The parable of the talents is perhaps one of the most beloved and misunderstood passages of scripture in the Bible. The NIV version of the parable is as follows:
14. For the kingdom of heaven is as a man traveling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.
15. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
16. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.
17. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.
18. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.
19. After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
20. And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.
21. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
22. He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.
23. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
24. Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art a hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:
25. And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.
26. His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:
27. Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.
28. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.
29. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.
30. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
There are many things to say about this passage of scripture, but a parable is a story that isn’t about real people, but has real meaning. Jesus used parables to teach because they were easier to understand because it was told in story form.
The first point is that the talents were given to each person according to their ability. That’s right, according to their ability. Not according to their age, color, years on the job, position, education or any other reason except their ability. God is the one who really knows what your abilities are and what you are capable of accomplishing. Our goal should be to ask God for a vision of what we are meant to be and then be ok with that vision. Not everyone can be President of the United States and some of us are just called to be salesmen. It is important to be ok with who you are and not try to be someone you were never supposed to be.
In verse 19 when he said “after a long time,” this actually meant a lifetime and the metaphor was of a person using the talents they were given over their life. The story tells of two people that used their talents well and yet there was one person that hid his talent in the dirt because he was afraid if he used it, he would lose it. The same person that hid his talent was also quick to blame the master for his fault instead of taking the blame for himself. Each of us only gets a certain number of years to accomplish what we were meant to do.
In verse 30 when he cast the servant into darkness where there would be weeping and gnashing of teeth, many have interpreted this to mean he cast him into hell. Not true at all. God doesn’t cast us in hell for not using our talents. Heaven and hell are only about one thing and that one thing is what did you do about Jesus. This verse means weeping and the gritting of teeth like when you made a mistake and you gritted your teeth and got mad and maybe even cried over a mistake. It means that if you don’t use your talent you will have a life of mistakes, crying, and gritting your teeth over bad decisions. My suggestion is to not let this happen to you, and don’t let fear lead your life
Again, there are many points to this passage of scripture, but the main point for me is that God will find someone else to do your role if you don’t. He gives you skills and talents that others do not have, but if you decide to not use your talent, he will simply find someone else. It may not be scriptural, but I believe God will not give you a new revelation or a new vision for your life until you act on the one he has already given you. I believe he says “what did you do with what I already gave you”
As many of you know, I stutter and I sometimes think God had a sense of humor making me a salesman. Ha. I can tell you that there have been thousands of times when I wanted to quit because of stuttering, but there were also thousands of times when I refused to let fear be my guide. I don’t know what is holding you back from becoming what you were meant to be, but I suggest to you it is time to face it head on. KT