The Parable of the Talents

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Stephen Newdell
Original source material came from: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/christiancrier/2014/04/21/parable-of-the-talents-meaning-summary-and-commentary/

What are you doing with your life? This life you have been given is a precious gift. Are you using your life to benefit your spiritual and mental development, or are you just wasting time watching TV often “playing” in the social media, blown away with sex, drinking, drugs and mega parties? It’s a serious question with serious consequences.

The Parable of the Talents is a major lesson Jesus is teaching but only for those with the willingness to think and learn.

What is a Parable?

A parable is a story that tries to explain a concept or lesson to the listeners using things or actions that the listener can easily identify with.  It is a comparison of two things that is told through a story that sometimes has two meanings.  Jesus frequently used parables and sometimes the parables were given to hide the meaning from the self-righteous but reveal them to those who want to obey God.   The parable can contain a simile or a metaphor designed to arrest the listener to what the storyteller is trying to teach.
This is from a different time and place after a different parable, but is directly related and part of this extremely important message!

Matthew 13 New International Version (NIV)

Whoever has ears, let them hear.”
10 The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”
11 He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 12 Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables:
“Though seeing, they do not see;
though hearing, they do not hear or understand.
14 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:
“‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
15 For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’[a]
16 But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. 17 For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

Talents

Everyone has some sort of “Talent.” It might be you’re a great conversationalist or singer or one of the academic subjects like math or physics just comes to you naturally. You see it once and remember it, and what you learn fits together with what you know and it all makes sense.
If that were the subject of the discussion; “What are you doing with your life?” might be about using the gifts God gave you to their best advantage – and using them to benefit others and do something good “for Heaven’s sake.”
But in this story, a “talent” is an amount of an average man’s earnings over a 75-year life time!  So, for those listeners, this is big money and it accounts for all the listener has done with his life.  Did he do more and make more money? Did he use it wisely and help others or did he just fritter it away on wine, women and song?
What will God say to the one who used it wisely? What will God do with the one who lived the luxurious life and ignored those people in serious need of help? This is going to come as a terrible shock to men who became horrendously wealthy during their lives, because, God doesn’t care a whit about what you accomplish materially in your life.
What matters to God is what you have done for Him and that amounts to doing something to help others with spiritual development and salvation!! And along the way, dear friend, your giving, especially when the giving is a bit of a sacrifice, is part of your spiritual development.
The shady tree car mechanic earning $12,000/year is equal in value to the corporate CEO who earns $200-million/year. What matters to God is what each man did for God, for others, and for his own spiritual development.
A talent is useless unless it is used.  Some have the talent of helping, some of giving encouragement, others use their personal time at the expense of themselves to help others, some  help to financially support the church or help the poor, however there are many who simply bury their God-given gifts and do nothing but sit around “sedated” all day. So long as some government welfare program supports them, they think no further ahead than Friday night. So you see this Parable of Talents has double meaning.
This is part of what is in the Parable of the Talents.  A talent is a monetary unit that is worth about 75 years’ worth of wages for a person’s labor.

The Parable of the Talents

The Parable of the Talents is given by Jesus right after He talks about His second coming and that no one knows the day or the hour and so a believer must be doing the right things with his/her life for the benefit of the coming New Kingdom on Earth (with Jesus as the King). He is telling this story as they are walking toward Jerusalem because Jesus knows this is his last trip. He’ll be captured and crucified this time! He wants his disciples to understand his teaching was first to God’s chosen family and then to those who will want to be adopted into that family. He wants them to understand The Kingdom to come is not yet, but in the distant future.
In the Parable, the man who gives these three men these talents is actually Jesus. He gave them something to use to build something….to build the foundation of His Kingdom! Is that important?
If you give a builder $20,000 to build the foundation of your new house and you return 3-months later and find no foundation and no work done, what would you think? You might ask a few questions but certainly you would not be pleased, especially if you knew the weather for pouring concrete had been very good. What did you do with my money? Why don’t I see a foundation here? You’ve wasted 3-months and worse, my money is earning nothing and doing nothing for me! Give my money back. I’ll hire a construction company that gets work done!
A similar parable is given in …

Matthew 25:14-30     New International Version (NIV)

The Parable of the Bags of Gold

14 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. 15 To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag,[a] each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. 17 So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. 18 But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
19 “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’
21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.Come and share your master’s happiness!’
22 “The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’
23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.Come and share your master’s happiness!’
24 “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’
26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.
28 “‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. 29 For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

The threat that one might be thrown into Outer Darkness is very real and should be terrifying. If it is not fearsome to you, then you will be one of those in shock when the day comes that you meet the true and living God!

God placed into your hands some investment – your life and your “talents” your intelligence, and abilities to develop spiritually and help others to see the true light of God. If you waste this investment he will be wroth with you and you will be unhappy with the conseqences!

