Most of us are familiar with the “parable of the talents”. (Mt. 25:19-30) To be honest I have found some aspects of the parable to be confusing…. especially how the Lord dealt with the different servants. It’s great that the ones who did a great job, “doubling the master’s money”, were rewarded …. but what about the “poor sap” who out of fear took the conservative approach; he didn’t steal or lose the talent. Hey, maybe he’s not appointed Vice President Of Finance, but yikes, the Lord calls him a “wicked and worthless servant and commands that he be cast into the outer darkness…. where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Mt. 25:19-30) Yikes !!!
I read that “the parable of the talents has been seen as an exhortation to Jesus’ disciples to use their God-given gifts in the service of God, and to take risks for the sake of the Kingdom of God. These gifts have been seen to include personal abilities (“talents” in the everyday sense), as well as personal wealth.” That make sense, but are there other lessons in this parable?
Jesus says to the good investors, “‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master. (Mt. 25:21) . He also gives him more talents and says “For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” (Mt. 25: 28-30)
Here’s a thought to consider. If a child works hard and learns how to read, than he’s ready to read other books…maybe books about math or history. And if he works and studies these books, then he’s ready to read more advanced topics… this could also be true in learning a skill or trade. If he squanders the initial opportunities, then he can’t receive the next gift or opportunity, or talent…he can’t handle it…. he doesn’t know how to “read”. If we use the talents and gifts the Lord gives us, we’re prepared to receive more; if we don’t, then they are taken away or we give them away. Well, this may not be a “ground breaking revelation”, but it caught my attention. But, is there more to this parable? Ae we missing something here?
Well, what still strikes me is the “INTENSITY” of Jesus in explaining this parable. Not using the talents we are given and squandering them means a lot to the Lord. It’s a big deal. It’s more than some differences in “business skills” by different people. It’s the difference in being a “good & faithful servant and being a wicked and worthless servant”. In some ways, eternity is at stake.
While I’m sure that great theologians have distilled more from this parable; nevertheless, my final little nugget is that if Jesus is intense and excited about something, we should pay attention and ask the Holy Spirit to show us what’s going on. Lord, we want to be your faithful servant…we want to use the talents you’ve given us and earn interest for the kingdom, and hear “you have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.”(Mt. 25:24)