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The Parable of 
the Talents

Matt 25:14-30 "For it is like a man, going into another country, who called his own servants, and entrusted his goods to them. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one; to each according to his own ability. Then he went on his journey. Immediately he who received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents.  In like manner he also who got the two gained another two. But he who received the one went away and dug in the earth, and hid his lord’s money. "Now after a long time the lord of those servants came, and reconciled accounts with them. He who received the five talents came and brought another five talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents. Behold, I have gained another five talents besides them.’ "His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a few things, I will set you over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ "He also who got the two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents. Behold, I have gained another two talents besides them.’ "His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a few things, I will set you over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’  "He also who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you that you are a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter.  I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the earth. Behold, you have what is yours.’  "But his lord answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant. You knew that I reap where I didn’t sow, and gather where I didn’t scatter. You ought therefore to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received back my own with interest. Take away therefore the talent from him, and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will be given, and he will have abundance, but from him who has not, even that which he has will be taken away. Throw out the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’" (web)

Discussion Questions

What kinds of things has God entrusted to us?
And what does He expect us to increase?
Why do people have different abilities in a certain area?
How do you increase your ability?
What does this imply about the man who was given but one?
Why did he hide the one in the ground?
And what was wrong with his attitude?
(In what way does the master reap where he hasn't sown?)
Does the lazy servant represent a genuine believer?


A talent of gold is not a trivial amount. In today's market it's worth about $300,000. The master wisely diversed his investments in proportion to the proven ability of his investors. He naturally gave less to the one proven to be less capable. However their capability was no doubt also a function of their diligence and faithfulness to act responsibly.

In the Christian life, ability is developed through application. Even granted that one is given spiritual gifts, the effectiveness of such often grows as one applies them responsibly. The lazy non-application oriented Christians thus tend to not have much ability. Rather they tend to go to church and pay the pastor to do their job for them. They even use their lack of ability as an excuse for not serving.

The lazy servant called his boss "Master", but then insulted him claiming he stole what he didn't produce. In other words, the servant felt that if he invested the talent, he should get the increase and not the Master. But since he figured he wasn't going to get anything out of it, he didn't work to invest it, not even a little. The bankers may be likened to investing your resources in other people's ministry. Often institutional churches give the impression that this is the only option of ministry for the lay-Christian.

I suppose also that there are many Christians with the attitude, "I'll serve Christ, but only if I get something out of it." And many will not do Christian ministry unless they get paid for it. And they treat the resources God has provided them as their own. Many call Jesus Lord, but how many treat him as if He is Lord?

In the end, those who submitted to their master, acting responsibly with the resources he provided, were greatly rewarded, while the lazy one was condemned. Don't be deceived. One cannot be saved by receiving Christ as Savior only, but must also accept him as Lord. And not just in word, but in deed. For our deeds reveal our true convictions.

The resource was also taken from the lazy servant and given to the one who proved most able and responsible. And that's the way it should be - God giving more responsibility to those who prove more responsible.


A man went away but left his servants some money
"Talents" they're called, though that may seem funny
The master gave to each as he thought best
Not for themselves but for them to invest
To those who have proven to have ability
He gave more money and responsibility
To one he gave five, to another two
And another just one (what did he give you?)
He went on his journey and then he returned
And met with his servants to see what he earned
The one he gave five had made five more
"Good work faithful servant," he said as he swore
To put him in charge of many things
And see what rewards his happiness brings
The man who had two also gain two
"Good! I'll give the same to you"
But the man who was given only but one
When asked what he earned, his profit was none.
But then he began to make an excuse
"You take what you did not produce
So I was afraid and hid in the ground
That talent you gave." He said so profound
The master replied, "You're wicked and lazy.
I'm not stealing from you, are you crazy
You don't want to work? Then put it in a bank.
You could have earned interest, if I may be so frank
Take the talent from this man and give it to the other
The man who has ten talents and not to his brother
For everyone who has, more will be given
As for this man, he will not be forgiven
Throw him outside where it's dark as night
Let him weep and gnash teeth and have no sight.

The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources