A short meditation and discussion at lunch one day with my family uncovered some new ideas about the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25.
For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money. After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Now the “talents” in this parable refer to a unit of measurement and not to the modern usage of the word, which is “a special ability that allows someone to do something well”. The talents in this parable are something the King gives to His servants before He goes away, in varying amounts. That’s very interesting.
Jesus never told us, unlike, for instance, the parable of the sower, what the talents exactly are. It really is for us to seek and search out by the Holy Spirit and meditation upon the Scriptures, the passage and its context.
So I don’t want to focus on what the talents are but the attitude which we’re supposed to have towards this gift from Jesus, our King, given to us in varying amounts.
The question, what are we supposed to do with what we’re given? The answer of course is obvious.
Firstly, make it multiply. Secondly, don’t keep it. It isn’t yours to keep, but truly belongs to the Master. The day of reckoning will come when He will demand an account. Thirdly, it is better to multiply it even by a little, rather than not at all. Fourthly, the consequence of not multiplying it is very serious.
We can apply this parable quite simply without too much deliberation by simply determining that whatever our Father has given us, we will share and give freely. We have so much for which to thank Him, which we cannot repay, including:
- Forgiveness (Remember how Jesus said that “whoever is forgiven much loves much”?)
- The Word of God
- The Holy Spirit, including the fruits and gifts of the Holy Spirit
- Unmerited Favour/Grace
- Sacrificial Love
So we can quite simply determine that we want to multiply souls for the Kingdom of God by demonstrating forgiveness and sacrificial love and preaching the gospel of salvation. What a joy!
I would like to conclude by quoting Paul who quoted Jesus, “It is better to give than to receive.” That’s a quality of our life of discipleship – not keeping Jesus to ourselves, not hiding our witness (Matthew 5:15), not being ashamed of it, but to multiply it for God’s Kingdom.