God is saying that we have been given time and capability to use to accomplish His will. You must serve someone and you’ll ultimately serve God or Satan. If you serve yourself you’re serving Satan — You’ve been on Satan’s side of this war and you’ll get what losers in a war get!
The first two servants used their talents, thus multiplying them, but the one who had a talent did not use it but simply buried it or hid it.  It could be said that he or she hid it from the world and from the Master but the point is that it wasn’t really his or her talent. It belonged to the Master.
Now, I’m not talking about money! God doesn’t care if you get rich or don’t. I’m talking about being helpful for God’s future plans – for building the foundation of God’s Kingdom which will come to this world and I think quite soon.
Someone in the Network Marketing world once wrote, “God wants to make you RICH.” I disagree vehemently. If you’re going to be “rich” it’ll be forever in God’s Heavenly Kingdom, some time in the far future when it’s right for such things. Getting rich so you can eat, drink and have endless sex with one stranger after another, and be entertained with travel and toys on wheels and so forth, is temporary.
I’m in a position to know. I’m age 67 and as a natural healer I’ve continue to exercise and eat right and I’m in very good physical condition. Lab tests say I’m in the physical condition of someone more like age 47 compared to a broad cross section of Americans. I’m healthy and comfortable in this body. I have seen many of my early school classmates get sick, old, fat, and end their lives. The “stuff” they collected did not go to the grave with them. It got sold off. All they take with them to show to God one day is the good they did and the love they spread and received. If they can show nothing for their years here, they’re going to hear a terrifying rebuke. I don’t want for you to be another one of them.
Give up your sins and change your ways before you die. We don’t know when we’ll die, so repent right now!
If you want to show off to your past enemies, acquaintances and friends, follow the righteous Way of God and one day they’ll see you are part of God’s family. Don’t mess up on this issue because there will not be another chance. The Universe is God’s dream and if His Majesty Jesus the King decides to delete you from the dream, that’s the end for you. You’ll get your punishment. You’ll be sorry, and then you’ll be “blanked out.”
To one man I know I say, “That can of beer in your hand 16-hours/day and that folding chair on your Arizona deck are your worst enemies. Go out and do something to help others and tell them you changed your ways because of what you learned of God and his intentions for our lives. Don’t do it ‘later’ do it Now!” If this same message applies to someone you know, send that person the link to this article. He needs to hear it and you need to send it before your judgment day comes!

So finally the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them.  One had received the five talents. He came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’  His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into my family.

The next fellow had received two talents. He came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’  His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into this new and peaceful Kingdom we are building on Earth and in Heaven.’

The first two servants used their talents and when a person uses their talents, God gives them more to use.  What you don’t use you lose and these servants used their talents for the Kingdom and that is why their master says to both of them “Well done, good and faithful servant…I will set you over much and now enter into the joy of your master.” They will be given much responsibility in the Kingdom because they proved they were trustworthy and willing to work.
Heaven is not going to be an eternal party or eternal retirement in boredom. To gain more spiritual development and finally be like God you’ll work at one or more assignments and as you gain wisdom and experience you’ll spiritually mature.

Finally the third man who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master,….I was afraid I’d lose everything, so instead I preserved it. I hid your talent in the ground. Here you have back what is yours.’

But his master answered him with something like this: ‘You wicked, lazy bum. Some servant you turned out to be! You say you knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed?

Then you ought to have invested my money at least with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with at least a little interest.  Now I am taking the talent from you and giving it to he who has the ten talents.

To everyone who has grown spiritually s/he’ll get more wisdom, more assignments and more responsibility. S/he’ll continue to mature and finally be like God! But if you wasted what I gave you, whatever little you had will be taken from you and you will be thrown into the outer darkness!

In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Everyone there will be very sorry.

Some believe the story tells us this servant was never truly saved. He’s a “professing Christian” but he doesn’t really possess faith. He’s been lying to himself and God and putting on a fascade, a face, a show, a posture of being pious but in his secret heart he is not pious.
On their judgment day people will say, Did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons, and do many mighty works in your name?  And then will Jesus will say, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.
Wow! Lawlessness! “Lawlessness” refers to rebels and terrorists. Surely you don’t want to be counted amongst that group of scoundrels.
The person who doesn’t really believe God’s words will be punished.

The person who hides his true Christian faith from the world because saying he Love’s the Lord and keeps the Lord’s commandments and is a Christian will be seen as  having been ashamed of his/her faith. S/he wanted popularity more than truth. S/he wanted to be socially well received. Take warning for those who do this because Jesus said …

Matthew 10:32-33       New International Version (NIV)

32 “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.

That would be the worst loss and one you could not endure.

Conclusion

Which are you; a faithful servant or one that hides their talent and their profession of faith in Christ?  Have you buried your talents or are you using them?  Are you a servant of Christ or a self-seeking servant that is only interested in meeting your own needs?  Only you know and the Lord knows. In the same chapter where Jesus spoke the Parable of the Talents, He speaks clearly to both believers and unbelievers, saying:

Matthew 10:37-42            New International Version (NIV)

37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds their life (gets great prosperity and comfort) will lose it, and whoever loses their life (loses the comforts of the material world for the sake of spreading the gospel) for my sake will find it.
40 “Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41 Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. 42 And if anyone (who is my disciple) gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.”
But now, what will happen to those who give nothing and live by the way of “Getting” all of their lives? They lived to gather and make themselves grand and honored because of their money and power. People called them “Doctor” or “Celebrity” or “Royalty” or “Wealthy Fat Cat” but that’s all they’re going to enjoy. After their time here plays out there’s no undoing what they have done. Life ends generally without warning for us, whether we drive a Lamborghini or an old Plymouth. There will be no second chance.
Your actions speak for you. Your words are cheap. Prove you want your place with Jesus in his family and you shall have it. Show that you did nothing but play games all of your life and you’ll come to an ignominious end.
If indeed some of us have lived multiple lifetimes, (some people think so) this lifetime is the last. The time line is over now. When Jesus returns your chances are run out. Get it right this time or get lost in Outer Darkness. Those are your only options.
There were three parables that were similar, told at different times in different places but their point is the same. Do for God and be rewarded. Do for yourself and your reward is a sad ending to a life NOT so well lived.

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