Reading the Word
Matthew 25:14–30 (ESV)
14 “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. 15 To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 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. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 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.’
Understanding and Applying the Word
After telling a parable to teach his disciples that he may return sooner than they expect and then a second parable to teach his disciples that they must be prepared if his return is delayed, Jesus tells a third parable. This time, he uses a story about a master, three servants, and talents. In the parable, the master entrusts each of his three servants with talents (a talent was money worth about about 20 years wages for the common laborer) to care for while he is away. When the master returned, he wanted to know what each of the servants had done with the talents he had left for them to manage. Two of the servants had invested and received a return on their investment. This pleased the master. However, the third had done nothing with his talents. He buried them and returned them to the master on his return. The master was displeased with this servant’s failure to steward his talents so he took them and gave them to one of the faithful servants.
The first two parables told us that we need to be ready for Jesus’ return whether that return is soon or in the distant future. The Parable of the Talents teaches us what we should be doing as we wait. Those who are prepared for the Lord’s return are those who have been faithful in caring for all the Lord has given us. We must realize that everything we have and everything we are is to be used for God’s glory and the building of his kingdom. Nothing we have is our own. We are servants and we have been given the responsibility to manage our Master’s things for him. When Christ returns, we will give an account of what we have done with our time, our money, and our abilities. Will we hear the words “Well done, good and faithful servant”?
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