Parable of the Talents

Luke 19: 11-28
Rev 4:1-11 / Ps 150

I tell you, to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.
(Luke 19:26)

Thank God for talents we’ve received;
And His Word we’ve come to believe.
May these talents lead us to give
More worth in each day that we live.

Jesus went on to tell them a parable, He said: “A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten gold coins. ‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.’ But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We don’t want this man to be our king.’ He was made king, however, and returned home. Then he sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it. The first one came and said, ‘Sir, your talent has earned ten more.’ “‘Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.’ The second came and said, ‘Sir, your talent has earned five more.’ His master answered, ‘You take charge of five cities.’ Then the third servant came and said, ‘Sir, here is your talent; I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth. I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man. You take out what you did not put in and reap what you did not sow.’ His master replied, ‘I will judge you by your own words, you wicked servant! You knew, did you, that I am a hard man, taking out what I did not put in, and reaping what I did not sow? Why then didn’t you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?’ Then he said to those standing by, ‘Take his talent away from him and give it to the one who has ten.’ “‘Sir,’ they said, ‘he already has ten!’ He replied, ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what they have will be taken away. But as for those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and kill them in front of me.’” (Luke 19:11-28)

Reflection

Our Lord Jesus gave this parable of the talents to impress upon His apostles their responsibility as stewards of His kingdom here on earth. Those who have been faithful in taking charge of small assignments will be given greater undertakings and even greater rewards. But those who do not put to good use even the little talents given them will suffer their loss, as well as the inheritance of His eternal kingdom.

Our Lord illustrates four kinds of people. The first two are His true and faithful servants who make good use of the gifts He has entrusted to them, each according to his capabilities. The third type are the unreliable followers, those who just “come along for the ride” but are sadly lacking in any personal commitment or even initiative. The last kind are the worst of the lot, who reject Him as their Master, and even conspire against Him. These deserve the most severe punishment.

I believe our Lord taught this parable not so much for the benefit of His apostles and closest followers, nor for His enemies, (the scribes, Pharisees and high priests), who rejected Him. His lesson was intended for the great masses of people who are uncommitted or lukewarm, or for some reason are afraid to take the leap of faith. Jesus seems to be telling them: “From him who has no faith, even the little that he has will be taken away.” Most Christians belong to this “third category” of Christ’s servants, who fill up His churches on Sundays and holy days of obligation, but are mostly ignorant about His Word. Their idea of God is a Severe Disciplinarian Whose rules and statutes must be strictly followed, but Whose Good News of salvation is “kept laid away” like their unopened Bible, gathering dust on a shelf. God has given each one of us a ‘gold coin’ or gift that we can use in propagating His kingdom here on earth. He does not expect that we can multiply His capital in our life five or ten times over. But at least let us give back some “interest” for His investment, lest we lose our most precious possession.

May each day that we live be filled with works that give You glory, Lord, if only to show our appreciation for all the talents that You have given us, and for this gift of life that You have made so precious. Amen.

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