The Parable of the Talents

Hello! I haven’t written anything in a while, and I apologize. Partially because it has been summer and I have been enjoying my children. Partially because I have been in a learning and growth phase, and everything God has been teaching me has been very personally directed toward myself. I promise you this: I will never write just to write something. If God does not give me something specifically to share with you, I am not going to waste your time with my words. My words are nothing but empty vanity, and no one needs that. However, if the Spirit moves me to write to you, I pray that I will always honor that direction and share God’s message as He gives to me.

Today, my Bible reading has taken me to Matthew 25 and the parable of the talents. This parable is mixed in with many teachings regarding the kingdom of God and the coming judgment. It is about stewardship. How well do we use the gifts God gives us?

In this parable, there are three stewards. The first is given the equivalent of a HUNDRED YEARS’ wages! Clearly, this master is exceedingly wealthy. He gives this first steward an outrageous amount, and entrusts it to him to tend it while he is gone. The master then gives the second steward not quite half of what he gave the first (2 talents/ 40 years’ wages), and entrusts this incredible amount to him during the master’s absence. Lastly, the master gives the third steward a single talent (20 years wages), and asks this man to tend it.

The first and second stewards invest and double their money. The third steward buries his so as not to lose it.

As I read this parable, it is very clear that the money given to the stewards symbolizes the gifts God has given to us: both the gift of salvation, and the spiritual gifts individually tailored to each of our exact specifications. Thus, the first two stewards used their salvation and spiritual gifts to add to the kingdom of God. The last steward buried his and added nothing to the kingdom, not even growing in himself.

The first and second stewards received these coveted words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master” (Matthew 25:21, 23).

The third steward received these words, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest.  So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents.  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. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 25:26-30).

According to this teaching of Jesus, the gifts we have been given by God are each of outrageous price. Just like the stewards of this parable, we are not meant to bury them in the dirt, hiding them until death like tickets into heaven. Jesus told us exactly what he wants us to do in Matthew 28:18-20, the Great Commission:

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

We Christians have too long believed that saying the “magic formula” for salvation (Forgive me, Be my Lord), taking the sacraments, going to church, and praying once in a while is enough. It’s not. Jesus demanded everything. To be a disciple meant that everything we are longs to be exactly like Jesus; our every choice seeks to choose like Jesus would; our every action seeks to act like Jesus did; our desires reflect those of Jesus; we want to know what Jesus knows; we want to love like Jesus loved. And like Jesus, it’s not enough to know the love of the Father, but to show others who He is and what it means to be loved by Him through our own actions and words. We must be the living embodiment of Jesus’ message.

To do that, first we have to know Jesus’ message: the Word of God. The, we chase after Jesus with all that we are. When we want more than anything else in this world to be exactly like him, we have the ability to change the world. That is what gave the disciples the strength and courage to face every persecution and literally change the course of history.

That is what we are charged with: Add to the kingdom. Bring glory to the Father through the gifts which He has given to us. What steward will you choose to be like? The two who added to the kingdom, and received the words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant”? Or the one who buried their gift in the dirt, hoping it would be enough to curry the Lord’s favor?

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