Parable of Talents

Matt. 25:14-30  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. 15  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. 16  Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. 17  And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. 18  But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money. 19  After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. 20  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. 21  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. 22  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. 23  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. 24  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 strowed: 25  And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. 26  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 strowed: 27  Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. 28  Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. 29  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. 30  And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.


I.    It is important to see the placement of this parable.

A.    It is located after Matthew chapter 24, where Christ answers questions from His disciples about the end of the world.

B.    Matthew 25:1 starts with the word “then”, as the thought is continued from the teaching about the unfaithful servants at the end of Matthew 24.

C.    Matthew 25:14 starts with the word “for”, and continues the thought from chapter 24 through the parable of the ten virgins to the parable of the talents.


II.    A talent is a sum of money, not a particular amount.  It is not the ability to do something.  It is the worth as far as God is concerned.  It is a gift to us from God that we are to use for His service.

A.    Talent - Strongs concordance # 5007. talanton, tal'-an-ton; neut. of a presumed der. of the orig. form of  tlao (to bear; equiv. to G5342); a balance (as supporting weights), i.e. (by impl.) a certain weight (and thence a coin or rather sum of money) or "talent":--talent.

B.    A value, not necessarily money.

1.      It is not necessarily an ability to do something, as a person has a talent for singing, or playing the piano.

2.      I think of this talent as the worth of an individual to God.

C.    Every person received according to their ability.

1.      God never overloads a person down with more than He can do.

2.      We cannot blame God for our failures.

3.      God has given us everything we need to do what He wants us to do.

4.      We must give God the glory for our strength to do His will.

D.    The word “several” means individual.

1.      God knows how much each individual person can handle.

2.      If you are a “ten thousand watt light bulb”, then you have many talents, and you should use each of these talents for God’s glory.

3.      If you are a “night light”, you have few talents, and you should use your talent for God’s glory.

4.      Don’t say, “I don’t have a very bright light, therefore, I won’t let my light shine at all.”

5.      A night light is very bright in total darkness.

6.      That means your light is very necessary.

7.      “Let your little light shine.”

E.     God gave talents to his own servants.

1.      In this parable, the word “servant” is the same Greek word.

2.      God didn’t give talents to Satan’s servants.

3.      According to what Christ is saying in Matthew chapter 24 and 25, He believes there are faithful servants and unfaithful servants, so there must be!


III. There will be a judgment.

A.  Heb. 9:27 - Appointed to men first to die, then the judgment.

B.   II Tim. 4:1 - Judgment of the saved and His appearing.

C.    Matt. 7:1,2 - We shall be judged according to the judgment we put on others.

D.    Matt. 6:12 - We will be forgiven for our sins as we have forgiven those that have sinned against us.

E.   We shall be judged according to our works.

1.      Matt. 16:27 - When Jesus comes, He shall judge every man according to his works.

2.   II Cor. 5:10 - We shall all receive according to our works, good or bad.

3.   I Peter 1:17 - Fear (respect) God in this world, for He judged us according to our works.

F.   John 5:19-23 - Jesus shall judge men in order that all men shall know that Jesus and His Father (God) are the same in person and power - verse 18.

G.   Acts 24:25 - It's not wrong to preach about the coming judgment because Paul preached to a lost man about the coming judgment.  You can't scare someone into believing or doing right, but everyone needs to know what is coming for them.


IV. The faithful servants.

A.    One servant receive five talents and another servant received two talents.

1.      The five talent servant had the ability to handle five talents.

2.      The two talent servant had the ability to handle two talents.

3.      God never gives us more than we can bear.

4.      Luke 12:47,48 - And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. 48  But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

B.    The faithful servants worked in the local churches of the Lord Jesus Christ.

1.      Eph. 1:22,23 - The only way to be faithful to Christ is to put yourself under His head ship, which is in the local church of which He is the head.

2.      Each doubled their talents, and each received exactly the same reward - compare verses 21 and 23.


V.  Verse 26,27 - One of God’s servants is called a wicked and slothful servant!!

A.  God not only judges us for doing wrong, He also judges us for not doing right.  If we know what we ought to do and don't do it, God will hold us guilty.

B.    The Bible is a two edged sword.

C.    The word wicked - neros, pon-ay-ros'; from a der. of G4192; hurtful, i.e. evil (prop. in effect or influence,

1.      And thus differing from G2556, which refers rather to essential character,

2.      As well as from G4550, which indicates degeneracy from original virtue); fig. calamitous; also (pass.) ill, i.e. diseased; but espec. (mor.) culpable, i.e. derelict, vicious, facinorous; neut. (sing.) mischief, malice, or (plur.) guilt; masc. (sing.) the devil, or (plur.) sinners:--bad, evil, grievous, harm, lewd, malicious, wicked (-ness). See also G4191.

