Study Lesson 18
A Parable Of Talents And More
Scripture To Consider:
“For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey.”
“Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money.” Matthew 25.14-18
A Few Words Of Warning:
How Important Is Faithfulness To Jesus
A talent in the time in which Jesus lived was a certain weight of money in silver, gold, or copper. The proper use or misuse of money or anything of value is an excellent indicator of a person’s true spiritual maturity or lack thereof. The term talent used in our Scripture to consider is a most interesting term today. The word talent takes on a much broader meaning in today’s culture. Some might think it wrong or a stretch of the Scriptures to attempt to broaden the definition of the word talent in any biblical interpretation of God’s Word.
But today the word talent encompasses many meanings such as; physical or spiritual gifts, abilities, skills, endowments, and aptitude. Can we understand Jesus to be including these and other meanings to the word talent, or would He prohibit and exclude any idea of broadening the meaning of the word talent?
On no less than six occasions during the Sermon on the Mount Jesus broadened the meaning and understanding of previously known truth. In Matthew 5.21-22, Jesus stated a new and broader explanation of a then known but limited truth pertaining to murder, by declaring, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause [legitimate reason] shall be in danger of the judgment.”
Jesus did the same with such topics as adultery, divorce, the swearing of oaths, balanced retribution, and of man’s previous understanding of loving our neighbors and hating our enemies. In every case Jesus increased our better spiritual understanding by His broadening the base on which the then known truth was understood. And yet He never violated or contradicted the truth and accurate teaching of Scripture. Never!
Therefore, is there an increase of understanding to gain from our broadening the definition of the word talent to include physical and spiritual gifts, abilities, skills, endowments, possessions, attitudes, aptitudes, and a willingness to become and remain spiritually good and profitable servants? I believe the correct answer to be “Yes, Amen, and why not?”
Therefore, which of these servant’s actions most directly speaks to our own individual hearts? And is that not what the Word of God is best at accomplishing if we desire to be willing vessels of honor? Hebrews 4.12 reminds us of the power of the Word of God when willingly received into the fertile soil of our hearts. “For the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Therefore, let us allow the Word of God to accomplish that which it was sent into the earth to accomplish; making us more into the image of Christ Jesus.
More Scripture To Consider:
“After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them. So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’”
“His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’”
“He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’ His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’” Matthew 25.19-23
Something To Consider:
Is Account Settling Time Coming
To most people today a talent is a gift or ability. Paul wrote in Romans 12.6-8, “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality [generosity]; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.”
The remainder of Romans chapter 12 is full of spiritual ways and means of the proper and improper use of our physical and spiritual abilities as it pertains to the spiritual benefit of the true body of Jesus Christ. And as true believers in Jesus Christ, our gifts, talents, and abilities are to be used for serving God. Usually that rendered service is played out by our serving God’s people. Two thirds of those in our Scripture to consider served their lord with diligence, skill, and a willingness to please and honor their master.
In response to the faithfulness of the obedient and conscientious servants, they were rewarded with the hearing of these words, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.” Both servants heard the same rewarding message.
Therefore, it was not due to the amount of increase, or the exceeding a corporate mandated quota. Both servants were faithful to the point of their own ability or giftedness and therefore they both received the same reward.
The question to be answered is, is account settling time coming? For millions upon millions, their spiritual account settling time has indeed already come. For all those who have gone before us, their reward or judgment of their account settling is set in stone. But for those of us who are alive and remain, there is still time to better the books by our establishing a willingness to serve the Lord by serving others. And yet it must be in proportion to our faith and spiritual calling in Christ.
Therefore, we must not be fleshly motivated or manipulated by man’s agendas or personal kingdom increasing schemes. For those of us who are still alive upon planet earth, our own personal account settling time if futuristic. Will that time of reckoning be in the near or far future? One thing remains constant throughout the ages; it is more preferable to hear Jesus at account settling time, to declare, “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord.”
More Scripture To Consider:
“Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’”
“But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest.’”
“Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 25.24-30
Something More To Consider:
Does Hiding Talents Have Eternal Consequences
According to Jesus, a person who is not using their God given gifts, talents, skills, and or abilities to serve God, may have some serious spiritual consequences to consider. But that message does not fill pews or meet the financial obligations of most church leaderships. But there is a day of reckoning approaching every living human being in the not so far future just over the horizon of life and death. There is a day of settling spiritual accounts that is coming soon for us all. Therefore, let us be fully persuaded and prepared, and not like the unfaithful servant in Jesus’ parable.
Jesus’ negative estimation of this servant and others with the same unprofitable servant-like tendencies was because he was a wicked and lazy servant. This servant took the easy route which did not require work or any expenditure of energy except that which was required to bury his gift, ability, or talent. And in doing so he robbed God and others of the benefits that could have been reaped.
Just how serious do the words of Jesus reveal this lack of action to be on the part of this unfaithful servant? Jesus commanded that the talent which this servant had was taken away from him and given to another more faithful. But worse, this unfaithful servant reaped an eternal punishment instead of an eternal reward.
And for those who may still have reservations about our broadening the definition of the word talent, Jesus replied in Luke 16.11-12, by announcing, “Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon [money], who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own?”
These are both very good questions for all true believers to consider no matter what side of the spiritual fence we reside on regarding differences of biblical opinion or scriptural interpretation.
A Few Final Words:
Is Jesus’ Teaching Overkill Or Accurate
Jesus’ final analysis and biblical command may appear to be a little overkill by some and harsh by many. “And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Jesus is advocating a faith that is required to be an active faith. This understanding is in complete harmony with the teaching of Jesus in all four gospels and also in the seven letters to seven churches in the book of Revelation. As with so many other Scriptures we are considering in this in-depth study, Jesus was and is emphasizing the serious eternal consequences of a non-active unfaithful approach to Christianity.
And yet the wicked and lazy mindset of the unfaithful servant of our text is a fair example of so many men and women who have swallowed a lie due to false force-feeding of theories such as Once Saved Always Saved, Health Wealth and Prosperity At All Costs, and Name It And Claim It worldly and unbiblical philosophies.
Jesus in very graphic terms was and is describing the eternal abode of fallen angels and faithless millions upon millions who have believed Satan’s lie of false security and a greedy gaining of more earthly possessions over a present tense personal relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord and not only Savior.
If we and or others become unprofitable, unfaithful, wicked, and lazy servants because of a false sense of security blanket that has recently been spread upon the vast majority of Christendom, there will be grave and serious consequences to be paid. And that is according to Jesus and His teaching of the parable of the talents. We may not all have been given five or even two talents. Most of us may have only been given one single solitary talent or spiritual gift.
But if we are faithful with that gift, possession, platform, or ability, we will be rewarded as if we were faithful with five or ten. Let us all choose wisely to be faithful even unto the end of our lives and or the end of this age!
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, thank You for reminding us that account settling time is coming. Let us not be found guilty of hiding our talents and being forced to suffer the eternal consequences. In Him Always, Amen!