The parable of the talents, found in both the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, is a very interesting story that Jesus tells His disciples. The interpretation of the parable varies widely. Some interpret it to mean that we are to be good stewards of money, and I don’t think that’s far from the truth. The talents Jesus was talking about were, in fact, a unit of money.
In Matthew 25:14 and 15 Jesus says, “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away.”
In the parable, God is the man, and we are His servants. And just as the man in the parable entrusted talents (that is, a unit of money) to his servants, I believe that God entrusts talents to us.
And yes, it could also mean literal money and wealth, but what if it also means talents? As in gifts, abilities, you know, what we’re good at?
In the story, the man entrusts each servant with some money, some talents, “each according to his ability.” I believe that God does the same for us. He blesses us with gifts and talents as well, but each according to our ability. And just like the man in the story who went away, Jesus has physically gone away as well but will one day return to earth to take all the believers home.
If we continue reading in Matthew 25, it says that “He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more…. but he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money.”
God has given each one of us talents and gifts for each of us to use in serving Him, but we can’t just bury it like the one who received the one talent did. We are meant to use our gifts, to “trade with them” so to speak, and allow God’s Kingdom to expand through us using our talents. Maybe God has given you the gift of speaking and encouraging others. Don’t just hide and bury your gift where it will be profitable to none.
Use it. Do what you are good at and what God has called you to do.
Later in the parable, when the master returned, he found his first two servants had made a profit, both doubling what he had first given them.
But when the third one, the one who had buried his talent, came forward, he admitted to hiding the talent in the ground. The master was angry with him for this and ordered that his talent be given to the one who had ten talents. What was one’s loss, where he could’ve made a difference in the Kingdom, it was another one’s gain. Someone else got to see the fruits of that talent and enter into the joy of his master.
And the third servant was labeled a “worthless servant”, whereas the other two had heard the long-awaited words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
I know that I don’t want to sit around, wasting the gifts God has given me, and idly waiting for His return. I want to serve Him with everything I have in me.
What about you? What kind of servant do you want to be?