5-Minute Bible Studies


Faith Committee, Character Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky


Contributed by Craig E. Beckley
Teacher, Moores Hill, Indiana

June 17, 2001


“He who is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and he who is dishonest and unjust in a very little, is dishonest and unjust also in much.” (Luke 16:10)

A well-known biblical teaching of Jesus is the story of the three servants who were given “talents” or things of value when their master would be away. Matthew 25:14-30 tells us that one received five talents, another received two and the third received one. He gave according to the ability of each servant and apparently offered little advice on what to do with the talent as he left on his trip. He expected them to know what to do with their talents, based on their knowledge of what he expected gained through their association with him.

After some time had passed, the master returned and asked for an accounting of the talents he had assigned to each servant. The servants that had received the five and two talents had both invested or used the talents, and their values had doubled. The master was quite pleased with both of them and rewarded them for taking the responsibility over his talents and bringing him a profit.

The third servant was a very different story. He had not felt any responsibility for using the one talent that he had received and buried it so that it would not be lost. Instead of using what he had, he took no personal interest in its value and waited for the master to return. Of course the master was quite displeased with this third servant because he had not been reliable. He just sat on it so that he would not lose it, but in the end lost everything and was called a wicked and slothful servant.

The servants who had received more, were required to be more productive than those who received less, but all were responsible to do something with what the master had given them.

God has given talents to all of us. Some have more obvious talents, and some have less obvious talents, but God wants us to use and develop the talents, or things of value, that He has given us. We will be responsible to answer to Him some day on what we are doing with those talents, now. The more they are used, the more usable and effective they become. The longer we wait and don’t use them, the more difficult it is to make them productive.

The master expected the servants to treat their talents as if they owned them, or in other words, to have a vested interest in their use. God has given things of value, for the Kingdom, to all of us. We are responsible for their profit.

“Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” (1 Corinthians 4:2)

Of all of the qualities that Paul the apostle could have listed as being the most important, he chose faithfulness, or taking responsibility as being at the top of the list. Not wisdom, knowledge, spiritual maturity or intellectual brilliance, but being faithful.

“So then everyone of us shall give account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:12)


What are you doing with what God as given to you? Do you treat each talent as your own and use it to prosper God’s family and yourself, or are you sitting on it as the wicked and slothful servant?

Here are five “I will” principles whose practice will help incorporate the character trait of responsibility into our lives (you may wish to write these on a poster, board or overhead transparency).

1. I will keep my promises.
2. I will not make excuses.
3. I will do all my work to the best of my ability.
4. I will make things right when I do wrong.
5. I will know my duty and do my duty.

Closing #1: Let’s dialog about it with one another.

  • Shift the group into small discussion groups of 3-4.
  • Encourage groups to list the hindrances in their own lives to practicing responsibility.
  • Ask groups to share their feelings with the whole group.

Closing #2: Let’s close in silent prayer. Ask God:

  • To forgive you for things in your life that cause you to be unreliable rather than responsible.
  • To show you how to practice responsibility in your life.
  • To make you aware of opportunities to grow in this character quality.




This material is published by the Faith Committee of the Character Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. Reproduction and Adaptation is encouraged.