Summary: Jesus again repeats Himself in Matthew 25, and He tells us another parable to get us ready for the end times. He tells a different story with the same point. Will we get it this time?
You know something is important when someone repeats it a second time. You can also know if something is important when they say the same thing again, but in a different way, so that if you didn’t get it the first time, you might get it the second time. It can be a technique that we can be quite familiar with. It is a classic move that we might do on a spouse because it might be the only way for them to pick up on a hint. “Could you take the garbage out when you leave? I hate it when the kitchen garbage can is full.” It might be a trick one does as a parent because maybe it is on that second time saying it that you might get through to your kids. “Did you wash the dishes? How did that go? Are the dishes done?” We might also do it to friends. We can know people so well that we know that they might need that extra repetition for them to get it. We repeat stuff because the content can be that important.
Today, Jesus is doing the exact same thing as we are continuing to go through Matthew 25. He is still talking about the end times. He is still making the same point about being ready for His return. Will we get it? Will the second time help? Jesus teaches us again about the end times and urges faithfulness in our labors as we wait for Him. To do so, He again uses a parable to engage not just our minds, but also our hearts as well.
Jesus tells us a parable in which He is represented as a man who is going away on a journey. Before he leaves, he calls his servants and entrusts them with his property. The master gives his servants various talents. A talent is a form of currency equal to about 20 years of wages. The average salary in the United States is about $30,000 per year. So each talent equals $600,000 in today’s currency. This master has great faith in his servants. To one servant, he gives five talents, which equals three million dollars. To another, he gives two talents, which equals 1.2 million dollars. To the third, he gives 600,000 dollars. These are no small amounts! The master is entrusting them with a great amount of money and trust!
As we will see, the servants represent believers. The talents represent the gifts that God has given us. They are things like faith, mercy, and forgiveness. They are also physical and earthly gifts too, like intelligence, singing, teaching, serving, leading, listening, loving. They can also be opportunities, too. He gives us these “talents” to work in and to expand His Kingdom. Let’s see how this parable progresses.
The master gives each servant talents according to his ability. He entrusted them with what they could handle. He didn’t give them too much that they couldn’t handle it. He didn’t give them less than what they needed so that they couldn’t succeed. He gave each person the right amount according to what they could do. He then goes away, and they don’t know when He will return. This is just like Jesus. We don’t know when He will return.
As the master is gone, the servants get to it. The one who had received five talents, 3 million dollars, immediately started working, and through trading, he took the five talents and made another five! He made another three million dollars! The man with two talents, 1.2 million dollars, went out and made another two talents! Like the other man, he too, made 100% profit.
But what does the third one do? He took the $600,000, the one talent, and made…..nothing. He covers it with dirt! He takes the large sum of money and buries it in the ground.
Now, after a long time, the master of the servant returns, and he wants to see how his servants fared without him. The man with five talents steps forward, and he brings the other five talents with him. He says, “Master, you delivered to me five talents; ide, which also means look, look! I have made five talents more.” The servant is excited to show his master what he had done and joyfully gives it to Him. He remained faithful to his master. To that, the master says, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” The servant is praised for his work, and is entrusted with more. He is called into his presence. The man with two talents then steps forward, and brings with him his extra two talents, his extra 1.2 million dollars. The master tells him the exact same thing.