities- patience, hope, kindness, intelligence, trust, self-sacrifice."
The average man need not be average in these great qualities. "A little man with a great gospel is mightier than a great man with a little gospel."' The Gospel is the same mighty wisdom and power of God, no matter who uses its power. See I Cor. 1: 18-29.
HIS REWARDS. 23. Well done, good and faithful servant. He had the same rewards as the man with five talents (except the extra talent), for he was equally faithful. The rewards were according to his ability. He had all he could use or enjoy. His cup, small or large, was full and running over, and he could increase his capacity.
"The wise and true
Crave not the lofty tasks, but turn the small
To greatness by the great heart doing all for God." -Jean Ingelow.
IV. The Man with One Talent. Vs. 18, 24-30. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth. Hiding treasure in the ground was a very common plan for safe-keeping, in a land where there were few banks or places of deposit. The Parable of the hid treasure, Matt. 13: 44, was founded on this custom.
25. I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth : lo, there thou hast that is thine.
26. His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where have not strawed:
27. Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and
then at my coming I should have received mine own with, usury.
28. Take hath ten talents.
29. 1 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not, even that which he hath shall be taken
even that which he hath.
therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which
Matt. 13:12; Mark 4: 25; Luke 8: 18; John 15: 2.
The talent is buried by neglect to use it, possibly from a morbid fear of making mistakes, possibly from that vanity which is unwilling to do anything unless it is great or showy. He would keep it safe, but forgot the moth and rust. Trench refers to those who, in the early church, pleaded that they had enough to do for their own souls, and were afraid of losing them in trying to save others; and so, instead of being the salt of the earth, thought rather of keeping their own saltness, by withdrawing sometimes into caves and wildernesses, from all those active ministries of love by which they might have served their brethren.
"It is said that in the early history of New England the legislature objected to giving a charter to a Missionary Society because they did not have religion enough to export. Henry Van Dyke said that if the early settlers had carried out that principle they would soon have had none for their own use."
HIS EXCUSES. (1) 24. Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man. That is, hard-hearted; insensible to the feelings of others in all matters relating to money. Seeking gain for himself at any cost to others. Reaping where thou hast not sown. Unjustly gathering for himself the fruits of other men's labors. Gathering where thou hast not strawed (scattered)," with the winnowing fan- appropriating everything produced on his land by the labor of his servants, without giving them any share-no inducement to work for such a curmudgeon master." — Exp. Gk. Test.
This representation of the worst kind of landlord is set forth in the parable in order to show by contrast that if it was mean and unworthy to misuse the property of such a man, how infinitely worse it was to so treat the gifts entrusted by One who is holy and just.
(2) 25. And I was afraid. To risk the money, lest he should lose it, and incur his master's displeasure.
THE EXCUSES WERE VAIN. (1) Because he was wicked and slothful. He did not do what he could. A single talent was a large amount of money. What God has entrusted to the poorest and weakest of us is infinite in value and power. Many another would have done much with a single talent, has done it; and in that case he would have found that he had a very generous and bountiful master. The idle, the bad workmen, the careless are most apt to feel hard toward the master.
(2) Thou knewest etc., even accepting your own statement, your excuse is vain. 27. Thou oughtest therefore, if you believed I am such a man as you say, to have put my money, which was mine, not yours, to the exchangers. The great variety of coins and systems of money which found their way into Judea through the return of Jews from all nations at the time of the feasts, and the three kinds of money, Jewish, Greek, and Roman, in common use, required a considerable number of men to be employed as money. changers. "The wealthier members of this class received money on deposit, for the purpose of investment on which interest at fixed rates was paid.". Hastings Bib. Dic.
HIS PUNISHMENT. (1) He lost his place and the favor of his master.
(2) The revelation to himself and to others of his real character. He saw his own ugliness as in a mirror of the soul.
(3) He lost the talent entrusted to him, and the opportunity of using it.
