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The Parable of the Talents September 14, 2018

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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Here are my thoughts on Matthew 25:14-30.

Summary: In this passage, Jesus states that His kingdom can be represented by a man who goes on a long trip; before his departure, he delivers his goods to his servants. In particular:

  • one servant receives a bag of coins weighing five talents
  • another servant receives a bag of coins weighing two talents
  • a third servant receives a bag of coins weighing one talent.

This apportionment corresponds to their respective abilities.

The first two servants instantly engage in business and turn a profit; each of them actually doubles the amount that they have received.

Yet the third servant buries his bag of coins.

Their master eventually returns and compares accounts with them. The first two servants bring the profit that they have turned. He declares that they are excellent; thus, he will grant them more opportunities to turn a profit.

Yet the third servant attacks him, declaring that he is unforgiving and that he takes things from others. This servant assumes that if he had engaged in business and:

  • lost money, then his master would have punished him
  • made a profit, then his master would have taken it from him.

Thus, he chose to bury the amount that he had received.

His master declares that he is wicked and lazy; thus, he commands that this servant’s bag of coins be transferred to the first servant.

Similarly, God will grant those who bear spiritual fruit more opportunities to bear spiritual fruit. In contrast, those who do not bear spiritual fruit will not receive any additional opportunities to bear spiritual fruit. Moreover, He will cast them into hell.

Thoughts: In this passage, the first two servants are able to double the amount that they originally received from their master. This spurred me to consider the following hypothesis: significant profits are usually associated with significant risks. If this hypothesis is correct, then I believe that it relates to our walk with God. In particular, God may call us to take a particular risk, e.g. by placing ourselves in an uncomfortable position. In these cases, we may appear to fail – but perhaps we can bear more fruit when we are in a state of discomfort. As believers, we should consider how God may be calling us to take a particular risk; if so, how can we hold fast to Him, trusting that He will be glorified when we respond in obedience?

“Talents” play a central role in this passage, and Ryle offers some insights on this point:

Anything whereby we may glorify God is a “talent.” Our gifts, our influence, our money, our knowledge, our health, our strength, our time, our senses, our reason, our intellect, our memory, our affections, our privileges as members of Christ’s church, our advantages as possessors of the Bible – all, all are talents.

Ryle has an interesting viewpoint; he proffers a non-standard definition of “talents” (my understanding is that “talents” are usually defined as being equivalent to spiritual gifts, but I could be wrong on this point). If Ryle’s definition is correct, then as believers, we should ponder our advantages while discarding any notion of comparing ourselves with other believers in this regard. Given the advantages that are inherent to our circumstances, how can we leverage them to bear spiritual fruit? We must ask God to open our eyes on a daily basis, viewing our circumstances from His perspective.

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