Parables Today: The Talents

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What do you do when no one’s watching? 

How do you handle responsibilities when no one’s looking over your shoulder? Are you faithful and proactive enough to do what’s needed? Do you overachieve, doing more than expected? Or do you stagnate in your comfort zone, afraid of taking calculated risks? 

The Three Servants

In the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14–30), Jesus talks about a rich ruler preparing to travel. He gives each of his servants talents (money) to invest while he is away. Each servant gets a different measure according to his abilities – the first receives five talents, the second, two, and the last, one.

Upon returning, the ruler finds that the first servant has invested his talents wisely and doubled them, increasing five talents to ten. The second servant has likewise doubled his. The last servant, though, is a little afraid of his master. Rather than risk failure, he has decided to hide his talent in the ground. He hasn’t lost it, but it hasn’t produced anything, either. 

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The ruler is delighted with the first two servants and rewards them for their efforts. He is so frustrated with the third one, however, that he calls him lazy and scolds him. He takes that single talent and gives it to the first servant, who has produced much, leaving the third servant with nothing.

It seems a little harsh, right? What is God trying to tell us? 

Use Your Gifts

God invests in us. He gives us all different gifts so that we can work for Him (1 Corinthians 12:4–7, Romans 12:6, Ephesians 4:11). Are you using those gifts to win souls for the kingdom? 

The servants in the parable are stewards of their master’s riches. The master judges them by the commitment of their stewardship. We should honor God with our talents. Even (or especially) in these uncertain times, we can find meaning in giving our best, using what God has given us for His glory. 

Are you good at organizing things? Maybe you can volunteer at a church fundraiser or organize a peaceful protest for a holy cause. If you like to cook, bring a meal to a sick friend. Better yet, contribute to a homeless shelter. God gave you gifts to bring light to the world. Don’t hide them. 

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Each servant was given talents according to his abilities. Some people may seem to have more money, more natural talent, or more desirable circumstances. Don’t look at what others have. It doesn’t matter. God supplies us according to our needs. We only need to work for Him and follow where He leads. Unlike the master in the parable, in our lives, God multiplies the investment. 

At the very end, you will be judged by what you did with what you had.

God Expects You to Work Hard

True, the third servant hasn’t lost any money. But the master feels his investment is wasted because the servant hasn’t made any effort to earn a profit.

Have you tried making improvements in your life? If you’re getting stagnant, you may need to re-evaluate your life and prioritize what you need to do to grow. 

Make a plan. What do you want to accomplish? Are you trying to pay off a debt or save for retirement? Whatever it is, follow your road map and work hard toward achieving your goal.

God Holds Us Accountable

The third servant might not have wasted his master’s money, but he blew a great opportunity to move to the next level. We have a responsibility to do something with what we’ve been given. One day we will be held accountable for what we did or didn’t do. How are we using our work to fulfill our God-given calling?

 Don’t Let Fear Hold You Back

The third servant hid his master’s money. He feared that if he took a risk, he would lose everything. However, the master saw this as laziness and punished the servant.

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What’s holding you back from pursuing your dreams? Life is about taking a bold step forward, so start your journey with God. If He wants you to do it, He’ll see you through. Don’t allow fear of failure to hold you back.

What’s in Your Hands?

Look around. What talents and resources do you have at your disposal? Be proactive. Step out of your comfort zone and work steadily toward your goals for the glory of God. Guard your spirituality in God and strive to better your circumstances. Your grateful master will reward you.

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