Matthew 25:14-30For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them. “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. “Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents. “In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more. “But he who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. “Now after a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. “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.’ “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.’ “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.’ “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.’ “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. ‘And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’ “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. ‘Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest. ‘Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’ “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. “Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Stewards are required to take risksIt is interesting to me how upset the master got with the steward who took no risks. The other two stewards did take risks and reaped the rewards. I often wonder why the parable didn’t contain a steward who lost some of the investment. But either way, I think we are led to believe that the primary frustration of the master was that the steward was lazy and didn’t even try. He was called a “wicked and lazy slave.” My take on this is that he was more frustrated with his laziness than his lack of production. The steward didn’t even put the talents in the bank to gain interest. The passage states that the master gave to each of them according to their ability. So, I think we can assume that the steward with one talent did have some ability, or else he wouldn’t have given him any. If he did indeed have some ability to manage money, even with the smallest amount of ability, he would have known that earning small interest at the bank is better than burying it! I liken this to having a Vet watch your dog for the weekend and not feed it. Most everyone knows that you should feed a dog at least daily, but especially a vet. It is their profession – the thing they are skilled at doing and are entrusted to do. So, the extreme amount of laziness this steward had to not at least put the talent in the bank, coupled with the fact that he let fear paralyze him from doing what he was expected to do infuriated the master. The parable is speaking of money, but this can also be applied to the gifts and skills that God has entrusted us with. If I refuse to step out in a gift or skill that God has given me because I am afraid or lazy, I may be behaving the same way as the steward with one talent.
Luke 12:48“…From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.”
I’m glad you explained that passage the way you did. I always had a hard time with being mad at the man who was safe with the money. The other two could have invested it and lost it. I thought the one who buried it was being smart by not risking losing what was given to him. But when you focus on the point being he was lazy and unmotivated, not that he didn’t try to invest, it makes more sense to me. Thank you!
you know, I have never really (and still don’t) fully understand the passage. As I grow in my knowledge of the Bible, I get new revelation from passages like these each time I go back to them – I guess that is why it is called the “living word”
Pete @ biblemoneymatters.com says
Great look at this passage, a good reminder that we’re called to be good stewards!
I’ve always considered this parable to be about money and really dislike when people always compare it with talents like gifts and abilities. Everyone makes some money in their lifetime and we’re all accountable to God for how we use it. The point is you should not neglect your stewardship responsibility just because you don’t think you have very much.
you really don’t think our stewardship responsibilities go beyond cash? It seems to me that would be a little short-sighted – there are so many other things in life that we are responsible for…
I love this passage. It seems to be the one God has wanted me to understand better, it keeps coming up. Here are a few ideas. 1. God owns everything, therefore we need to ask for wisdom to spend His money. 2. The passage mentions about making “trading” decisions based on our understanding, to double the amount of what the Lord has entrusted us with. So we need to educate ourselves. 3. It also says “immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them,and gained five more. It suggests a priority, he didn’t pay off debt. He didn’t donate it to the poor. He didn’t spend it, he traded it for a long time to double it. So the question is when should I start saving? Answer: today don’t wait to pay off debt. 4. Here’s a suggestion Wrap up your debt into your house at the lowest rate. (Mortgages are the cheapest way to borrow money)and for the longest time frame possible Then save the difference in payment each month in something that will grow at a higher rate than your new mortgage. WARNING!!!! If you don’t save the money each month, and you spend it you will financially bankrupt your family!!! I look at today financial markets and ask how do I trade God’s money wisely. It says the bank is not the ideal option we should choose. I looked at one option mutual funds, good ones. Invest for the long term, it’s funny that in the Bible the number 7 seems to be an important number. And if an investment averages 10% per year your money should double in about 7 years (rule of 72). 5. What about the concept of “Leveraging” this is borrowing money to invest. There are many types of leveraging the ones I’m referring to are loans or equity out of your home. This is a very controversial topic in christian circles and in the traditional financial industry. If you take out a loan, you have to pay it back. No matter what happens to your investment. Just like if you sell your car with a loan against you must come up with the money even if you sold it for less than the money owed. So maybe look at pulling out the equity of your house and investing it wisely for the long term. WARNING!!! do not use emotion or your gut feeling. Pray, and educate yourself this concept is for the long term 15 to 20 years at least, and make a sound decision for your family this is not for everyone. Remember each servant was given a different amount according to their talents. The question I have is it is acceptable to borrow money for a home (mortgage) where as the U.S. has shown us homes can go down in value over a short period of time, why isn’t it acceptable to borrow money to invest in strong time tested companies that may in the short term be down? As a home is for the long term, God has said so is saving. To double your money you must hold onto it for a long time. Again these are some thoughts, all I know is that 95% of people in Canada and the U.S. are broke, living paycheck to paycheck. We work at jobs, where the more we earn the more tax they take. Everything continues to go up in cost, homes, gas, food, education, bills. We are not saving any money for an emergency or for our retirement. We borrow money for things that breakdown or cost more money in the end than their worth. There has got to be a better way. God, I’m sure doesn’t want to see us like this, how can we reach out to others when we can’t even take care of ourselves. Yes, God will provide! But if we don’t educate ourselves and gain wisdom in this area. He is doing it all for us and we will survive, but I know he wants us to thrive and share with others. If you have read this Congratulations! I didn’t think it would be this long. Hope it helps. Please respond if you like. MB
thank you ! Also for this website which I am so glad I found tonight. I was a business economics graduate yet could never balance my own books or reconcile finance and my faith. 2013 is a new year and I am certain God is leading me in a fresh direction with regards to this. “Transformation through renewal of the mind”…..
