This gospel section emphasizes making the best use of our resources within the time limit and opportunities we have. Through the parable of ten virgins with their lamps, Jesus shows us the importance of having the oil of Christian virtues prepared for his return as our judge. After that, Jesus shared the story of the talents. A master who had gone abroad gave his three servants talents to use in commerce. When he got back, those with five and two talents gave back twice what he had given them, whereas the servant with one talent hid it away and made no profit from it. The owner, upset, passed the talent to the one who had doubled five talents. Jesus revealed the everlasting punishment that would befall the careless disciples. Avoiding evil, we need to take full advantage of the blessings, the time, and the chances God has given us to further God’s kingdom. He will then honour us by inviting us to partake in his heavenly feast.
BIBLE TEXT: MATTHEW 25:14-30
The Parable of the Talents
(Mt 25:14) Imagine someone who, before going abroad, summoned his servants to entrust his property to them. (15) He gave five talents of gold to one, two to another, and one to a third, each one according to his ability; and he went away.
(16) The one who received five talents went at once to do business with the money and gained another five. (17) The one who received two did the same and gained another two. (18) But the one with one talent dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
(19) After a long time, the master of those servants returned and asked them for their accounts. (20) The one who received five talents came with another five talents, saying, ‘Sir, you entrusted me with five talents, but see I have gained five more with them.’ (21) The master answered: ‘Well done, good and faithful servant, since you have been faithful in little things, I will entrust much more to you. Come and share the joy of your master.’ (22) Then the one who had two talents came and said: ‘Sir, you entrusted two talents to me; I have two more which I gained with them.’ (23) The master said: ‘Well done, good and faithful servant, since you have been faithful in little things, I will entrust you with much more. Come and share the joy of your master.’
(24) Finally, the one who had received one talent came and said: ‘Sir, I know that you are an exacting man. You reap what you have not sown and gather where you have not scattered seed. (25) I was afraid, so I hid your money in the ground. Here, take what is yours.’ (26) But his master replied: ‘Wicked and lazy servant, so you knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed. (27) Then you should have deposited my money in the bank, and you would have given it back to me with interest on my return. (28) Now, take the talent from him, and give it to the one who has ten. (29) For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away from him. (30) As for that useless servant, throw him out into the dark where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
With the Scribes and the Pharisees denying Jesus Christ’s words of salvation, he prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem (Mt 24:12) and the suffering that would come before it (Mt 24:3-14). Jesus recounted the great tribulation that would come before his return (Mt 24:15-35). Because the time of his return is uncertain, the disciples must always stay devoted to God (Mt 24:36-44). He will reprimand those who are careless and disloyal (Mt 24:45-51). Jesus used the parable of the ten virgins who waited for the bridegroom to show how his disciples should get ready for his return. Like the wise virgins, they should couple their faith with Christian acts of charity, such as providing oil for the lamp. After this, Jesus spoke the parable of the talents which we contemplate now.
The Parable of the Talents
In the parable before this one, there were ten virgins and only five of them were ready for the bridegroom. The parable of the talents examines how people should be prepared for the second coming of Christ. In this one, Jesus emphasizes the servants’ eagerness to work. The disciples should be energetic and take the initiative in their duties. Depending on how hard they work for the Church, they will receive reward or punishment.
(Mt 25:14) Imagine someone who, before going abroad, summoned his servants to entrust his property to them .
The word “imagine” implies that the following is a story and not a true event. It is like what was occurring during that period. The parables have spiritual messages for those who follow Jesus. The Synoptic Gospels provide thirty-five parables. Those teaching aids were especially beneficial for the illiterate in those days. Even today, however, their messages remain applicable, keeping them relevant.
someone who, before going abroad
This parable’s traveller is a metaphor for Jesus, who journeyed from heaven to earth and back. His departure happened at the time of his ascension.
Other parables of Jesus also include wealthy people journeying to distant lands. They also gave their assets to the custodians and requested their yield.
1. In the Parable of the Tenants, the landowner entrusted his vineyard to tenants, and he set out on a journey. He sent his servants, one after another, and finally his son, to get his produce (Mt 21:33-41). God is the landowner, the religious leaders are the tenants, the prophets are the servants, and Jesus is the son.
