Parable of the Talents

“For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them. “To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey. “Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents. “In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more. “But he who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. “Now after a long time the master of those slaves *came and *settled accounts with them. “The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you entrusted five talents to me. See, I have gained five more talents.’ “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ “Also the one who had received the two talents came up and said, ‘Master, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more talents.’ “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ “And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed. ‘And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’ “But his master answered and said to him, ‘You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed. ‘Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest. ‘Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’ “For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. “Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 25:14-30)

The previous Parable that we discussed, The Parable of the Ten Virgins and the one that we are looking at today The Parable of the Talents both are speaking to the Kingdom of God and the return of the Lord Jesus. There are some notable differences in the two. The virgins stressed to need for us to be prepared and the talents stresses that we should be productive. The virgins were watching and waiting for the Lord’s return and in the talents the laborers were working. In both of these Parables we learn the character of those who are eagerly waiting for the return of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Parable tells the story of a man who was going on a long journey and before leaving he distributes his talents amongst his servants. (Matthew 25:14-15) A talent is a measure of money and one talent amounts to 6000 denarii which would take an ordinary laborer about twenty years to earn. Each servant receive a number of talents according to his ability.

Next we learn how each servant used the talents that were given to him. Two of the servants doubled the amount of the talents they had received. The third servant hid the talents during the time that their lord was away. (Matthew 25:16-18)

When the lord returned it was a time of reckoning for the talents that each servant had received. The lord had been gone on his journey for a long time giving each servant time to invest the talent and make an increase of what he had been given. The first two servants with excitement described how they had doubled the talents that they had been given. The lord was pleased with their efforts and he complimented them by saying “well done.” To each he said they were “good and faithful servants.” Because of their faithful good work the lord promoted the servants. As he said to them, “you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things.”

Then the lord spoke to the servant that hid the talents that he had been given and the servant began to make excuses for what he had done. “Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown…” I question if this servant really knew the Lord. Those who know the Lord know Him as loving and just and a provider for that which we need. If he truly knew the Lord he would have known that the Lord requires no more than what we are able, as he gives to “each according to his own ability.” He then tries to return what the Lord had given him. Is it even possible to return to the Lord all that He has given us by His grace?

The Lord who trusted him with the talent called the servant a “wicked and lazy servant.” The Servant should have at least invested the talent in the back where others could have put the money to work and produce fruit for the Kingdom of God. The Lord takes what He had given to the lazy servant and gave it to the servant who had been given the ten talents. The Lord gives this explanation, “For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance.” And to those servants who do not use the Lord’s talents wisely, “but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away.” For his slothfulness the wicked and lazy servant was, “Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Each and all of us are blessed with time, talent and treasure and we are to be faithful in the opportunities that the Lord has given us. Our diligence in service to the Kingdom will be rewarded and negligence on our part will also be punished. Whatever the opportunities and abilities that the Lord has given to us they belong to God. We are His stewards of His creation and we have been told to cultivate them. “Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the Garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.” (Genesis 2:15) As the Kingdom of God is, “just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them.” (Matthew 25:14)

To each the Lord gives according to their ability to do the good work of the Kingdom. “To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey.” (Matthew 25:15) When the Lord comes to receive account of what we have done it will not matter the amount of talents that we have been given. The question will be, “Have you been faithful in your use of the talents?” This is a motivational truth that when our time here in this world is complete we will give an account to the Lord for what we have done with the talents that He has loaned us. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10)

Our responsivities here are important in this world but in the life to follow our responsibilities will be far surpassed. The way that we prove ourselves here in this world will determine the greater privileges that we will obtain in the Kingdom to come. “When He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed–for our testimony to you was believed. To this end also we pray for you always, that our God will count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Thessalonians 1:10-12)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant January 20, 2017

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