The Parable of the Talents, as it is often called, is a story Jesus told of a master who entrusted each of his servants with a weight of currency, measured in talents. The one given five, used the currency to make five more. The servant given two made two more. And the servant given one, buried it (to keep it safe) and gave it back just as it was received. The first two servants were rewarded for their work. The last was stripped of the property and thrown into darkness where there’d be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Ouch! To think, he was the scaredy-cat, too!
And yet, who do I relate to the most. Ugh! Dare I say it? The one behind door number three. The guy who buried the talent so he wouldn’t lose it, not realizing that by using it, he could acquire more. He just wanted to keep it for himself and was not concerned with advancing the earnings of the master who’d given it to him.
Let’s look at the word talent for a sec. What does it mean in this passage, and what should it mean to us. The word in the Bible means a particular measurement used for metals of currency like silver and gold. The amount would change based on the current law, but one source suggested it was approximately what a man could carry. The word ‘talent’ as we use to describe our special gifts or abilities today, seems to come from the same root.
So what does this passage say to us? Is it telling us to go dump all our savings into the stock market expecting to double it? I somehow doubt that. It’s just too coincidental that the word talent is used here at all. Yes, it is used elsewhere, clearly indicating a measurement of currency, but just like when other verses talk about bearing fruit we know it’s not about gardening, there is a bigger meaning here, too. God wants us to use our talents!
It’s also important to note that these talents are first given by God, then used for God and lastly are added to from God’s Abundant Bounty. These are His property and you have been entrusted with it. This is not meant to burden you with a commission, because although it may be a commission to use the talent you’ve been given, it will not, in the end, be a burden … especially when you see how He will reward you with more talent. That’s what the passage says: use the talent for Him and He will give you more. It is also important to note that He wants us to step out of our comfort zone and take some risks to do so. That is where servant number three went wrong. He was afraid. We need to not be afraid and to know that God gave these to us so we would use them for Him. Then we will understand what it means to “come and share your Master’s happiness" (Matt 25:23b)