The Parable of the Talents
For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling
into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto
them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and
to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway
took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded
with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he
that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had
received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money. After
a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents,
saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained
beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou
good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I
will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst
unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.
His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast
been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things:
enter thou into the joy of thy lord. Then he which had received the one
talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping
where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: And
I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there
thou hast that is thine. His lord answered and said unto him, Thou
wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not,
and gather where I have not strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put
my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have
received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give
it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath
shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not
shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable
servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
In those days, a talent was a form of money. This parable seems to teach
about increasing money, not so? Until recently, this preconceived idea
of money and usury (interest) blocked my understanding of the above parable
to some extent and only with the leading of the Holy Spirit, while writing
on another subject, was the knowledge of this teaching made clearer: and
the key was the word talent.
This parable does not teach about money, but about value. Money
was only used as an example by Jesus.
With this misinterpretation concerning earning money, came a further one,
which was that once the servant had doubled the money he stopped working.
The truth is that before the master left, his servants were working at
serving him. They carried on serving him after he left, at the same time
increasing the talents.
Jesus, who was speaking only to his disciples before His departure to be
with Father God, had already told them that He was leaving them. This parable
was part of His instruction that His disciples would understand when He
What did He say at an even later time?
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost
is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem,
and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
This is what He was talking about in the parable.
Christians are aware of the spiritual world and some of the power that
emanates from God, so we should realise that the parable of the talents
as told by the Son of God was a worldly example of a spiritual truth.
Also, I recently wondered why the man who received two talents was included
in the parable, because at first glance the teaching concerns that of the
servant with five obtaining the talent from the servant who received only
one. With this in mind, let's realise that the servant who received two
talents was placed in the plot of the story for a reason.
Another fact that only recently became clear, was that each servant was
given items of value for the purpose of profiting their master. The two
that used those items of value to double their worth for their master
were allowed to keep all that value as a reward. In fact the one was
actually given extra.
Further, why did Jesus choose the numbers five, two and one, why not three,
two and one?
We see in the first verse that they were His goods - spiritual
gifts. The message seems to be that one servant was given more than double
the number of gifts than the next in line, and the next, double that of
the third. This means, surely, that the master could see the worth of each
servant before he left, believing that he would receive the most return
for value by giving more to the best servant.
Furthermore, we see that the one servant feared. He was more concerned
about his fear than about his obedience. He was thinking of himself,
not of what he could do for his master.
You will also notice that he at least gave back the talent which he
had received; he didn't spend it and run away.
How does the parable start? For the kingdom of heaven is. . . .
So, we are dealing with a system of responsibility and reward that
applies in God's kingdom, not so.
Let's take it a bit further. What are the talents likely to be that we
can receive from God for the furtherance of His kingdom, and what can we
each build from what we receive?
Presuming of course that we are born again, without which no one has any
Previously we understood that the master could see the difference in value
of his servants as there must have been some signs showing.
Here are some of the signs that God is looking for in us, His servants:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness,
goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And
they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and
lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us
not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.
According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain
unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called
us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious
promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having
escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this,
giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience
godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness
charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you
that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge
of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind,
and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his
old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling
and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
(2 Peter 1:3-10)
As a result, the Lord can give additional gifts to those servants showing
such signs , because they will be able to handle the added responsibility
of using them in His service. As time goes by more will be added as each
servant learns to cope with more.
Here are some of God's gifts:
Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.
Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even
as ye were led. Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking
by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can
say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. Now there are diversities
of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations,
but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the
same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit
is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit
the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by
the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy;
to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues;
to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one
and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. For
as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that
one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one
Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or
Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to
drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. If the
foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it
therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the
eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole
body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were
hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members
every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were
all one member, where were the body? But now are they many
members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have
no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.
Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble,
are necessary: And those members of the body, which we think to
be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our
uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts
have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more
abundant honour to that part which lacked: That there should be
no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same
care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer
with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now
ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God hath set
some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers,
after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities
of tongues. Are all apostles? are all prophets? are
all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of
healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? But covet earnestly
the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.
(1 Corinthians 12:1-31)
All the above is called Christianity and is used by us in varying degrees
in actions and words to declare the Kingdom of God so that those who are
made spiritually aware can have their lives changed by the anointing of
the Holy Spirit.
