Summary: Life is about choices. Parable of the Talents is explored considering such issues as the fairness of each receiving a different amount, the importance of freewill, and personal accountability.
What’s Life All About?
Jesus had an awesome ability to speak volumes in a simple story. He revealed the heart of God by telling the story of the Prodigal Son. He showed us how to treat each other with the story of the Good Samaritan. And in our story today He tells us what life is all about. What will you do with your life? How will you invest your time? How will you manage your money? What career choices will you make? Every decision we make should be made in the light of what Jesus teaches us in the Parable of the Talents. This is life’s meaning in a nutshell! This is what life is all about.
The story is about a man who goes on a long journey. Before he leaves he entrusts his property to his servants. Two of those servants are faithful to the master’s desires. One is not. When the master returns he requires each servant to give account of what he has done with the property entrusted to him. The two faithful servants are rewarded. The unfaithful servant is cast out.
Let’s consider three fundamental facts of life that we can draw from this story.
1st. Our Master has entrusted to each one of us certain resources and opportunities.
When we hear the word talent we do not think of the same thing as the disciples did when Jesus was telling this story. For us a talent has come to mean ability or natural gifting. But in this story a talent is about 100 pounds of metal, probably gold or silver. The current gold price is $ 940/ounce. So, 1600 ounces is about $ 1½ million. One commentator valued it as 20 years of wages. It was a lot of money.
The point is: each of these servants was entrusted with something very valuable. Even the one talent man was given a lot of money to handle.
What do the talents represent in your life? They represent everything God has given you—everything you are and everything you have. What do you have that you didn’t receive from God? Nothing, even your next breath is a gift from God. Paul asked the Christians in Corinth this question. (1 Cor. 4:7) “For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?”
Here is something we must remember as we journey through life. Every ability I have, every dollar I have, every opportunity that comes my way, my next heart beat come to me from God. I am not my own. I am bought with a price, the precious blood of Jesus. Everything really belongs to God. He has simply entrusted me with it during this brief event we call life.
The moment I think that the money I have belongs to me (to do with as I please) is the moment I am thinking wrong about life. The moment I think I have success because of my hard work or smarts is the moment I am already thinking wrong. Do you have good health? Do you have a good job? Do you have money? It is all on lend to you for a brief season. Deut 8:18 "And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth....”
Why are we not more thankful? Because we forget where it all came from. A subtle misunderstanding comes in and it gets us off track. If we’re not careful we can start thinking that God is lucky we give Him ten percent. There are serious dangers in that kind of thinking. We will not just give account for the ten percent. You and I will give account for every penny of it. It’s not mine to use as I please. It’s to be used, as God wants it used.
In 1 Cor. 12 Paul talks about the diversity of spiritual gifts in the people of God. Some are granted more prophetic insight than others. Some are given faith. Some are given words of wisdom. God grants to some people more leadership abilities than others. Paul talks about that; but then he reminds them of a very important principle. Did God give one person more ability than others just so that person could use it to his own selfish ends? No! 1 Cor 12:7 “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.”
What I have and what you have is not ours to just use as we please. We are to use it, as God wants it used.
Has it ever bothered you that the master in this parable did not give his servants the same amount? It doesn’t seem fair. God gives one person a photo static memory and another has to work very hard to just learn basic grammar. One person struggles with relational skills. For another it just seems to come naturally. One person is born into a home with godly parents who nurture and train the child. Another is born into an abusive situation.