Gospel of Matthew 25:14-30
“For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his
property to them; to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to
each according to his ability. Then he went away. The one who had received the
five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents. In
the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. But the one
who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his
master’s money. After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled
accounts with them. Then the one who had received the five talents came forward,
bringing five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me five talents;
see, I have made five more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and
trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in
charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ And the one with the two
talents also came forward, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me two talents; see,
I have made two more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and
trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in
charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ Then the one who had
received the one talent also came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew that you were a
harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter
seed; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have
what is yours.’ But his master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did
you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter? Then you
ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have
received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to
the one with the ten talents. For to all those who have, more will be given, and they
will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have
will be taken away. As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness,
where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
For us to better understand Matthew’s Gospel, we must remember that each
of the four Gospels tells the story of Jesus through the perspective and
interpretation of each writer.
Matthew identifies Jesus as Immanuel, ‘God is with us’. The God of
Abraham manifests the Divine Self in Jesus for the world to see. It’s up to each
individual to pay attention to this manifestation of God.
If we see and respond with redirection toward God and exhibit attitudes and
behaviors that value justice and compassion, we will be rewarded. If we see and
choose not to respond to God in such a manner, we are judged and excluded from
God’s Kingdom. This is Matthew’s position.
Miss Manners teaches that some topics of conversation are taboo. But not
Jesus. Though talk of politics, religion and money have been, and probably will
always be, controversial and counter to social etiquette, Jesus brazenly addresses
such topics throughout the Gospels.
Today, we hear the Parable of the Talents; a parable about money and more.
For us to begin to understand the parable, we must first address the
definition of talent. To be true to the parable, talents do not refer to skills and
abilities. Talents refer to money – a means of economic exchange, in fact,
economic exchange at an enormous magnitude.
“A talent is formed in the shape of a huge ingot; that is, a heavy weight with
a handle on top for ease of transport. A talent weighs 75 pounds; over 34
kilograms. A strong man can lug one in each hand. It weighs 6,000 denarii and
represents the salary of 6,000 days’ work; (that is,) sixteen and a half years.”
http://www.dubiousdisciple.com/2011/10/matthew-2525- how-much- is-a- talent.html
Putting it in today’s terms, at a rate compared to a yearly salary of $50,000,
one talent would be worth $825,000.
So, taking this comparative rate, we can see that in the parable a multi-
millionaire entrusted one servant with 5 talents, or $4,125,000. Another servant
was entrusted with 2 talents, or $1,650,000. The final servant was entrusted with
one talent, or $825,000. And, accompanying the talents, was an unspoken
The harsh millionaire expected his money to earn a profit. Two servants
fulfilled this unspoken expectation, earning for the already multi-millionaire an
But the servant who knew the ruthlessness of the Master returned only the
one original talent. The servant’s imprudence enraged the Master – so much so
that the Master deemed the servant ‘worthless’. He threw out the servant from his
empire, leaving the former-servant in the darkness of uncertainty and regret.
Matthew doesn’t mix words. In his telling of this parable, there is a warning
to those whose lives have been redirected to God and those choosing not to
respond. Matthew’s message: As we await Jesus’ return, don’t forget to invest the
resources God has entrusted to you. For you will either receive a reward for your
faithfulness or judgement and exclusion for your lack of follow-through.
While God is incredibly more loving and less black-or- white thinking in
other Gospel writer’s interpretations, maybe Matthew’s warning is beneficial for us
As followers of Jesus, we acknowledge that all we have is a gift from God.
It is our responsibility to use those gifts, not only for our benefit, but for the benefit
of others. We are to share some of what has been entrusted to us.
Yet, I don’t share my resources out of fear of God’s judgement. Rather, I
share because I know that God blesses our gifts given back to God.
I know that peoples’ lives are impacted tremendously when you and I give
back a portion of the gracious gifts we have received.
Maybe the parable of the talents as told in the Gospel of Matthew needs to
be heard. Maybe it is a stark reminder to us that our investment of God’s resources
But, we don’t have to let fear dictate our behavior. Instead, we can invite
God’s generous love to permeate us. As it does, we will be motivated in being
faithful, investing what has been entrusted to us for the sake of God’s Kingdom.
When a person is motivated by love, compassion and gratitude, fear loses its
Scott Macaulay of Melrose, Massachusetts tells his personal story
entitled, “There’s Always Room at His Table”:
“In September of 1985, when I was 24, my folks decided to get
divorced. I was taught that to be a good son, I needed to be supportive and
loving to each parent and to my siblings. But nobody was talking to
If you were nice to one parent, the other one would get mad at you.
So when October came, I thought, ‘What’s going to happen at
Thanksgiving?’ And I just did not like the thought of being home alone—or
anywhere alone—on Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving is not about gifts or fireworks or hoopla. It’s a meal
around a table where you give thanks for the blessings you have, and you
really can’t do that by yourself and have much fun.
I decided to put an ad in the local paper: If people thought they would
find themselves alone, they could give me a call, and I would make a
Thanksgiving dinner. That first year, a few people came, and they had a
good time. I was nervous about making a mess out of the food and
disappointing people. But the food was OK, and I didn’t burn anything.
I’ve held the dinner every year since. Last Thanksgiving, 84 people
showed up. Sometimes they’re new to town; sometimes they’re recently
divorced or widowed. I’ve had people who were new to the country and
didn’t speak any English, but they enjoyed my Thanksgiving dinner. I’ve
had poor people, people who come from AA, old people. Also, not counted
within that number: I always feed the police. The firefighters and EMTs are
in buildings with kitchens and can have their own Thanksgiving dinner
among themselves, but the police officers are in their cars, driving around
town on call.
Two years ago, a woman with Parkinson’s disease came, and she was
not good on her feet. She had been in a nursing home for seven years and
had never been out. Somebody told her about the dinner, and she hired an
ambulance to bring her, at $200 plus mileage. She had a great time, and she
cried when the ambulance returned to get her. She didn’t want to go home.)
Most of the people who come don’t know who I am. They know that
there’s some skinny guy in the kitchen, but they don’t know my name. I
think the theme of my life, and everything I do, could be summed up with
the name of an old hymn called “Brighten the Corner Where You Are.” I
hope my legacy will be that I came into the world, I brightened the corner,
and then I quietly left the world unnoticed.”
https://www.rd.com/true-stories/inspiring/stories- of-gratitude- powerful-love/2/
Your investment and my investment of God’s resources matters. God’s
generous love bids our attention and faithfulness. We are truly blessed. Let’s be
bold in being blessings to others.