2. The Parable of the Ten Gold Coins is another one, where a noble person went off to become a king. He gave ten gold coins to his ten servants to trade with until he returned (Lk 19:12-27). In this parable, Jesus is the one who travels to the Father in heaven to get his sovereignty and return to assess and govern the world. The servants are the Christians who have to conduct his mission until he returns.
3. Jesus, when discussing the importance of being prepared for his return, used the example of a man going away on a journey. He delegated his servants to take charge of the house and a security guard to protect the gate (Mk 13:34-37). Jesus is the traveller who journeyed to heaven, leaving his Church in the hands of his disciples until his return.
In the parables above, except the parable of the Tenants in which God is the owner of the vineyard, the traveller will return at an unexpected moment and ask for the results of the people to whom he entrusted his assets. Those who take responsibility and achieve remarkable results will gain a reward, and the rest will face harsh punishment.
summoned his servants
The servants in this parable represent the disciples of Jesus through the ages until his return from heaven. They can be ministers of the Church or the Christians who have responsibility in the family, Church, and community. Everyone must give witness to the gospel of Jesus in any given situation. They need to labour and bring forth an excellent outcome with the grace of the Holy Spirit. They must answer to Christ when he returns.
to entrust his property to them
Wealthy people in ancient times would entrust their resources to trustworthy people for farming or business. The assets and its profits would be the property of the owner. He may be from a distant country or a far-off land. When he returns, the faithful servants would get a share of the profits. That was a motivation for the servant to work diligently for the master. The property that Jesus entrusted to his disciples is the Church that he established. That is the valuable asset he gained with his sacrificial life on earth.
(15) He gave five talents of gold to one, two to another, and one to a third, each one according to his ability; and he went away.
During Jesus’ time, money used for trading was metals such as gold, silver, and copper. The gold coins Jesus mentioned represented the authority, position, responsibility, and grace that each of his disciple in the Church got from him to proceed with his mission in the world. The Christians perform his work on earth in his absence from the world.
The talents were not allocated equally, but it was fair, since he had distributed them on the basis of each one’s capability. If he had distributed the same amount to everyone, regardless of ability, the result would not have been positive. Different people in society have various skills that benefit everyone.
Like the servants who gained coins of various worth, Jesus’ followers have varied positions in their mission. He gave special powers to Simon Peter. Along with him, James and John formed his inner circle. He selected twelve apostles and made them pillars of the Church. He had seventy-two disciples besides other followers, including Zacchaeus, Nicodemus, and Joseph of Arimathea. In Galilee, women too were among Jesus’ followers (Lk 8:1-3). Early Christians had different ministers, such as bishops, presbyters, deacons, and lay ministers, who directed the Christian communities. Paul wrote on such roles in the Church: “He gave some as apostles, others as prophets, others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers, to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ” (Eph 4:11-12).
Christians have different duties in the Church, community, and family as representatives of Jesus. Our talents comprise our available time, opportunities, aptitudes, health, and riches. We should use them to honour God and help others and store up heavenly treasure. Everyone must be diligent in their role. When Jesus returns, we all will be accountable to him and receive either reward or punishment.
Like Jesus, the master in the parable showed good qualities in his dealings with his servants –
1. He relied upon his servants and gave them control of his wealth. Jesus relied on his apostles and other disciples to manage his Church.
2. The master was benevolent in the way he recognized all servants when distributing his wealth. Those who have faith in Jesus received salvation. They receive his grace and hold responsibilities in the family, Church, and community as his representatives.
3. The master carefully considered who could handle more responsibility and gave it to them, while not giving too much to those who could not. Jesus has asked those who can give more to contribute a greater sacrifice, and those who can give less to contribute a lesser one.
(16) The one who received five talents went at once to do business with the money and gained another five.