(4) His very ability to use the talent well was taken from him, even if he could obtain
30. And cast ye out. the unprofitable servant 1into the outer darkness: there shall be the weeping and gnashing of teeth.
I Matt. 8: 12.
The loss of the talent begins in this life; opportunity to repent.
another chance. The unused limb grows weak.
ILLUSTRATION. The fish in Mammoth Cave, Ky., are entirely blind, from their long existence as a race in perfect darkness, although the fish of the same species in the streams outside in the light have good eyes.
ILLUSTRATION. In one number of the "Household Words," Dickens describes a visit to what he calls Skitzland. A man, digging a hole in his garden, broke through the crust of the earth, and fell into the interior. Here he found a strange land, the peculiarity of which was, that, while every person was born physically perfect, at a certain age any part of the body which had not been used was lost entirely, leaving only the bones. Thus a coachman had only stomach and hands; a lawyer had no legs, but a massive jaw; some fashionable young ladies were only a pair of eyes and a bunch of nerves; the schoolmaster had only his heart left. There is a large measure of truth in this as to the spiritual life. The punishment for not doing good and bearing fruit to God, is the loss of power and opportunity to bear fruit.
"I have seen wicked men and fools, a great both get paid in the end, but the fools first."
many of both; and I believe they
Birthplace of Lincoln, Kentucky.
Now enclosed in a marble building, to preserve it as a memorial for the encouragement of all whose circumstances
seem to be of one-talent endowment.
THE ONE-TALENT MAN.
He couldn't sing and he couldn't play,
And little children learned to know,
THE TEACHER AND HIS CLASS.
According to the Westminster Teacher the following plan has had more to do with the new life and rapid advancement of a certain school than all the rest of their plans put together. It is especially appropriate to this lesson.
"The pledge reads:
THE LAST JUDGMENT.-Matthew 25: 31-46.
COMMIT vs. 34-36.
GOLDEN TEXT. — Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. — MATT. 25: 40.
Gather together all the various words and phrases which express the method of becoming Christians, or characterize the Christian, such as believe in Christ, follow Christ, doing good deeds, righteous, lovers of God and man, obedient.
Then put them all together in one harmony as a picture of those who shall inherit the kingdom prepared for them.
PROMISE FOR SERVICE.
To be the King's teacher means love, prayer, service, and self-sacrifice. Believing that the end we have in view that of guiding immortal souls in the way of the kingdom of heaven is worthy of the best that I have, I hereby most solemnly promise, as a member of God's church and his Sunday school
1. To attend Sunday school regularly, rain or shine, heat or cold, allowing nothing but sickness or absence from the city to keep me away.
2. In case of unavoidable absence to notify the department superintendent the day before.
3. To be punctually in my place by 9.15 o'clock.
4. To give as much time as necessary through the week to the careful preparation of the lesson.
5. To bring an offering each Sunday. 6. To take part in all the exercises. 7. To be, if possible, a regular attendant at the weekly teachers' meetings.
8. To give all the time I can to visiting my pupils during the week.
9. To pray for the Sunday school, the teachers and for the gift of the Holy Spirit to dwell in my heart and speak through my lips."
LEARN BY HEART.
THE LESSON IN ITS SETTING.
Object, to guide and encourage them in their mission.
THE ROUND TABLE.
FOR RESEARCH AND DISCUSSION.
The Son of Man.
Coming in his glory."
How do "sheep" and "goats" describe the people represented?
What were the characteristics of true disciples?
How was their reward appropriate?
PLAN OF THE LESSON. SUBJECT: The Two Ways and Where They Lead.
I. THE JUDGMent Day.
II. THE RIGHTEOUS AND THEIR REWARD.
THE TEACHER'S LIBRARY.
Joseph Cook's Monday Lectures, Conscience and Transcendentalism, "The Final Permanence of Moral Character." Plutarch's Delay of Divine Justice, Dr. Peabody's edition. Pres. G. Stanley Hall, A Study of Fears.