Author: Ethan C.
Editors: Lisa H. and Sara T.
This is an adaptation of the devotional given at the RAYO #3: RGC’s Got Talent fellowship event on 4/4/20. Check out our calendar for more upcoming events!
14 “For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them. 15 To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey. 16 Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents. 17 In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more. 18 But he who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.Matthew 25:14-30
19 “Now after a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. 20 The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you entrusted five talents to me. See, I have gained five more talents.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’
22 “Also the one who had received the two talents came up and said, ‘Master, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more talents.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’
24 “And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed. 25 And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’
26 “But his master answered and said to him, ‘You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed. 27 Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest. 28 Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’
29 “For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. 30 Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
While the passage above and this blog post are focused on the Parable of the Talents, I want to start you out with the context. Context is key to fully understanding the passage that is given to us!
We start Matthew 25 with Christ giving us the “Parable of 10 Virgins”. This parable and the one after it serve to highlight how we ought to live in light of Christ’s return. Essentially, the parable of the 10 virgins emphasizes waiting expectantly for the Lord, to be ready for Christ’s second coming. These virgins were all bridesmaids. Five had oil for their lamps and were ready to enter the wedding feast when the bridegroom came and five did not have oil for the lamps. As a result of the latter group’s irresponsibility, they were preoccupied buying oil when the bridegroom came and thus, could not enter the wedding feast.
After that fantastic picture of how we should be ready for Christ’s second coming, we see another parable stating a very similar truth with its own twists and turns. This parable is commonly known as the “Parable of the Talents”. This parable focuses on the importance of working faithfully during the waiting period before the appointed time arrives. In this parable, we see two types of slaves: (1) those who are faithful with stewarding opportunities and (2) also those who squander it. Both identify as slaves of the master, but there is a clear distinction for the true type of slave – those whose hearts genuinely love their master and go out to work for Him.
In this biblical context, a talent is a weight. For example, you can have a talent of gold or a talent of silver. In this case, it is silver – The word “money” in verse 18 is translated as “silver”. This is not exactly related to what we understand talents to be today: the natural abilities that each person may have. While we can certainly use our talents and abilities to the glory of God – and we should – we should more so be using the talents (spiritual opportunities and responsibilities) that the Lord has given and placed us over.
The first two slaves understand the importance of serving the master and understand the weight of stewarding what they had been given. The word “entrusted” in verses 20 and 22 connotes the idea of giving something directly into the hands of another. It is extremely valuable and important that they have a high view of what they have been given because of who it’s been given by. It is not so much what quantity or quality of talent they have been given, but having a heart of thankfulness and service to the master who is the giver.
Notice that the third slave does not mention this. In fact, he begins by wrongly characterizing God as a hard man, a harsh man that seems to reap and gather where he did not sow or scatter seed. He had a wrong view of the talents that he had been given, leading to a wrong type of fear leading to a wrong action. Think about it, like if you were to just die and then get buried and come before God, you point to the ground and say to Him, “yup there I am. You created me and so there I am. Right there, see you have what is yours.” Rather than living a wasted life, you would make the most of your life with the family, friends, job, etc. that God has given you.
What is the point of the master giving the talent to that useless slave then? It was futile. The slave did nothing with it. And that is why he says in verse 28 “take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.” May we highly esteem the Lord and what He’s entrusted to us, so that we may be faithful to work with what we have been given.
And a key phrase is essential to complete understanding of this parable: “Each according to his own ability.” We cannot go up to God after we die and say that He gave us too much to do or that we were not capable. This may be the excuse for those who are chilling, taking life easy, just going to church on Sundays, maybe attending a Bible study here and there… just kind of doing the minimum work without any ambition.
Notice that the reward for the first two slaves is the same. It is not based on how much you produce in terms of doing more than the other; but rather, it is based on how faithful you were with the things given to you. So rather than comparing the quantity or quality of the talents we have, we ought to seek to give our most excellent and faithful work for our Master. May we constantly and consistently WORK TO THE MAX!
Do you really understand who God is and what He has entrusted to you? This should result in a passionate desire to do the most that you can for God, throwing off sin and entanglements. This should result in a passionate desire to hear the following praise at the end of our days: “Well done, good and faithful slave”. Do you have a desire to receive this commendation when you face God at His throne, confidently and humbly presenting your life to Him? It is not only a responsibility, but also understanding the reward. He has put you in charge of many things, may you also hear, “enter into the joy of your master.”
See Him as your King, deeply understand your Master, and let that be the drive for faithful, fruitful work in the short life that we have.
- What do you want to better understand about the Lord and meditate on so that you can be more faithful and work excellently for Him?
- What is one thing that has been causing you to be unfaithful with your stewardship?