thanks for sharing your book with us 😉 I think you mentioned some good things in what you wrote…
Edward H. Mesina, Jr. says
Thank God i found this site. God bless our ministry. to God be the glory and honor!
I think the biggest eye-opener for me in what you have said is the value of being a risk-taker. I am encouraged. Thanks.
What i got from the parable of the talents is money and gift. I have lost both. I was an RN for 20+ yrs and due to my own evil desires (drug addiction) despite many opps to recover and keep all, I kept on and lost all. Wife/children/career/ everything. Talk about feeling like there is no forgiveness for me, or this parable–gnashing of teeth, and wailing. Is this what I have to look fwd to?? And do u think I have severed my relationship with the lord??
there is always a chance to regain your relation with GOD so long you are still on that earth .COURAGE
Don’t be in despair. God still loves you and always will. He loved you even when you strayed away. I know in life we all made mistakes, but God is faithful. You’re not the only one who went through this ordeal. But my suggestion would be to study something or find someone who has gone through what you did and ask them how they made it. The word of God says that “we overcome by the word of our testimonies.” Hear their story and let it make you see that God can take a nobody and turn him into a somebody. My life isn’t perfect either, but I can trust God faithfulness even in the smallest things.
Just ask God to help you where you are and he will guide you. He has NOT given up on you. Acknowledging that you need Him is enough.
You be blesssd brother and encouraged because God has a plan for your life.
If the servents represent Christians, does this imply that salvation can be lost? Or does being wicked and lazy preclude the lazy servent form ever really being saved to begin with?
Norris Hall says
I think Jesus was talking about how cruel capitalists can be
‘You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed. ‘Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest.”
Clearly the master was someone who made his living…not by the sweat of his own brow….but by profiting unfairly off the work of others. He describes himself as a person who reaps where he does not sow.
The third servant failed to increase his wealth because he disliked the masters way of making money….off the backs of others , no doubt. And so he refused to participate in the farce and just gave the rendered unto Ceasar what was Ceasars to begin with .
The evil master punished the servant but we are left feeling that the servant did the right thing..
Um yeah no..norris hall what are you doing on this website
Robert K Moi says
Quite a good touch on life, one needs to be more smart to be recognised. You need to pull out more for rewards and if you remain in one place you may not know what at the other end.It means you need to sacrifise and take risks before enjoying. If you relay on what you have been given, once it gets finished, you get finished too.
I was looking up this parable to read again and found this thread. It is an old thread but great.
First, I hope Kevin reads this again sometime. I don’t believe you lost your salvation because you made your mistakes. You sinned and Jesus paid the price for all sins past, present and future. You also are repentant, realizing that isn’t the way to live. Don’t be afraid. Jesus loves you so much. He overcame the world. Now, just focus on Him.
I think the parable is more about the Kingdom than about money or talents and personal giftedness. If you read the whole chapter, it is about the Kingdom. The chapter first describes the bridesmaids, both foolish and wise. Then it goes on to talk about the talents.
If the talents are the Kingdom, and some go out in faith and sew it. Some have listened to the Word by hiding it away and not doing anything with it, Maybe they are not saved. They could never get beyond thinking that God is a harsh and punishing God.
There is always wisdom in managing money well, and yes, have some faith and take some chances as opposed to burying the talents! Without faith it is impossible to please God.