3.      The word “wicked” does not mean that this servant is lost, or that he has lost the essential goodness which God gave him at salvation, but that his actions have hurt the cause of God.

D.    Slothful - means lazy, slow to the point of continually being tardy, and irksome to others.

1.      This unfaithful servant can been a hindrance to other Christians who desire to obey Christ, yet follow the terrible influence of this wicked servant.

2.      This unfaithful servant has spent his life doing what comes convenient, not what God commands.

E.     The reason the unfaithful servant was unfaithful.

1.      He didn’t understand the basic character of God.

a.      He believed God was hard.

b.      He believed God was a thief.

c.      He had little love for God.

2.      He should have understood:

a.      God is not a thief because He never reaps the crop of another, nor gathers fruit to Himself that another has worked for.

b.      II Sam. 24:14 - King David would cast himself on the mercies of God, instead of men.

c.      I John 4:18 - Perfect love casteth out fear. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

3.      Hosea 4:6 - My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.

4.      John 4:24 - God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

a.      Some people can worship God much because they have much knowledge.

b.      Some people can worship God a very little because they have very little knowledge.


V.    Verse 28 - If the one who does not increase God's talent loses everything, what is the condition of those who waste God's talents?

A.    God doesn’t lose anything because of our unfaithfulness.

1.      He retains the one talent, giving it to the most faithful.

2.      The most faithful gains form the unfaithfulness of other servants.

3.      The faithful would never be so unfaithful as to suggest that anybody ought to be unfaithful so they could gain more.

B.    God told the unfaithful servant the very least he could have done was to be faithful in church attendance.

1.      This is what God means by putting the talent to the exchangers.

2.      God is saying that church attendance is the absolute least any saved, scripturally baptized person should do.

3.      Every person God saves should do more than attend church services.

4.      He should read and study his Bible, and learn about Godliness and holiness.

5.      He should be a witness to others about the unspeakably great gift of salvation and faithfulness.

C.    Usury is interest.

1.      Deut 23:19,20 - Thou shalt not lend upon usury to thy brother; usury of money, usury of victuals, usury of any thing that is lent upon usury: 20  Unto a stranger thou mayest lend upon usury; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury: that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all that thou settest thine hand to in the land whither thou goest to possess it.

2.      There are many other scriptures about usury, but this one should suffice to show that God doesn’t want Israelites to charge interest to other Israelites.

3.      They are allowed to charge interest to strangers.

4.      Christ is showing this wicked servant that he would have been better off to have been treated like a stranger to God’s promises than to have God’s promises and not act on them.

5.      Geneva commentary[1] makes the following comment on this verse: This servant had already told two lies. First he said the master was an austere or harsh man. This is a lie for the Lord is merciful and gracious. Next he called his master a thief because he reaped where he did not sow.  Finally the master said to him sarcastically why did you not add insult to injury and loan the money out at interest so you could call your master a "usurer" too!  If the servant had done this, his master would have been responsible for his servant's actions and guilty of usury.

6.      When Christ answered the man thus, He speaks cynically, thus condemning the man all the more.


VI. Outer darkness.

A.    Matt. 8:10-12 - The children of the kingdom (saved) shall be cast into outer darkness, not lost people.

1.      This verse makes it very clear that lost people are not cast into outer darkness.

2.      It is the “children of the kingdom” that are cast into outer darkness.

3.      I don’t think outer darkness is a place, but a frame of mine.

4.      It will come when a person comes to realize that they have wasted their lives taking care of the things of this present world.

5.      When we are judged by God, and He looks with on our lives with eyes of fire (Rev. 1:14) and we see all the wood, hay, and stubble (the things we have done without God’s blessings) burned away, leaving only gold, silver, precious stones (the things we have done with God’s blessings) we will be surprised and ashamed at how little is left.

B.    Rev. 21:4 - God shall wipe away all tears in the eternal age, not in the millennium.

1.      There will be weeping during the millennium because we won't be where we want to be (because of our works) and we will be very sorry for the way we lived our lives.

2.      The parable of the pounds expounds more on the rule faithful servants will have with Christ during the millennium.

C.    I Cor. 3:11-15 - We must build on the foundation of Jesus Christ if we are to have any everlasting fruits.

D.    Matt. 7:24-27 - We are to build our lives on the rock of God, not on the sinking sand of this world. 

[1] On Line Bible, Matt. 25:27, Note: Geneva.