This Parable of the Talents is one of the most famous parables of Jesus. This parable occurs in two of the Canonical gospels of the New Testament.
In both Luke and Mathew, the parable begins by the account of a man, who is about to go for a journey abroad and summons his servants to whom he entrusts his property. He gives five talents to one servant, two talents to a second one and one talent to a third, each according to his ability.
The man, who got five talents, soon went and traded them and earned five more. The man who got two talents did the same and earned more. But the servant who got one talent went away and hid the talent in a hole he dug in the ground.
Now, after some time, the master returned and took stock of the talents he had given to the servants. To the first servant who had made ten talents out of the five, the master offered his praise and promised him a greater share in his wealth. Similarly, the servant who made four talents out of the two he had was praised by the master who said, “you have shown to be trustworthy with small things, I will trust you with greater.”
At last came the third servant. He returned the master the one talent, saying he was afraid of losing it and had hidden it. The master rebuked him, saying that at least he should have kept the talent in the bank, and he would have earned some interest. He took away the one talent of the third servant and gave it to the first one who had earned ten talents.
Now the master says that everyone who has more will be given more, but anyone who has less will be deprived of all he has.
Traditionally, this parable has been regarded as a call for the followers of Jesus to use their God given gifts for the service of God and to take risks for the kingdom of God. These gifts include personal abilities or talents as well as personal wealth. Judgment will come on those who fail to use their gifts.
The basic story is the same in gospels of Mathew and Luke, but differences suggest that the gospels are not extracted from the same source.
Meaning of the Parable:
- The man or nobleman (Luke 19:12) is Christ.
- The journey of the master is Christ’s ascension to heaven and his return on Judgment Day.
- The master’s gifts to his servants are the gifts that Christ gives to his followers, anticipating them to make a spiritual profit for the sake of Christ in his kingdom. Christ expects his followers to “do business with this until I come back” (Luke 19:13).
When the master evaluates the business conducted by the servants, it means that each of Christ’s believers will have to give an account for what they did with the gifts that Jesus has given them.