"THE PARABLES OF JESUS"
The Talents (Mt 25:14-30)
2. While both parables relate to the kingdom of heaven, and especially
in anticipation of the Lord’s return, note the key difference:
a. The first stresses the need to be "prepared"; the latter, the
need to be "productive"
b. The first emphasizes "watching" for the Lord; the latter,
"working" for the Lord
3. In both parables we learn what should characterize those who eagerly
WAIT for the coming of the Lord
[How can we best apply what Jesus is teaching in this parable? Let’s
begin by examining…]
I. THE PARABLE AND ITS LESSONS
A. THE PARABLE ANALYZED…
1. A man, about to travel to a far country, distributes his goods
("talents") among his servants – Mt 25:14-15
a. A "talent" here is a monetary measure, amounting to 6000
denarii, which would take an ordinary laborer twenty years
to earn (a denarius being a day’s wage)
b. The number of "talents" was given "to each according to his
2. The use made of the talents is described – Mt 25:16-18
a. Two of the servants doubled their talents
b. One servant simply hid the money
3. The lord of the servants returns, and a reckoning is made – Mt 25:19-30
a. His return was after "a long time"
b. The first two servants describe how they doubled their
1) They stand before the lord with excitement (implied in
the word "look")
2) Their lord was pleased
a) He praises them for their work, saying "Well done"
b) He commends them both as "good and faithful servant"
c) He rewards them by promoting them: "you were
faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler
over many things"
d) He invites them to share in his happiness: "Enter
into the joy of your lord"
c. The servant who hid his money then faces his lord…
1) He begins by making excuses
a) "Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you
have not sown…"
b) "I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the
2) He seeks to appease the lord by returning what he had
been given: "Look, there you have what is yours."
d. The lord’s response…
1) He calls him a "wicked and lazy servant"
2) He tells him what was the least he should have done:
"you ought to have deposited my money with the
3) He takes away what he had, and gave it to the servant
with ten talents, with this explanation:
a) "For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he
will have abundance"
b) "But from him who does not have, even what he has
will be taken away"
4) He has the "unprofitable servant" cast "into the outer
darkness", where "there will be weeping and gnashing of
B. THE PARABLE APPLIED…
1. Main points of the parable:
a. Be faithful in using the opportunities for service which
the Lord has given us
b. Diligence is rewarded; negligence is punished
2. Other points to be noted (adapted from Hendricksen’s
a. Whatever we have, whether opportunities or abilities,
belongs to God; we may possess, but God owns; we are simply
stewards – Mt 25:14
b. The Lord grants opportunities for service in keeping with
our ability to make use of them – Mt 25:15
1) In the day of judgment, the number of "talents" will not
2) The question will be, "Have you been faithful in your
use of the talents?"
c. Jesus did not expect to return immediately – Mt 25:19;
cf. Mt 25:5
d. Everything should be done with a view of the day of
reckoning which is coming! – cf. 2 Co 5:10
e. Our responsibilities here and now are important, but they
will be surpassed by those in the life hereafter – Mt 25:21
cf. Re 22:3-5
f. To share in the Master’s own joy is part of the glory of
the life hereafter – Mt 25:21; cf. 2 Th 1:10-12 (where we
are told we will share in His glory)
g. Those who make excuses are "wicked and lazy" servants – Mt 25:25-26
h. A place of punishment is reserved for the unprofitable
servants! – Mt 25:30; cf. Mt 13:41-42
i. The sin of OMISSION is just as bad as the sin of COMMISSION
1) Those who do evil will experience "wailing and gnashing
of teeth" – Mt 13:41-42
2) But also those who do nothing! – Mt 25:30
[Many are the lessons that can be gleaned from this parable of "The
Talents". The main lesson is simple:
Be productive where the Lord has given you ability and opportunity!
But this often raises a question: What are my "talents?" (used here not
as a measure of money, but of ability and opportunity) Here are some
thoughts in an attempt to address this issue…]
II. DETERMINING OUR "TALENTS"
A. REMEMBER THAT NOT ALL HAVE THE SAME "TALENTS"…
1. The NUMBER of the talents may be different
a. Some may have only "one" talent
b. Some may have "five" talents
— Remember, the Lord gives "to each one according to his own
2. The NATURE of the talents may be different
a. Paul made this clear in Ro 12:3-8
b. Some teach, others serve; some may do more than one
— But everyone has "gifts differing according to the grace
that is given to us"
B. SOME "TALENTS" ARE EASIER TO DETERMINE THAN OTHERS…
1. In some cases our abilities are evident
a. E.g., inherited or gained wealth
b. E.g., positions of influence
2. But some abilities might at first be "hidden"
a. For example, teaching and preaching. Not everyone can
stand in front of an attentive audience and teach such
an important subject
b. Another example, singing. Without early training some
cannot carry a tune in a ‘bucket.’ However with practice
the vocal cords become stronger and what was once poor
— Some talents may lie dormant, awaiting awakening
C. DETERMINING ONE’S TALENTS…
1. Through trial and error
a. Try different areas of service, to see which ones might
b. Try them again and again, for some talents may only develop
2. Through seeking counsel from others
a. Others can often see our strengths and weaknesses better
than we ourselves
b. Solomon praised the value of receiving counsel –
Pr 11:14; Pr 12:15; Pr 19:20
c. Others may know tips and shortcuts that we never imagined,
making our learning much easier and faster
— Through such personal diligence and advice from others, one
can gain insight into the abilities and opportunities that the
Lord has given us
1. If we are in the kingdom, the Lord has given us all some ability in
which to serve Him
a. One day, He is coming again and there will be a reckoning
b. If we are going to be "prepared", we need to be "productive"
2. Are you productive? Or are you like the "wicked and lazy servant"?
a. Will the Lord say to you: "Well done, good and faithful servant.
Enter into the joy of your lord."?
b. Or will he say: "You wicked and lazy servant", and consign you
to the outer darkness?
What He will say THEN depends upon your service in the kingdom NOW…