The one who received five talents went at once
The one who got five talents knew he had to use his time responsibly in dealing with the money. Though it was a privilege for him to receive more money than the others, he was aware he should work hard and make the most profit from it. He did not waste time bragging about what he had received, but began his job straight away. Immediately following the Holy Spirit’s arrival on Pentecost, the apostles worked tirelessly to build up the Church. They risked their lives and suffered for the success of their ministry. Life is limited in its duration, and we cannot be certain of how long it will last. We should use every hour of our life wisely, as we are answerable to Jesus.
to do business with the money
The owner supplied the capital for business investment. It was an opportune time for a profitable enterprise. Jesus granted his apostles the capacity for working miracles in Jesus’ name as proof that they were speaking on behalf of the Messiah. Even during his public ministry, Jesus “gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness” (Mt 10:1). Jesus provides each of us with the blessing to continue his mission in our lives. When we make use of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, we will achieve a remarkable outcome. Just as the one who received five talents used them wisely in business, we Christians ought to risk our lives for Christ and the Church.
and gained another five
The person who traded with five talents had his capital multiplied. The ancient Church made rapid progress even amid persecution, because of the strenuous work of the apostles and other Christian leaders. The Church kept expanding over the centuries with the arduous work of devoted Christians.
(17) The one who received two did the same and gained another two.
The one with two talents did the same as the one who got five talents. He did not feel envious of the servant who had five, nor did he show signs of hurt towards the master for giving him a lesser amount. He started off the kind of business possible right away. He performed his job responsibly, meeting his employer’s expectations. Unlike the person who got only one talent, this individual had a cheerful perspective when trading with the lesser amount he had received.
Jesus does not look at hierarchical positions or abilities when making judgement. He commended the destitute widow who contributed two small coins in the Temple treasury but disregarded the wealthy, who put in a considerable sum (Mk 12:41-44). In the same way, God expects us to make use of what He has given us. “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more” (Lk 12:48).
(18) But the one with one talent dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
In Jesus’ time, since there was no banking system, people would often bury their valuable items, like coins and jewelry, underground. War was a time when they did this with great frequency. Archeologists have found ceramic pots and jars under the floors of houses or fields hidden by people of old, which contained valuable items. The sealing of the ceramic pots made them tough and impermeable to protect the contents from vermin. The one who buried the jar was the only one who knew the secret spot and would dig it up when needed. Based on such practice, Jesus said, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field” (Mt 13:44).
The servant who had only one talent made sure it was safe until the master came back by burying it underground. He was too lazy to engage in any business and avoided the risk of trading—a stark example of those who contribute nothing to God’s kingdom. They could think of what they got as the least and themselves as unimportant compared to other people. Paul shares his experience: “For I am the least of the apostles, not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the Church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me has not been ineffective. Indeed, I have toiled harder than all of them; not I, however, but the grace of God [that is] with me” (1 Cor 15:910). Paul said, God expects from us “according to what one has, not according to what one does not have” (2 Cor 8:12). Hence, Paul appealed to the Corinthians “not to receive the grace of God in vain” (2 Cor 6:1). God does not consider our abilities, but the effort we put into serving Him. Those with fewer resources often accomplish more for God than those who have prosperity.
(19) After a long time, the master of those servants returned and asked them for their accounts.
After a long time
The owner’s return could be like that of the bridegroom in the parable of the ten virgins, coming back as he did at an unexpected time. The postponement enabled the first two workers to increase their profit. For the third, prolonged time was a waste because of his inactivity.
The extended period in Jesus’ return symbolizes the period between his ascension and his second coming. The early Christian community expected Jesus’ quick return for judgement. As they waited for it to happen, they experienced an endless wait. But that should not stop them from doing their mission. The death of an individual marks the end of the opportunity to serve the Lord on earth. Then the person will face his particular judgement. So, there is essentially no room for procrastination in life. The extended period should not make us sluggish, but should enable us to become more productive. A person’s life can be brief or extended. We must take full advantage of every moment and opportunity to serve the Lord faithfully.
the master of those servants returned
In the same manner that the owner reacquired his talents and their earnings, Jesus will also come back to reclaim his Church that he entrusted to his followers. He will evaluate the results of their ministry.
and asked them for their accounts
When the owner returned, he asked the servants what they had gained financially after he had entrusted them with his money for business. The profits gained by the servants belonged to the owner because of his ownership of the capital. He honoured them with a reward for their labour. At the return of Jesus, “each of us shall give an account of himself to God” (Rom 14:12). “For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, so that each one may receive recompense, according to what he did in the body, whether good or evil” (2 Cor 5:10).
(20) The one who received five talents came with another five talents, saying, ‘Sir, you entrusted me with five talents, but see I have gained five more with them.’
