We are continuing on with Jesus and His disciples on the Mount of Olives. He is teaching His disciples about the end times and His returning. In our reading today, Jesus is using another parable. This one deals with the concept of final judgement at Jesus’ coming.
At the beginning of Jesus’ parable he introduces us to three servants and their master. The master is a very shrewd man. He easily judges the character of all his servants. He was savvy in business, and was very wealthy. I looked up a talent in my bible helps and it says that ONE talent is worth 20 years’ worth of wages. In the day when my bible helps were written, one talent would equal about $600,000. Between the three servants, this man entrusted his servants with 160 years’ worth of wages. That is $4,800,000!
So the first thing we learn about the servants is that they were each given talents “according to his ability” (verse 15). So the master knew what they were capable of, or not, before even giving them anything. After learning the value of a talent, it is hard to imagine trusting one person with that much wealth, even the man who only received one talent. The one who received the five talents must have been an amazing money manager! In the story, Jesus said that this man went right away and made five more talents. We are not told how he did it but he just made a wealthy man much wealthier. The man who got the two talents did the same.
This master chose his servants well. Two of the three servants he chose to entrust his wealth to him have doubled his investment. But there is one fly in his ointment. The servant who got one talent. He is too terrified of the master to risk even having the money around. What if he lost some of it, or if a robber came in and stole it. No. The best place to keep the master’s money safe was a hole in the ground.
Why did the master choose him in the first place? Did he know what he would do with his money? Was he hoping that by displaying so much confidence in this servant that he would rise to the occasion? The servant let him down in that area too.
I want to know what all three of the servants were doing after they dealt with the master’s money. Were they relaxing while the money flowed in or were they finding other opportunities to increase the master’s wealth? I wonder how long the master was gone. Did they have time to make even more or did it take the full time that he was gone to make the extra money in the first place?
When the master returns, he settles his accounts with all three of his servants. He is very pleased with the first two servants business savvy. He promised them both great rewards and future assignments. But the one servant came before him trembling. The servant knew he was going to be a disappointment to the master. His behavior said he didn’t even want the job in the first place. “Here, you have what is yours” (verse 25). He put no effort or thought what so ever into how to increase the master’s money. Did he even think about investing it with the bankers (opening a savings account)?
As you know, things didn’t bode well for our third servant. Which brings up a question for me. Were all the servants supposed to represent believers? If so, why did the non-producing servant wind up in hell? Is this part of what James talks about: “Without works, faith is dead?” Was this servant truly a believer or was he another Judas Iscariot?
What did the talents really represent? Were they “talents” as in abilities that God gives us to use for His Kingdom or were they His understanding for His word? Was it the man’s nonuse of the talents that got him into trouble or his overall attitude? He was afraid of the master and wanted nothing to do with what the master was offering him. Was this his underlying issue? Is this rejection what sent him to hell? Personally I would much rather believe that he was dammed for rejecting the master rather than that he got sent to hell for not employing his God given talent.
Jesus’ overall message here appears to be that, when He returns there will be a reckoning (judgement) we are to all attend. Jesus will go deeper into this issue in tomorrow’s reading. For now, let us end with this thought. Either way, what God gives us is to be used, not hidden away. Weather it is a God given ability to be employed in building His Kingdom or understanding of His word and person. Don’t refuse or reject God’s gifts, from His saving grace all the way to leading a coliseum in prayer. If He gives it to you then He knows you have the character appropriate to use it.
Father God, today’s parable sparked questions in me. I trust You to show me what You want me to learn from Your word. I believe You placed those questions in my heart along with the answer in the end. I’m sure this is not the only answer for this passage but it is the one You showed me tonight. I pray that You are using it to help someone else who is bothered by the same questions You put in my heart. Thank You for answering for both of us.
Also God, am I doing what You want me to do with the talent You placed in me? I believe You opened this door to me and led me to walk through it. No more holes to hide the talent in. Show me clearly if You want me to stop or go a different direction. I pray You are speaking to others through the questions and answers You have me share this way. Thank You for trusting me with Your talent. I always try to make You proud of me. And on that note, please remind me Who the talent really belongs to and not become puffed up or proud.