by Eric Dunbar
The parable of the talents gives us a touching illustration of how we can best serve our Lord, Jesus Christ once we commit to following Him. The parable should speak to the heart of everyone claiming to be a Christian. Whenever the Bible speaks of the kingdom of heaven, it gives reference to the way things operate under the government of God. When the kingdom of heaven comes into our hearts it makes us want to change the way we view God and His expectation of us. We suddenly begin to understand what God expects of us as it relates to the kingdom of God. Jesus explained it this way:
“For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability, and immediately he went on a journey. Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money. After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them.
“So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents saying, ‘Lord you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’ His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’ His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’
“Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’
“But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest’” (Matthew 25:14-27).
The parable of the talents contains a message for Christians living in the twenty-first century In your mind, view the talents mentioned in the parable as the “word of God” which has power to transform, heal, and deliver. The word must be accepted and understood by faith. So in essence, people receive and act upon the word according to their individual levels of faith. People are likewise blessed according to their individual levels of faith.
Each of the three servants was expected to make a profit for their master while he was away on his journey. Two of the servants earned a 100% profit the talents their master had given them. But the third servant, for fear of his master, hid the talent that his master had given him.
“…I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.”
The servant who was given the one talent said he hid it because he was afraid. Why was this servant afraid of his master? Why were the other two servants not afraid to go out and make a profit for their master? I believe the other two servants loved their master. They were grateful that their master had chosen them among many to work for him and they wanted to please him.
As Christians, we serve the risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the Son of God. What have you done with your talent? Did you invest it to make your Master a profit, or did you selfishly bury your talent because you were afraid? So many people live in fear and that fear robs them of the courage to do anything with the things that God has given them. They do all the right things on the surface to give the appearance that they are good servants. They go to church Sunday after Sunday; they hear the good news of the Gospel of Christ preached. But then they go home and never bother to share the good news of the gospel with anyone. Like the man in the parable, they dig a hole and selfishly hide the word away in their hearts, never witnessing the goodness of God to anyone.
“You wicked and lazy servant… you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest.”
Was the servant who said he was afraid really afraid? No, he was wicked and lazy. He took advantage of the privilege that had been bestowed upon him. He never had any intention of honoring his master. He was selfish and cared only about himself. He had attached himself to his master for all the wrong reasons.
The master knew his servant was not afraid of him, calling him “wicked” and “lazy”. Furthermore the master scolded him telling the servant that he would have done better to deposit his money with the bankers where it would have earned interest without the servant doing anything further.
Perhaps you might feel that you do not have what it takes to witness to others. Maybe you’re the shy type, or maybe you lack self-confidence. But that is no reason to remain silent about God’s blessings. If you only told the pastor of your church, someone in the church congregation could benefit from knowing what God has done for you.
A lot of people seek to identify with Jesus for all the wrong reasons. Some come to Jesus because they need money, others come to Him because they need healing, and others come to Jesus because they believe they will be trouble free if they follow Him. While Jesus is the solution to all of the above problems, if we only seek Him because of what He can do for us, then we are seeking Him for all the wrong reasons. Quite simply, we should want to identify with Jesus not because of what He can do for us, but because of what He has already done.