The servants who received five and two talents understood their master’s expectations. They devotedly employed their talents and resources to conduct business and multiplied the amount they received. As Paul reached the end of his life, he was confident in the successful accomplishment of his ministry. “For I am already being poured out like a libation, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith” (2 Tim 4:6-7). If we make use of the chances and graces that God has given us, we should be able to emulate Paul’s reflection in service to God’s kingdom.
When we work for the Lord, the outcome may not be immediate, or it might seem unsuccessful compared to worldly standards. However, God acknowledges our willingness and actions. Isaiah wrote, “Though I thought I had toiled in vain, for nothing and for naught spent my strength, yet my right is with the LORD, my recompense is with my God” (Isa 49:4). Paul instructs, “My beloved brothers, be firm, steadfast, always fully devoted to the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labour is not in vain” (1 Cor 15:58).
(21) The master answered: ‘Well done, good and faithful servant, since you have been faithful in little things, I will entrust much more to you. Come and share the joy of your master.’
The master answered: Well done, good and faithful servant
The owner praised the servant for his excellent performance during his absence, with words like “well done,” “good,” and “faithful”. Our aim should be to receive commendation from Jesus when we pass away. Hebrews guarantees a recompense for the virtuous actions we take during life. “For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love you have demonstrated for his name by having served and continuing to serve the holy ones” (Heb 6:10).
since you have been faithful in little things
While the master was away, he entrusted his servants with the talents for productivity to assess their abilities. The Bible suggests God tested people such as Adam, Noah, Abraham, and Job through good and bad times. Following God’s guidance in both good times and bad is of utmost importance in the faith. Mattathias, as part of his farewell advice before death, told his sons, “Was not Abraham found faithful in trial, and it was credited to him as righteousness? Joseph, when in distress, kept the commandment, and he became master of Egypt” (1 Macc 2:52-53). The conclusion of Mattathias’ speech was “none who hope in Heaven shall fail in strength” (1 Macc 2:61).
The trustworthy servants remained steadfast in their faithfulness to their master during his extended absence. The owner was delighted not only with the profit but also with their steadfastness and efficiency. Christians must remain faithful to Jesus and uphold the responsibility they have received.
since you have been faithful in little things
The master initially evaluated the three servants with a low level of responsibility. This assessment helped him to find out if they were suitable for further assignments. The duties given to us in this life, and our commitment to completing them, are nothing compared to the joy and glory we will receive in heaven for our accomplishments.
I will entrust much more to you
Based on the parable of the dishonest steward, Jesus said, “The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones” (Lk 16:10). Similarly, the employer offered increased responsibilities to those who had multiplied their talents. This shows that heavenly life is not one that is idle, but which contains duties that are honourable. Before the fall of Adam, God entrusted him with the responsibility in the Garden of Eden, “to cultivate and care for it” (Gen 2:15). It was a joyful task for him. It became burdensome only after his sin (Gen 3:17-19).
Jesus promised his disciples, “For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory, and then he will repay everyone according to his conduct” (Mt 16:21). With this faith, Paul wrote at the end of his life, “I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith. From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me, which the Lord, the just judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me, but to all who have longed for his appearance” (2 Tim 4:7-8). When we fulfil our duties in life responsibly, the Lord will say to us at the Last Judgement, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Mt 25:34).
Come and share the joy of your master
The employer was delighted at the employees’ excellence in their work. Pleased with the results of their output, he invited them to join in his joy. As opposed to happiness, which is temporary, external, and mundane, joy is perpetual, internal, selfless, and heavenly. According to the Church’s tradition, joy is one of the twelve fruits of the Holy Spirit (CCC-1832).
Even while going through distress, Jesus and his followers experienced joy. While advising his disciples on keeping his commandments and remaining in his love, Jesus said, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete” (Jn 15:11). Despite harsh persecution, Paul rejoiced in the Lord and spread the gospel (Phil 1:18). Besides providing contentment in the trials of this world, Jesus grants absolute joy in eternity. He compared the joy in heaven to a banquet. Jesus foretold, “I say to you, many will come from the east and the west, and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the banquet in the Kingdom of Heaven” (Mt 8:11).
(22) Then the one who had two talents came and said: ‘Sir, you entrusted two talents to me; I have two more which I gained with them.’ (23) The master said: ‘Well done, good and faithful servant, since you have been faithful in little things, I will entrust you with much more. Come and share the joy of your master.’
The second servant reminded the master of his two talents and informed him that he had gotten an equal amount. He did not voice any discontent with the meagre amount he had received. He instead showed his loyalty to the master by doing the utmost possible with him. The owner expected nothing more from him. The master expressed the same joy and statement that he had conveyed to the first servant.
God does not expect us all to render the same level of service, but a proportional effort in accordance with the capabilities and opportunities He has provided. In the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, the only thing the poor man possessed was his faith in God. God sent the angels to transport him to Abraham’s bosom. The affluent person did not deploy his wealth to assist the destitute. Because of this, he lost his chance of attaining salvation in the afterlife.
Paul proclaimed that God provides various gifts to the believer to construct the unified body of Christ. “For as in one body we have many parts, and all the parts do not have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ and individually parts of one another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us exercise them: if prophecy, in proportion to the faith; if ministry, in ministering; if one is a teacher, in teaching” (Rom 12:4-7).
Irrespective of abilities or disabilities, God views all people as the same. He bestows higher positions, duties, capabilities, and chances upon those from whom He desires a greater performance than from the rest. Godly glory is not based on the greatness of us humans, but on one’s loyalty to God. God values all people regardless of who they are. Jesus functioned as a faithful shepherd, searching for those who were lost and rejoicing upon their return. His concern is how we cooperate with his mission. We should be content with whatever God grants us and make use of it precisely for the Lord and His people.
(24) Finally, the one who had received one talent came and said: ‘Sir, I know that you are an exacting man. You reap what you have not sown and gather where you have not scattered seed.
Finally, the one who had received one talent came and said
The third servant also presented himself to the master with the expectation of acclamation for taking care of the talent he had preserved.
‘Sir, I know that you are an exacting man. You reap what you have not sown and gather where you have not scattered seed
In order to defend his actions, the servant with only one talent spoke badly of the master. He expressed to the employer the rigidity of his character and his exacting nature. That would mean his master would take advantage of the weak and oppress them.
By stating “You reap what you have not sown and gather where you have not scattered seed,” he made a false accusation against his master as an unjust and cruel person. He expressed his disgust towards the employer by comparing him to a bandit who reaps without farming and collects seeds without winnowing. Since the owner was rich, we cannot take the usage in a literal sense. It could be a hyperbolic expression of the time to criticize the unjust. Thus, instead of being loyal to his master, he alleged that the master was a hard-to-deal-with taskmaster who oppressed his servants. That serious accusation was to justify his laziness which had actually prevented him from trading with the talent he got. In a similar parable, that of the ten gold coins, the reply of the lazy person to the nobleman was, “Sir, here is your gold coin; I kept it stored away in a handkerchief, for I was afraid of you, because you are a demanding person; you take up what you did not lay down and you harvest what you did not plant” (Lk 19:2021). This way, he excused his slothfulness and falsely accused an honourable person.
People may voice their dissent with God or show hatred to Him because of their unfortunate situations, like poor health, the death of a family member, or financial recession. Others oppose Church leaders, blaming them for anything they regard as inappropriate. Believing in God as being a harsh dictator or holding a cynical attitude towards the Church would lead to self-destruction. Instead of attempting to improve themselves, certain people blame God or the Church for their spiritual negligence.
(25) ‘I was afraid, so I hid your money in the ground. Here, take what is yours.’
I was afraid
Fear can be reverential, like the fear of God. It is the respect for God, worshipping Him with awe, submitting to his discipline, and obeying his commandments (Deut 6:2). The first two servants acted with deep respect, and the results they achieved were excellent. They won the love of and reward from the master. The third servant had a deep-seated dislike of the master and expected retribution for any errors. He conveyed it through his talent management and response to the master. God expects a reverential fear from us. The fear of hell shall not be the motive for avoiding evil. We must show our love and appreciation for God by following his decrees and the teachings of Jesus and his representatives.
