The Stewardship of Talents
Emphasis Text: “To each according to his ability”.
This is the example Jesus gave as to how we are to use our gifts from God our Father.
The master is leaving so he entrusts talents to his servants.
Five to one, two to another and one to the last servant.
When he returns he demands an accounting.
The one with five has made five.
The one with two made an additional two.
But the one with one talent hides it to keep it safe.
And the master says that he is wicked and lazy. Knowing that the master harvests where he has not sown and gathered where he has not scattered seed, he should have put the talent in the bank and made interest for the master. The one he has is to be taken and given to the one with five for: everyone who has will be given more and whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.
The worthless servant is to be thrown outside into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
First from my Study Bible: the parable of the talents warns us that our place and service in heaven will depend on the faithfulness of our lives and service here.
A Talent represents our abilities, time, resources and opportunities to serve God while on earth.
These things are considered by God as a trust that we are responsible to administer in the wisest possible way.
The section about everyone who has is an important principle with regard to the believer’s reward and state in heaven.
What believers receive in the future kingdom of God will depend on what they possess of it now.
Their position and inheritance in heaven will be in proportion to the present commitment to God’s ways and kingdom.
I wish we had time for me to ask, and listen to your response, to what you have thought that Jesus was saying as you heard sermons on this subject through out your life.
It has puzzled me over the years.
Using Talents like money is confusing to me.
The point is well made.
Use what you have been given or you will be in a bad position when the Master comes and demands an accounting for what He has given you.
Faithful or unfaithful, all of us are stewards and will be all our lives.
It is just the way it is.
We are stewards of the years, the time God has given us to live.
We are stewards of our bodies.
We must care for them and use them for God’s glory.
We are stewards of all we possess.
Our possessions belong to God and must be used for him.
And we also are stewards of our minds and our abilities.
It is our responsibility to develop our skills and use them for God’s purposes. This is the stewardship of talents.
As the parable illustrates, a talent was an ancient unit of money or weight varying with time and place.
The parable in the text for today has largely given us the use of this word to refer to a special, natural ability.
This is true because it tells us of the master’s delivering his goods, his talents, to his servants, to every man according to his ability.
Let us see this parable as a drama that Jesus presented to get those who heard and saw it to understand a timeless truth.
Consider this parable as a drama in three acts.
Each act can be described by a single word.
The characters are sharply drawn.
Their exits and entrances are in perfect sequence.
The staging is clear.
Act one can be called investiture. Matt. 25:14-15.
The master is leaving for a trip and he gave his servants his goods.
One servant got five talents, one two and one received only one talent.
Is Jesus saying that God has given to us all that we are and all we have is a gift from God; and therefore we are his stewards?
One thing we learn from this is that God does not give all alike.
“And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his ability.”
This is a clear and sober statement of the inequality of human endowment.
The findings of the intelligence testers are not new: they were succinctly expressed long ago in this story.
We are genetically different and therefore have various levels of intelligence and potential.
God created us that way, and our parable illustrates this fact of life.
How about the five-talent person?
The five-talent people are necessary in a community.
The genius of American Democracy is equality of opportunity.
There is to be no difference in status regardless of a person’s aptitude, ability, and energy.
Part of the wealth of a nation is the number of five talent people that dwell within it.
Then there is the two-talent person.
If the five-talent people are the bright stars in the human firmament, then the vast majority are the two-talent people.
These are the many average folks that make up society.
These folks bear the burdens of the world.
People of good average ability who use the talents they have to serve God and mankind.
The five-talent people are few and far between, and too often they succumb in the lust for power or the temptation to greed.
The one-talent people are too easily manipulated by the unscrupulous demagogues for their own ends.
But the two-talented people form the working nucleus of society.
They stay hitched.
We need these two-talented people.
Then the one-talent person.
Could it be that the parable was told for the benefit of the one-talent people?
In the drama the five-talent servant and the two-talent servant are really minor characters.
