The Parable of the Talents is an interesting story found in Matthew 25:14-30 of 3 men and what they did with the “talents” given to them. The first man was given 5 talents, the second man was given 2 talents, and the third man was given 1 talent. The first two men doubled their talents, while the third buried what he was given. When their master returned and asked them to report on what they did with the talents they were given, the first two were praised and given more. The third man that hid has talent only offered excuses for why he did not grow what was given. He was chastised and his 1 talent was taken and given to the man who had 10.
There are several lessons we can learn from this parable:
1.We are managers (or stewards)
The parable starts with the words “The kingdom of Heaven is like”, thus drawing a comparison between the Lord (our master) and that which He places in our hands. We are expected to not only be able to account for what He places in our hands, but He expects us to grow it. There is a difference between planting something and burying it. When you plant, you place a seed in fertile ground and you work and till the ground expecting growth. When something is buried, it is placed in the ground with no expectation of springing forth.
2.What we are given varies according to our measure
It may be easy to think that the man with 1 talent was given the “raw deal” or the proverbial short end of the stick. But it is important to note that He is not judged against the man with 5 or 2 talents, he is only expected to grow that which was given to him. Galatians 6:4 says Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else. Ephesians 4:7 also supports the fact that distribution is not equal when it says “But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.” We are not to get caught up with what others have. What can you do with what you do have? In this parable we see that those that are faithful over a few things are made ruler over much.
3.No one was left empty-handed
It is important to note that the Master left every servant something. According to bible.org, a talent was the largest measurement of money in those days. Since it was based on weight, it’s value varied. Scholars disagree on the approximate value of the talent today, but all would agree it was a large amount of money with 1 talent being the equivalent of 20 years wages for a common laborer.
The word talent has transformed over time and is now defined as natural abilities or gifts. We are each composed with a unique set of gifts, talent, skills and ability. These are provided by God so we can make a living on this earth but also so we can be a blessing to the Kingdom. In the Old Testament we read a story of how a skilled musician gained access to the kingdom:
Provide me now a man who can play well, and bring him to me… – 1 Samuel 16:17
They brought who would be known as King David! His talent as a musician gave him access to the kingdom.
Are you investing your talents (money & ability) today?
Survey your talents (singer, painter, writer, etc) and ask the Lord to show you how to use your talents for His glory! Keep your eyes open for opportunities to invest your talents.