“It will be as when a man who was going on a journey called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one—to each according to his ability. Then he went away. Immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them, and made another five. Likewise, the one who received two made another two. But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground and buried his master’s money. After a long time the master of those servants came back and settled accounts with them. The one who had received five talents came forward bringing the additional five. He said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents. See, I have made five more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’ [Then] the one who had received two talents also came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two talents. See, I have made two more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’ Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a demanding person, harvesting where you did not plant and gathering where you did not scatter; so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground. Here it is back.’ His master said to him in reply, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant and gather where I did not scatter? Should you not then have put my money in the bank so that I could have got it back with interest on my return? Now then! Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten. For to everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’” (Mt 25:14-30).
There are five lessons the Parable of the Talents can teach us:
- First, this parable teaches us that success is a product of our work.
We have a mission that God expects us to accomplish. The Parable of the Talents teaches us what we are supposed to do while we await the return of our King. We are to work, using our talents to glorify God, serve the common good, and further God’s kingdom.
- The Parable of the Talents teaches that God always gives us everything we need to do what he has called us to do.
We are tempted to feel sorry for the servant who received only one talent, but in reality he was given more than enough to meet the master’s expectations.
Just as the master expected his servants to do more than passively preserve what has been entrusted to them, so God expects us to generate a return by using our talents towards productive ends.
- The Parable of the Talents teaches that we are not all created equal.
Even though we’re not created equal in regard to the talents we’re given, there is equality found in the Parable of the Talents. It comes from the fact that it takes just as much work for the five talent servant to produce five more talents as it does the two-talent servant to produce two more talents.
- The Parable of the Talents teaches that we work for the Master, not our own selfish purposes.
We should maximize the use of our talents not for our own selfish purposes, but to honor God. We know that we work in a fallen world. Because of the curse of sin, our work will be difficult. But we should feel satisfaction and joy from doing our best with what God has given us in the place seeking to succeed in order to honor him.
- The Parable of the Talents shows that we will be held accountable.
The Parable of the Talents is not about salvation or works righteousness, but about how we use our work to fulfill our earthly callings. The unfaithful steward in this parable didn’t so much waste the master’s money – he wasted an opportunity. As a result, he was judged wicked and lazy. We are responsible for what we do for God with what we have been given, and one day we will be held responsible.
The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to benefit all. The day of account will come at last. We must all be reckoned with as to what good we have got to our own souls, and have done to others, by the advantages we have enjoyed. It is not meant that the improving of natural powers can entitle a man to Divine grace. It is the real Christian’s liberty and privilege to be employed as his Redeemer’s servant, in promoting his glory, and the good of his people. Those who think it impossible to please God, and in vain to serve him, complain that He requires of them more than they are capable of, and punishes them for what they cannot help. They dislike the character and work of the Lord. The slothful servant is sentenced to be deprived of his talent. This may be applied to the means of grace.