Blessed be God who loves us with such wondrous love.
Going back to the parable once again.
Firstly we see that they were servants, not strangers. We claim to
be servants of Christ, not so? So Jesus was referring to disciples, to
born again Christians.
Secondly, the talents were given according to their ability. The brown
man of Africa is head and shoulders superior to his pink skinned brother
of European stock as regarding knowledge of the spiritual world, but the
other usually has more grasp of the efficient use of resources. In the
light of this, it would seem that the talents (gifts of God) would be different
for the two.
As we have already seen, the one with more ability (potential or otherwise),
receives more gifts and therefore more responsibility than the other. Of
the first two described in the parable, they both doubled the value of
what they received, but the one with more responsibility received a "bonus"
so to say, because it's easier to double two talents than to double five.
Nevertheless, both are promised what seems to be the same reward at
a future date because they were faithful to what was expected of them.
What is seldom realised, is that Jesus was talking to His disciples only,
those whom the Father had given Him. If we go back to Matthew 24:3 we see
that this parable is in fact an extension of a question put to Him privately.
A servant labours for his master and a disciple does the same for his
Lord. This must surely mean that those who don't labour are not disciples,
nor do they have a Master that they respect.
I don't wish to be brutal about this, only truthful according to God's
word; however, if you are born again and believe in once born again always
born again, and have the habit of sitting in your comfort zone watching
television while you should be labouring for the kingdom of God, you
are like the slothful servant who only gave back the talent that he received.
In the light of this, we must each ask ourselves, "How real is the Kingdom
of God to me; which servant am I?"
The Parable of the Pounds
The following parable is similar in many respects to that of the talents;
but if we read the first ten verses of the chapter we see that Jesus was
not talking to His disciples only, it was not so much a parable of service
but of rewards.
And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he
was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God
should immediately appear. He said therefore, A certain
nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and
to return. And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds,
and said unto them, Occupy till I come. But his citizens hated him, and
sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign
over us. And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received
the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to
whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had
gained by trading. Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained
ten pounds. And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou
hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.
And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds. And
he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities. And another came,
saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid
up in a napkin: For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou
takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow.
And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou
wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that
I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow: Wherefore then gavest
not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required
mine own with usury? And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him
the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds. (And they said
unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.) For I say unto you, That unto every
one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he
hath shall be taken away from him. But those mine enemies, which would
not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before
We see here that there are both servants and citizens described. Also,
that the servant who did nothing with his talent lost it, but the citizens
who didn't want Him as king were destroyed.
This is confirmed:
For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his
Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to
The scriptures show us that the saints will rule and reign with Jesus Christ
for a thousand years when He returns:
And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless
pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that
old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,
And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon
him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years
should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto
them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness
of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast,
neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads,
or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were
finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is
he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath
no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign
with him a thousand years.
We also see that when the New Jerusalem comes, there will be no more labour:
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first
earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy
city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a
bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven
saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell
with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with
them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their
eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither
shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And
he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he
said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said
unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I
will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life
freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his
God, and he shall be my son.
So, the various cities mentioned in the parable of the pounds are awarded
to us as a measure of responsibility, to rule over, seemingly in the thousand
year reign of Jesus Christ on this present earth. We are accorded this
responsibility and privilege because of our faithfulness in using the spiritual
gifts that have been given while in our present earthly bodies. We have
been found worthy.
This teaching is a combination of two similar parables, told by two different
disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, at different times, one who was an
eyewitness and companion of Jesus of Nazareth, and which demonstrates the
power of God in a small way to us modern-day disciples. God can use these
two isolated incidents as reported by His servants of the time to give
us a powerful message today as to what to expect once we leave our present
sinful earthly bodies.
You see, the stopover of the real "everlasting me" which are our souls,
in the temporary houses of these blood-filled bodies, are used by our wills
to direct the course that we shall take and be unable to change once we
leave these earthly bodies behind at death. In other words, the course
of our everlasting destiny is decided here and now by our willingness or
otherwise to obey God to His satisfaction.
The slothful servants (Christians) will not make the New Jerusalem!
All glory to the all-righteous Living God.
And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with
the affections and lusts.
And God is able to make all grace abound toward you;
that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may
abound to every good work:
(2 Corinthians 9:8)