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Parable of the Talents

QUESTION: What does the parable of the talents mean?


While on earth, Jesus Christ used parables in explaining about the Kingdom of God to the people. These parables usually went unexplained except to His disciples or a select few. Of all his parables, one stands out: the parable of the talents. It still affects mankind today!

Talents, according to the following parable, have to do with money. However, it is only God that sees the heart of man when given an opportunity to prove himself.

Parable of the Talents – Matthew 25:14-30
"Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money.

"After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.'

"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'

"The man with the two talents also came. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.'

"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'

"Then the man who had received the one talent came. 'Master,' he said, 'I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.'

"His master replied, 'You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

"'Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'”

Parable of the Talents – Meaning
The master gave a considerable amount of money to each servant, in keeping with the servant’s abilities. The first two servants were faithful to care for their master’s money. They were rewarded accordingly. The third servant lacked faith and the master saw this as worthlessness. He lost what he had and was punished.

From the passage above, we conclude that God gives talents to every person. These talents vary from person to person. However, we have to give account of these gifts to their owner.

Since Jesus was referring to the Kingdom of God in the parable, we learn that our lives are not ours to live according to our wishes. We owe our lives and wealth to God! As Christians, we are waiting for the return of Jesus Christ to earth. We are like those stewards, faithfully using our Master’s assets while waiting for His return.

Jesus has commissioned us to reach the world with the Gospel till He returns. This includes using our talents to venture out into the unknown with faith. Our aim is to prosper the Kingdom! Most of the time, however, we tend to look for excuses when the tide is rough. We forget that the Lord has given us talents fit for the work! He knows whether you’d be faithful with little or more.

The two servants that used their talents wisely received similar greetings but not rewards. For their faithfulness, they were both commended. I believe this is the highpoint of the parable. It separated those that used their talents wisely, irrespective of the profits made, from the third servant, who disobeyed simple instructions of the master.

Seeing the parable of the talents from the angle of faithfulness to the Master teaches that God’s kingdom is accomplished, not merely with talents, money, or education, but with simple obedience.

Parables of Jesus - Learn More!

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