And Norris Hall, I hope you find Jesus’ wisdom someday. I have never considered that this was meant for us to consider that the servant is the righteous one!
Jeepers, Sander, y’all are makin’ my head spin. Rather than paralysis by analysis, I would suggest that this parable is about way more than money and is indeed also about using your gifts, talents and abilities as well.
Rather than seeing the master as a usurer (LOL!) see him as God (as intended by Jesus.)
God is reliant on us to each make our own selves available to sow on His behalf and to scatter seed on His behalf. The wicked servant doesn’t do anything because he is afraid. Fear is the enemy of faith. He does nothing. He doesn’t even do as little as put the talent in the bank to earn interest. He buries it. (see “this little light of mine” reference above)
The bottom line that the Word is always ultimately hinging on is our willingness to take action, be in action, moving in faith, seeking, asking, knocking, doing God’s Will and doing His Word. Jesus said “Follow Me!” He was always moving, going, doing, risking, believing.
Just my 2 cents. 🙂
What this means to me…… the man with 2 gifts and 4 ..where being guided by the holy spirit in order to gain more….the one with 1 talent did not try or was not open to gaining more….ie by trying to gain knowlege or wisdom….. he knew the first part to finding god and was a god fearing man….he did not push to or look to move forward…he was stuck. In walking with him life is a journey…so keep pushing forward, asking,seeking,praying,giving, and find god friends, men and women with same faith,,,,sharpen the sword of faith
thanks for that Scott – I found this helpful as I have felt “stuck” for the past year since emigrating to Canada. I have never been one to sit still in life and have had a very blessed and interesting story so far. Even the move to Canada was an absolute partnership between God and I. Yet I feel I am now between 2 lives. Finding this website tonight has been a Godsend and your input has given me the impetus to get going again. God Bless.
It is very odd, indeed, that people tend to relate important teachings in the bible to real people or actual events. I believe in this case, he obviously is using the slaves as a metaphor for his God given abilities. I don’t really believe God is a thing or person, it’s more of something (a force if you will) that is accessible and given to each one of us. It is up to us how we will use ‘God’ or be a fool and cast away ‘God’, which always ends up placing a person in ‘Hell’. I’m not a Christian, or anything for that matter, but neither am I an Atheist, so I’m not sure where this leaves me, but something I will never understand is how people wage religious warfare. If I’m not mistaken, the religions of the world pretty much all preach the same message, I don’t see why one would be concerned with whether it was Jesus or an owl who was the son of God and made an example of what humans were ultimately capable of. If the entire point of religion is to search in order to become the people that God intended, I don’t see much why someone would commit themselves to Christianity, Mormon, Judaism, Buddhism, etc.. Why not practice the important parts of all of these religions, as they all contain unique approaches? I’ve seen preachers give sermons about scripture and they completely miss the teachings that were meant to be understood because they study the same damn thing so much that they end up just making a disillusioned interpretation. Anyone who is devout “insert religion here” please attest so that I can begin to understand this odd behavior. It seems to add no value to human life in my opinion.
Three thing Trust. aithfullness. risk
In stewardship. A man is required to be found faithful
There can be no trust without faithfullness
Risk is another defination of faith
Thank you for this article! God has given us all abilities as we enter this world and it us up to us to put them to good use for his word. Whether it be helping the poor or standing up for your brothers in the name of Christ to prevent war and bloodshed. Only with the power of Christ can we truly forgive & bless our enemies. Only together as a world of brothers ( and sisters!) can we overcome the shackles of money, greed and envy to return ourselves to paradise.
God has given us such a beautiful paradise. In many ways the gifts he has truly given us as our master is the fruits of the world. We are born into this world to make it better and to toil the land to make it more lovely in his image. To increase it’s bounty for all the children of God.
So many people today seem to abandon Christ 9-5 M-F and sadly that has led in many cases to the destruction of our garden for the sake of money. This world isn’t ours. We are merely it’s gardeners and when He returns he will want to see what we have done with it’s gifts.
Natasha Richardson says
Great article on this, it helped me out a lot!! God Bless!
We miss out if we think this passage is merely about how to invest more wisely. Forget Ramsey and the others. Whether you have money or not, God holds you responsible with what ou do with your talents and minas…
1 Peter 4:10 really helped me understand this parable in a new and much deeper way
If I were to think of modern day men to fit into the 3 talents:
#1 Would be Donald Trump. The Donald learned much from his dad, Fred Trump and went onward from there to be a great man.
