The 521 Profile: The Five Talent Man
Then the man who had been given the five talents… The largest measure of gifts, the most trusted, the most faithful, responsible and honest. This is a brief profile that we can build, based on how he behaved, and responded in his master’s absence, and what he did with the gifts he had been given. From the profile, we can make important personal and community connections.
First, we have to fully understand, the five-talent man is not just about one man, but of many men and many women – not all, but many. The connection has to be made to ourselves and to everyone who confesses to be a follower or servant of Jesus – that He has indeed given, blessed or entrusted us with something solely for the purpose of doing something with it. This is a spiritual reality for us – not just a story about someone like us.
Second, the connection must bring personal recognition to who we are in Christ – know yourself. Ask yourself the hard questions, “Am I a five-talent, two-talent, or one talent follower of Jesus?” “We must truly know ourselves before we can fully show ourselves.” There is no need to become sensitive, insecure, critical, offended or judgmental. This is the opportunity of our lifetime. We can push the re-set on what who we are, and what we do with the rest of our lives – and we can do it right now. What are the gifts, skills, abilities, and passions that I have?
Thirdly, what is the plan? What am I going to do? Where am I going to serve? How can I maximize, optimize, and be fruitful with what I have been given?
The five-talent man was given the five talents because he had already shown that he knew who he was, he knew what he had, and he knew what he was going to do about it. He was motivated and not lazily content, he was inspired and not satisfied with staying where he was, with what he had. He was not motivated by evil, greed or selfish pride. He was motivated by his love and loyalty for his master. He was not arrogant or cocky, he was confident because he had a plan and was prepared. This is who I am, and so this is how I will live. I will not undermine my potential, my possibilities, my opportunities, with decisions, choices and actions that conflict with that purpose, and contradict with that reality.
The five-talent man immediately went and did not wait. He was responsive and ready to the opportunity to use what he had been given. He did not procrastinate, or push the moment away from its momentum. He wisely used the timing, and maximized the inspiration from being given such a great gift. Seizing, or being in the moment isn’t just an experience, it is an opportunity to do something with that experience… to make the experience more than a memory or feeling. Seizing the moment is capturing the momentum of the experience and doing something valuable and meaningful with it. In the story of the five-talent man he used the moment of being given the five-talents from the man he most loved and admired to double his gift. The five–talent did not waste time with arrogantly boasting or boosting his brand, image or ego. He immediately maximized the brand, image and reputation of his master. The application is to business, but the context is to faithfulness, fruitfulness, and preparation. He had a mission and he fulfilled it.
Our connection to the five-talent man is important. Some of us know him because we are him – and have fully captured the moment and the momentum that comes with it. Some of us know we are not him, should be him, but are not him. The five-talent man seems to be defined by the moment in his life created by the parable of Jesus. But receiving the five talents from his master that is not his defining moment, but rather only one of many, many, moments that led him to the master’s trust and the empowerment of the five talents. The lesson is here for us embrace. Faithfulness, character, integrity, temperament, humility, confidence, preparation, purpose, planning, and the dynamic of active faith all made the five-talent moment possible. Will we respond with our many talents, gifts, skills, abilities, and blessings and empowerment to go immediately to our mission to love with our whole heart, to make disciples, to preach the gospel to every person regardless of their race, color, creed, culture, genetic orientation, sin or sinner? Will we override the faithless impulses and weak arguments of our flesh and disbelief? To be the five-talent man we cannot give in or be derailed by difficulties and discouragements, nor were deterred by hostility to the cross, the reproach of critics and cranks. To go forward in faith to reclaim, rebuild and re-set our opportunities and possibilities with courage and boldness. The five-talent man did not maximize his gifts by using his own strength to create his own brand and reputation, but did so in the name and strength of his master, who gifted, empowered, equipped and sent him. The five-talent man maximized his gifts within the promise, presence and belief of his master in who he was.
Our reminder of content and context of the 521 is this. The talents can be anything and everything. Ministry gifts, spiritual gifts, money, skill-sets, unique ability, creative talents, administrative expertise, and more importantly – availability and faithfulness. The ministers of the Gospel are not traders or traitors, not in their own name or fame, not on their own stock, and or for themselves, but for Christ, and for the good of immortal souls: they are attentive and sensitive, yet bold and responsive, they are all about it – not abandoning what is important but fully maximizing what is important; faith, family, community, career, development, truth and learning, loving and being loved, tracking and being tracked. Praying, believing, study of the word of God. The list is full and powerful, not laborious and boring.
Relatable Goal of the 521
How does the profile of the five-talent man relate to us? Increased awareness of the Holy Spirit in our daily life – God is at work in us with gifts and talents that can change lives. Improved insights (wisdom), spiritual knowledge, improved and enlarged vision and mission. Greater sense of divine movement and moments. New souls welcomed to Christ, and the clear evidence of God’s Spirit in our lives.
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.