Thursday, 25 February 2021
Title: Investing into God’s Kingdom
By Dr. Tho Lye Mun

Parables of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30)

The bible talks about investment. More specifically, Jesus did. Just as the topic of investment is at the forefront of modern day Malaysia, it was also something in the hearts and minds of people of that day.

The parable starts off with the Master needing to go off on a journey, whilst entrusting 3 of his servants “talents” (a talent was a monetary unit worth about twenty years’ wages for a labourer). To one he gave 5, to another 2 and to the last 1 talent. Whilst it is unclear exactly what the first two did with their talents, but it appears they endeavoured in some kind of business activity or investment to double the wealth entrusted to them, albeit an already considerable amount to begin with. The Master was pleased with them. However, the third servant hid his sole talent in the ground and he returned no gains. This displeased the Master.

Every investment comes with risks. There is hardly any risk parking our money in a bank account or safety deposit box, but there is almost zero gain. There is a bit more risk putting it in an established investment or insurance linked fund (of course there is a slim chance of bankruptcy) but there is less gain. There is a lot MORE risk starting a business or investing into the markets, but this approach takes bravery, a lot of thought, effort and persistent hard work to ensure the success of the venture. You could lose everything, or you could reap a reward multiple times over. Jesus says the Kingdom of God is like this.

I believe the choice of the word “talents”, to describe wealth in the passage, has intentional literal implications for us today. Jesus’ message to us is that He entrusted each of us with gifts and skills, “to each according to his ability” (vs15). The range of talents given to us is endless – intelligence, music, kindness and so forth. For some, they are blessed with health or youthful energy. For some it is wisdom, experience, organisational ability. For others it may be material resources and the ability to generate wealth. Are we using all of this to glorify Him and multiply His Kingdom?

However, like any investment, putting ourselves “on the line” can present risks to our reputation, sometimes our safety, sometimes our wealth. Are we willing to lose our “talents” for the sake of gaining Kingdom territory? Or are we hiding in the ground? If we never tell anyone about Jesus, we will never get rejected. If we never imagine God’s glory, we will never be disappointed our friends and relatives do not see the wonder. The third servant decided to play it safe, but I believe it stemmed from his fundamental misunderstanding of God, that He is a “harsh” rule-follower who punishes anyone who steps out of line. I believe God wants us to take risks and use the talents He has given us in the most creative, imaginative and wonderful ways possible to serve Him. We serve a God who is the biggest risk-taker, He gave up everything to come and save us even though we may reject Him.

Prayer

Help us, Lord, to use the wonderful talents and gifts You have blessed us with to multiply Your Kingdom. As we step out and take risks in Your name, may this be the most exciting adventure of our lives, for we know You are there with us every step of the way.

When the master returned the He said 23 “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.”

2021年2月25日,星期四*
题目:投资上帝的国度
作者:陶乃文医生
翻译:吴淑娉姐妹
经文:马太福音25:14-30 才干的比喻(Parable of the talents)

圣经谈论投资,更具体地说,是耶稣谈论投资。就像投资是现今马来西亚人的大前提一样,投资在当时的人心中亦占有一定的位置。

话说主人要往国外,临行前把仆人叫到跟前,将家业交托给他们, (那时1千银子,即1 talent ,相当于一个人工作20年的薪酬),他给一个仆人5千银子(5 talents),一个2千银子(2 talents ),最后一个1千银子(1 talent)。第一、二个仆人拿了巨额银子从事买卖或投资,详情不得而知,但他们都赚了双倍的利润,主人因而感到十分满意,但第三位仆人却将银子埋在地下,依旧把1千银子还给主人,主人为此而不悦。

每项投资都有风险,将钱存入银行或放在保险箱几乎没有任何风险,但收益也是近乎零;将钱放入著名的投资或保险相连基金的风险略高(这些基金破产的机会不大),但相对来说,回报依然不多;自己做生意或投资在市场上的风险更高,不但要很大的勇气和深思熟虑,而且要努力不懈地工作,不轻言放弃,才可获得成功——你可以蚀去一切,也可赚得几倍的回报,耶稣说上帝的国度就是这样。

我相信经文采用才干( talent)这词语来描述比喻中的财富,对我们是有特殊的意义,耶稣给我们的信息是:他根据各人的能力,将天赋(或作恩赐)和技能赐给我们(v15),这才干涵盖了各种才华:聪明才智、音乐天份、生性友善等,对某些人来说是强壮身体,无穷精力;对某些人来说是智慧、经验或组织能力;对于其他人来说,可能是丰富的物质资源及善于赚钱的能力,我们可有用这些才干来荣耀上帝及扩展祂的国度?

但是,像任何投资一样,在传福音时,我们可能会面对各项"风险":我们的声誉、安危、财富可能受到影响,为上帝的国度拓展版图,我们是否愿意冒险?或者我们选择躲在地下——因为如果我们从不向人介绍耶稣,我们将永远不会被拒绝;如果我们从不想荣耀上帝,我们也不会因为亲友不认识耶稣而感失望,第三位仆人认为安全至上,把银子藏在地下,但我觉得他这样做源于对主人(上帝)的误解,以为他是一个墨守成规,会随意责罚犯错"走出界"的人,我深信上帝希望我们为福音冒险,利用想像力,充分运用他赐予我们的才干来事奉祂。耶稣其实是最大的"冒险家",祂甘愿冒着被我们拒绝的可能,放弃一切来拯救我们。

祷告

"主啊,请帮助我们,运用你赐予我们的才干和恩赐来扩大你的国度。当我们以祢的名去"冒险"传福音时,这可能是我们一生中最兴奋的经历,因为我们知道祢与我们同在。

23节:”主人说:『好,你这又良善又忠心的仆人,你在不多的事上有忠心,我要把许多事派你管理;可以进来享受你主人的快乐。』”阿们。"