I was afraid, so I hid your money in the ground
As the third servant was apprehensive of the master and had a poor opinion of him, he concealed the coin in order to protect it from theft. He did not misuse the money or steal it. His aim was to guard against the danger of forfeiting the money and return the talent to the owner with no thought of gain. That was not in line with the master’s wishes. Being a Christian carries with it the potential risk of losing health, wealth, opportunities, or even one’s life in this world. This is clear in the lives of the apostles and other missionaries. God determines our worth not by our worldly accomplishments but by spiritual criteria.
Here, take what is yours
This expression also showed a deficiency of respect for the employer. The servant reimbursed the master with the same amount of money he had received. He did not expect the owner to ask for more. The third servant’s attitude is like those who disrespect God and religion. They are not satisfied with what they receive in life. Out of their arrogance, they ignore the decree of God and remain spiritually barren. To such people the Lord will say at the Last Judgement, “I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me” (Mt 25:42-43).
(26) But his master replied: ‘Wicked and lazy servant, so you knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed.
‘Wicked and lazy servant’
This was in sharp contrast to the commendation the first two servants gained when they revealed the profit they made. The master accused the third servant of being both lazy and wicked. His malice was clear from his justification for hiding the talent and blaming the employer as an immoral person. The master assessed him, based on this.
The Jews of Jesus’ time were devoted to their beliefs, yet lacked spiritual progress. Hence, Jesus told his disciples and the public, “The Scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses. Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practise. They tie up heavy burdens [hard to carry] and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they will not lift a finger to move them. All their works are performed to be seen” (Mt 23:25). Christians today are at the risk of becoming overly ritualistic while being unproductive. Whilst using the similes concerning salt and light, Jesus said, “your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father” (Mt 5:16).
so you knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed
The master trapped the third servant, making use of his very words of justification and untrue accusation against the master. He blamed the servant’s imprudence and inactivity. If the servant’s claim was valid, it follows that he should have invested the money with caution, like the two other servants. Diminished productivity in spiritual activities and blaming religion for it is a common scenario in today’s world. At the Last Judgement, God will challenge these erroneous ideas and penalize us for lack of spirituality.
(27) Then you should have deposited my money in the bank, and you would have given it back to me with interest on my return.
you should have deposited my money in the bank
The practice of moneylending that existed in the Roman Empire during Jesus’ lifetime was a system introduced by the Phoenicians, and which was very unlike the modern banking system. The moneylenders provided depositors with a low interest rate and redistributed the money by giving out loans at a high rate of interest or investing the money in trading. If the third servant was concerned about the dangerous transaction, he could opt to loan the money to gain interest. Even though this transaction was not as lucrative as trading, he could get a minimum return with less risk and effort.
you would have given it back to me with interest on my return
According to Jewish law, it was illegal to receive interest from their own people. However, they could charge it from non-Jews. “You shall not demand interest from your kindred on a loan of money or of food or of anything else which is loaned. From a foreigner you may demand interest” (Deut 23:20-21). So, the owner might have intended to deposit the money with the pagan moneylenders.
Even with the minimal blessings we have received, we should take advantage of what we have and produce results. Paul advises, “Watch carefully then how you live, not as foolish persons but as wise, making the most of the opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not continue in ignorance, but try to understand what is the will of the Lord” (Eph 5:15-17).
Neglecting one’s duties is a grave mistake. The level of productivity is not an issue, but the zeal for work is imperative.
God will only expect what is possible from individuals. Paul said, “If the eagerness is there, it is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have” (2 Cor 8:12).
(28) Now, take the talent from him, and give it to the one who has ten.
The employer in the parable now turns out to be a judge. Even though the third servant kept the money secure and returned it in its entirety, the master did not grant him any recompense for his safekeeping. Unused capital, time, and opportunity caused a decline in profits. He found the servant to be unsuitable for money management and deprived him of the talent. Even though God has provided us with wealth, abilities, and opportunities in this world, if we do not use them for the kingdom of God as directed by Jesus’ teachings, we will lose it all upon our death or with the Last Judgement.
The owner left the unused talent untouched. He ordered his staff to take it from the incompetent servant and give it to the most talented servant. The master penalized the third servant and provided a reward to the first one.
(29) For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away from him.
