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                        "THE PARABLES OF JESUS"

                       The Talents (Mt 25:14-30)


1. Immediately following the parable of "The Wise And Foolish Virgins"
   (Mt 25:1-13), we find Jesus telling the parable of "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...]


      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
            own ability"
      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
         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

      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.
         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
         h. A place of punishment is reserved for the unprofitable 
            servants! - Mt 25:30; cf. 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...]


      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"

      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
         b. E.g., I would have never thought that I had the ability to
            teach or preach, in view of my childhood speech impediment
         -- Some talents may therefore lie dormant, awaiting awakening

      1. Through trial and error
         a. Try different areas of service, to see which ones might 
            come naturally
         b. Try them again and again, for some talents may only develop
            through hard work
      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;
            12:15; 15:22; 19:20
      -- Through such personal diligence and advice from others, one 
         can gain insight into the abilities and opportunities that the
         Lord has given him or her


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 place of torment?

What He will say THEN depends upon your service in the kingdom NOW...
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