The Parable of the Talents

Text: Matthew 25:14-30

When Jesus taught, He often spoke in parables. These were illustrations using things with which the people would be familiar that were used to describe a spiritual truth. This lesson will look at the parable of the talents to see some lessons we can learn from it.

Summary of the Parable

  • Man leaves on a journey and entrusts three slaves with his possessions – gives them five talents, two talents, and one talent (Matthew 25:14-15)
  • First two men (with five and two talents) double their master’s money (Matthew 25:16-17)
  • Third man (with one talent) hides his master’s money and returns it to him (Matthew 25:18, 24-25)
  • First two men are rewarded (Matthew 25:19-23), third man is punished (Matthew 25:25-30)
  • Jesus’ parable related to the kingdom (Matthew 25:1, 14) – following these principles might be good in everyday life, but our spiritual lives are of primary concern

What the Talents Represent

  • In the parable, talents are sums of money – money itself is not evil (1 Timothy 6:10); it is a gift from God (1 Timothy 6:17) and we must use it for good (1 Timothy 6:18; 5:8; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2)
  • In English, talents refer to abilities – this fits as well; we should use our unique abilities to the glory of God (1 Peter 4:10-11)
  • Talents can include other things as well – resources (Philemon 2, 22), relationships (2 Timothy 1:5; 1 Peter 3:1-2), time (Ephesians 5:15-16)

What the Lord Expects of Us

  • Use our talents – we are to be active in the Lord’s service (1 Corinthians 15:58; Ephesians 4:16)
  • Develop more talents – we are to grow and mature (Ephesians 4:14-15; Hebrews 5:12)
  • Remember, these talents have been entrusted to us – glory to God, not to ourselves (1 Peter 4:11)

What Happens When We Fail to Use Our Talents

  • We will be punished – in the end, the Lord will judge us based upon what we have done (2 Corinthians 5:10); doing nothing is classified as wickedness (Matthew 25:26)
  • Makes more work for those who are working – when the servant with ten talents was given the one talent from the wicked slave, he was being given more work/responsibility; when Christians fail to do what they can, it leaves more work for others (1 Corinthians 12:26)

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