#2 Would be Mitt Romney. Mitt gave away his inheritance from his own father and used his own talents to make his own fortune (and continue to help those less fortunate). Mitt isn’t as rich as The Donald.
#3 Is Barack Obama. Everything has been given to him yet he has done nothing with his talents except take money away from those who have earned it and given it to those who have not. All in the guise of appearing high and rightious. God will be the best judge of Barack Obama, the leader of the Democratic party who denied God three times (at the convention) and have killed over 5 million unborn children through abortions.
Amen. I am blessed to have received this word. I recently came across a website to a cosmetolgy school I’ve been wanting to attend over the last few years….but i must admit, ive been draggin my feet about enrolling. Now that i have my financial aid award amount, its about time i stop wasting my talent. Be blessed.
Nchise Delphine Nchang says
Tanks for explaining the passage. It is a good reminder that we’re called to be good stewards!
ecinaj eiram says
Thanks for pointing out that we each have abilities and God gives to us according to those abilities. He’s not a God who would over burden us just to watch us fail. He wants us to prosper.
This story is interesting to me because doesn’t it say somewhere in the bible that we should not charge interest when we give a loan? In which case, is it biblical to accept interest in an investment?
I also feel it’s weird that they didn’t touch on the fact that someone could also lose their investment and end up with nothing as well, but I suppose that’s where faith steps in. But I have a hard time discerning when I should be wise and when I should be faithful… And you just don’t always know how an investment will turn out. I suppose that’s why it’s considered a risk. If you knew how it would turn out, it wouldn’t be a risk would it?
Something was revealed to me that I never understood before. In the parable of the talents “To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability…” It struck me that “to each according to his own ability” is about what each did to prepare themselves long before the master tested and entrusted them. Clearly the one that buried his treasure did little to no preparation, study or training in his life. He went along day by day taking the path of least resistance. But the one that received two talents received them because he prepared more than the one-talent recipient. He did something to make himself smarter, better. And the five-talent recipient worked diligently, probably every day on his mind, on his health, on every part of himself. He knew what to do with the five talents and grow wealth exponentially because he was trained, learned and ready. Back to the one-talent recipient, “And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground.” He let fear stop him from preparing for the inevitable test. He had lots of excuses for his lack of performance – “Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed. ‘And I was afraid…” So many people have excuses why they don’t deliver. But this revelation has helped me to see that preparation – what I do each day to become a better person in preparation for both the test “…entrusted his possessions to them…” and the reward “…I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.” But if we didn’t prepare, failing the test results in punishment “…Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.” and a life of shame – “…You wicked, lazy slave…” for not stepping out and for having no faith by preparing although afraid. What we do today is laying the groundwork for who we become and what we receive tomorrow. Those few lines “…each according to his own ability…” show the difference preparation makes. It may seem that it takes a long time to get where we are receiving all God has laid up for us. But I think about how long the slaves must have worked for their master for him to get to know them and their personal abilities. How long before he decided to go away on a journey and have built up enough trust to entrust them with his treasure. I wonder how long they were on their own with the little treasure test – the master went on a journey, not a short trip. It takes time to get where we can be “put in charge of many things and enter into the joy of the master”. All of them had the same opportunity to learn and get prepared. All had the time pass by. All were tested and entrusted according to what they did during their preparation time. And all received according to what skills and mindset they developed in order to handle the treasures the master entrusted to them. God is my Father, so much more loving than a master and slave relationship. He wants to give us so much more. But He is a loving, wise father and so will only give to us “according to our own ability”. Just like we wouldn’t give a 3 year old car keys and let them drive, until we are prepared, mature and smart enough, we will get drippings. To get the full flood of God’s joy, we must prepare ourselves and our mind every day, have faith that our time is coming to receive and make Him proud of us with what He entrusts to us. Just keep preparing and trust that God will put us in charge of many things and we will enter into the joy only He can provide. Keep going. Keep believing. Even when days are hard, nights are frustrating and the journey is painful, keep preparing, keep going. We all will be entrusted with something if we have prepared. If we have studied and prepared, we will know what to do, then also be put in charge of many things and enter into the joy of the master.
R. Emoot says
Thank you for these explicit teachings especially about the parable of the talents.
This goes to prove that God knows our abilities and thoughts and gifts us according to them(thoughts and abilities).
He gives less to wasters and non-progressives. I believe that is why the bible demands that we be contented with what we have because The Giver(God) knows our “deservings “, if I may.