The Talents

The TalentsText: Matthew 25:14-30

Jesus often used parables in His teaching – using an everyday illustration to describe a spiritual truth. In this parable, Jesus described a man going on a journey and entrusting his slaves with his possessions. We will see there were three slaves and each received different amounts of money (talents) to manage. As we study this, we are going to attempt to identify the MAIN point. Once we do that, we will see how we can apply this in our lives.

Context

  • This parable was given shortly before Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion – He was discussing the final judgment (Matthew 24:36-25:46)
  • Unlike some of the other parables, this parable was not given while speaking to a large crowd – He was with His disciples (Matthew 24:3; 26:1); it was directed to those who were already following Him

Basic Point

  • Before the master went out on a journey, he called his slaves together to give them assignments – since he was going to be gone, they were to manage his possessions in his absence
  • A few points about this arrangement – (1) the money/talents given still belonged to the master, they were simply managing it; (2) each slave received a different amount, suggesting different abilities of what they could handle; (3) they had complete control over how they did this, the master trusted them; (4) each one was going to be judged for their stewardship individually, not in comparison
  • The main point of the parable is that each one of us has a responsibility to work in the Lord’s kingdom

Examination

  • First we need to understand “talents” – we think of skills/abilities; in the parable, this was money; but this can apply to money, possessions, abilities, resources, time, or opportunities we have
  • Three slaves were given different amounts to manage, “each according to his own ability” (Matthew 25:15) – the five-talent and two-talent slaves doubled their master’s money (Matthew 25:16-17); the one-talent slave did nothing with his talent and buried it in the ground (Matthew 25:18)
  • When the master returned, he called the slaves together to settle accounts with them – the five-talent and two-talent slaves were praised for their work (Matthew 25:19-23), there was no difference between them; the one-talent slave returned the talent with an explanation (Matthew 25:24-30) and he was condemned
  • The talent from the one-talent slave was given to the five-talent slave – the five-talent slave was not being enriched, he was being given more work/responsibility

Application

  • We all have different abilities, resources, time, and opportunities (1 Corinthians 12:27-30, 17-20) – all are necessary
  • We also need to recognize that we are stewards of these things (1 Peter 4:10-11) – all of it is the Lord’s; we will be judged for how we have used them (Matthew 25:21, 23, 26, 30; cf. 2 Corinthians 5:10)
  • We must make our work for the Lord a priority – “Immediately…” (Matthew 25:16; cf. Luke 9:57-62)
  • We are not to judge our work/worth by what others are doing (1 Corinthians 12:15-16, 21-22) – most of us are probably like the tw0-talent slave; whether others do more or less than us, we just need to be faithful
  • If we fail to do what we can do, we make more work for those who are already working hard (Matthew 25:29) – while they may be diligent, it will make them less effective in their work (Acts 6:1-4)

Conclusion

  • We all have different abilities, resources, time, and opportunities at our disposal
  • We need to recognize our unique position and be actively working for the Lord until He returns

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