It is the one-talent servant who is the chief actor and the villain of the piece.
His portrait is sketched in detail.
Nothing in this parable is clearer than the fact that the one-talent servant was expected to be as faithful to his master’s interests as the five-and two-talent servants.
We need these people also.
If you think you might be a one-talent person do not be concerned.
Be faithful to what you have been given.
We must accept those limitations we cannot change as the will of God for us and then go on to serve God the best we can.
The master, after these things had taken place, straightway took his journey and the curtain comes down on act one.
Act two can be called the performance.
It tells what the servants did with their respective talents.
The five making five and the two making two and one keeping it secure for the master’s return.
This is the stewardship of talents.
What do we do with the Master’s talents?
Do we invest them for his glory, or do we hide them in a hole in the ground?
Do we use them for the advancement of his kingdom?
Do we perform according to the abilities he has given us?
Are we true to trust?
A person is accountable in accordance with his endowment.
The master returns and demands an accounting for the invested talents.
The five-talent servant traded and made five more.
He performed well.
He was true to trust.
His shrewd investments proved immensely profitable, even a profit of 100 percent.
We are to use our talents for God’s glory and the welfare of others.
How did the two-talent servant perform?
He also traded and made another two.
We would visualize the two-talent servant as the blunt, honest type, a solid person.
Do not see this variety of talents as a hierarchy but an example of faithfulness to what you have been entrusted.
How did the one-talent servant perform?
Not wisely, for sure.
He hid his master’s talent in the ground.
He was afraid to risk what he had been given.
He avoided the responsibility of investing it.
He should have been willing to be used of God.
If willing and dedicated, God will use the one-talent servant to His Glory.
The question becomes, have we been faithful or unfaithful in the use of the talents God has entrusted to us?
Do not worry about the number you have but the use of what you have been given by God.
What use have you made of the Master’s talents.
Have you made gains for His Kingdom?
In act three there is the reckoning.
The central interest of the drama lies in the scene of the reckoning and in particular in the position of the cautious servant, who faithfulness receives such a stern rebuke.
Every Christina should have the ambition to be a successful servant of God.
Success, as God reckons it, has no relation to our being equal to any other individual.
Success depends not on equality but on individuality.
Success is measured in terms of faithfulness.
First there is the reckoning and rewards.
The five-talent servant had been faithful and was rewarded.
The master is pleased and says, well done.
He is invited to enter into the joy of his Lord.
The two-talent servant is treated likewise.
Jesus deliberately constructed his story to show that though there may be degrees of endowment, every person is required to make the most of his or her gifts.
Then there is the scene of reckoning and judgment.
Because of his fear of the master the one-talent man was afraid that he might lose what he had been given so he hid it so that he was sure to have it when the master returned.
Why was he treated so harshly?
He had no character. He blamed his failings on the master.
He had no courage, he was afraid to risk the one-talent.
He had no imagination. He could have put it out on interest and risked little and made something.
But above all he had no motivating. He did not even try.
The master called him wicked and slothful.
Knowing well the master’s ability to produce he should have done something.
Take away what he has and give it to the one who has the ten.
For unto every one who has shall be given more and they shall have an abundance.
But from he that hath not, even that which he hath shall be taken away and he shall be cast in to the outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Harsh judgment for one’s failures in stewardship, judgment and the sin of omission.
When the master comes he will judge character, motives and our fitness to serve.
The two faithful ones entered into the joy of the master but the last one was cast out.
The Master’s words cause us to examine ourselves.
If the servant who kept his talent intact, returning it undamaged and unused, received such heavy judgment, what must they expect who destroy God-given talents by drunkenness and lust, or squander the property they might have used for God’s purposes on the vanities of the world?
It makes us shudder to think of it.
Don’t lose your talent by default.
It can happen to anybody.
Take what God has given to you, dedicate it to Him and His Kingdom, and see how he can use it to Glorify Himself and accomplish good for others.