This could be a proverbial saying that comes from actual life experience. Hardworking people will remain financially successful while the idle will diminish their wealth. The industrious may reap rewards because of the negligence of the lazy. The pursuit of knowledge leads to more insight, while the uneducated lag behind. Jesus interpreted this spiritually.
After disciplining the unfaithful servant, the master expressed a general principle that Jesus applied to the kingdom of God. Despite Jesus revealing himself through his actions and teachings, the noble Jews refused to accept him. He used parables to teach, which were difficult for the public to comprehend. Jesus, however, clarified his teaching to his disciples in private. As a result, the disciples had a more profound knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God than the Scribes and the Pharisees.
The apostles asked Jesus why he was teaching in parables. Jesus replied, “Because knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted. To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away. This is why I speak to them in parables, because ‘they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand’” (Mt 13:11-13). Jesus used the same statement on other occasions also (Mk 4:25; Lk 8:18; 19:26).
(30) As for that useless servant, throw him out into the dark where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
To express his message, Jesus moves from the earthly reality to a spiritual realm. He declared that those who are not faithful will suffer a harsh punishment when he returns or when their lives in this world end. useless servant
The third servant had violated none of God’s important laws. But he was careless in his duties and thus his behaviour showed that he was of no benefit. He was just as spiritually unproductive as the Scribes and the Pharisees of Jesus’ time. Jesus will evaluate and punish us not just for our wrongdoings but also for the neglect of our Christian responsibility.
The servant who was not loyal had no more chance to show the contrary. Upon our death, we can no longer perform any good or evil. Afterwards, Jesus will judge us on the basis of our behaviour during our lifetime. This is the perfect moment for us to show our worth to the Lord.
throw him out into the dark
Jesus painted a picture of heaven as a glorious celebration taking place at night with flaming torches in the banquet hall. It will be dark outside. Therefore, casting out into the darkness is expulsion from the divine feast. The absence of light is a representation of the lack of Jesus’ spiritual guidance. It is a stage of emptiness, a dearth of delight, and cessation of expectation. Throwing into the dark expresses the eternal punishment in hell (Mt 8:11-12). where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth
The Bible uses the phrase “wailing and grinding of teeth” as a sign of eternal damnation (Mt 8:12). Wicked people will gnash their teeth at the righteous to show their hatred and fury the same way they did at Stephen’s trial (Acts 7:54). Psalm 37:12 states: “The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth at them.” Jesus uses this as a part of the Last Judgement. “That is how it will be at the end of time; the angels will go out to separate the wicked from the just and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Mt 13:49-50). Matthew uses this also in 8:12; 13:42; 22:13; 24:51; and 25:30. Luke uses it at 13:28. Gnashing of teeth with loud wailing is a demonstration of extreme and prolonged suffering because of the absence of life in paradise. It will be their way of showing their dissent with others, such as the Gentiles and the sinners, whom God allowed to share in the same eternal reward as the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
1. Ownership of the talents: In this parable, the servants do not own the talents. The owner entrusted them with the task of making use of it on his behalf for profit. All that we have is from God, whether it is our family, riches, or abilities. We did not come into this world with them and cannot take them with us when we go. Essentially, we are responsible to God for our productivity.
2. Uneven distribution of talents: The master respected the abilities of his servants and divided his wealth unequally. We should not take pride in or feel disheartened by the amount we receive from God. Those who got more will be liable for a higher standard by God, while those who got less will be shown more leniency.
3. Reward for our labour: The master acknowledged and rewarded the servants who used their talents to the fullest. Jesus, our Lord, promised prominent positions to those who labour for his kingdom.
4. Unproductivity is punishable: The servant who buried the talent underground for safekeeping did not commit any other wrong. His disinterest in working hard was his downfall. He squandered the time, gifts, and chance for commerce or saving in the bank. As a result, the master imposed a harsh punishment on him. Are we failing in our spiritual productivity?
5. Negativity of the idle servant: The unproductive servant defended himself by criticizing his master. This further angered his Lord, and he sentenced him to an everlasting punishment. Are we, like this servant, presumptuous and critical of God, His Church, and the surrounding people?
6. Limitation of our lifespan: Do we use our time ineffectively, not doing anything for God and his people? We cannot be sure of the time we have left in this life. Let us make up for the time lost with the time left ahead of us.