Matthew 25:13-14 Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour. For it will be as when a man going on a journey called his servants and entrusted to them his property;
A Christian is a curious mixture of sinner and saint. By ourselves, we are poor miserable sinners who can do nothing good. By the grace of God in Jesus Christ we are the children of God, a new creation, and saints. It does no good to focus on one to the exclusion of the other, but life is keeping a balanced view, we are saints and sinners, both at the same time. If we spend too much time thinking about how we are saints, we might begin to take pride in our works and feel that God somehow owes us something for what we have done. If we focus too much on how we are sinners, we will never get anything done, convinced as we are that whatever we do will turn out badly. Just as there needs to be a balance between law and gospel, so also there is a balance between sinner and saint.
This is particularly important in dealing with today's text. It is a stewardship text, and it reminds us that all that we have is a trust from God. Here we must begin with a central truth, that nothing is ours, even though we talk about all we have, and the things that are mine. Even our body is not our own, as though we can do with it as we like - why? Because we were bought with a price, this is important enough that Paul repeats it twice in 1Corinthians. We are free, not because we are free by nature, for by ourselves we were in bondage to sin, death, and the devil, but by Jesus death and resurrection we have been set free, Jesus has paid our debts with his holy precious blood and his innocent suffering and death.
And that is where we often stop, because we love to hear the good news of the forgiveness of our sins - and yet, that is not all that God has done for us, for just as all our sins have been washed away, we are also, by the grace of God, a new creation, a child of God. And it is good for us to consider what life is like for a child of God. Here we might speak of all the blessings with which God has blessed us, those things Luther considered under the term daily bread, that is all that is needed to support this body and life. As a sign and token of our gratitude and appreciation, in humble thankfulness we return a portion of these blessings to do the work of God in support of extending His kingdom and building and supporting his church. We remember the Old Testament guideline for such offerings was 10%, which is how a tithe was defined. And as important as this is, this text is talking about something even more.
This text speaks of God entrusting his things to our care, with a view to using them wisely, and more than wisely, with a view to using them profitably. The remarkable thing about this, is that it seems that God often has more faith in us, than we have in ourselves. This is where that saint and sinner thing comes in - for as sinners we do not believe we can do anything, and we are afraid of losing what we have - and God sees us, a new creation, and has given us this opportunity to experience life as a child of God, for he entrusts His treasures into our care, that we might use them profitably. But just as profit does not come without some risk, so the life of a child of God, is not about walking by sight - seeing and knowing what lies ahead - rather, the life of a child of God is a life of walking by faith, we do not know what will happen when we share the good news of Jesus, it might grow quickly, or slowly, or it might even be rejected - but God has given us this treasure, this good news, not to keep to ourselves, but to share it, to put it to work, to spread it, that those who hear might believe and be saved, and that there might be an increase in the kingdom.
This does not happen when you keep the good news to yourself, as though, by not telling anyone, you take no risk, you keep it safe, and show no profit. God does not give us more than we can handle, and it is not faith to doubt God, when he gives us what he has placed into our stewardship. Such inaction is to wise, nor prudent - all that it is - is unbelief.
But if, we trust in God, and walk by faith, and share the good news, God will bless us by allowing us to see an increase, to see now, what it is like to be a new creation, to experience what it is to be a child of God. He who has begun a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of our Lord Jesus Christ - this is what it is to live as a child of God, it is to live by grace by faith.