Chapter 25:14-30 (ESV) - “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master's money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’”
Question to consider: What are some other attributes of the kingdom described by Jesus in parables?
The pronoun “it” here refers to the “kingdom of heaven.” In previous parables of the kingdom, Jesus dealt with things like: how people became citizens, how enemies hidden in the kingdom would eventually be separated by the angels, the king being willing to give up everything for those who belonged to the kingdom, what forgiveness would look like among citizens of the kingdom, and now the nature of the period of time in which the king would be away.
King Jesus inaugurated the kingdom at the Last Supper, ratified it by being crucified and rising from the dead, and empowered it by taking His place at the right hand of God and sending the Holy Spirit. The age of the temple became obsolete when it was made desolate at Christ’s crucifixion, and it was thrown down in 70 AD after the people were given a generation to repent. For the last two thousand years, we have been like the servants in this parable who have been given a measure of faith and expected to remain faithful. These spiritual gifts are described by Peter in his first epistle, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace.” (1 Peter 4:10)
When Christ returns like the man on the journey, He will judge the world in righteousness. It is worth noting that each is given a measure of faith, but as James the half-brother of Jesus wrote in his epistle, “faith without deeds” is not a saving faith. We are not saved by our works, but we do good works because the master created us to do them. It is our desire to be faithful servants.
The final servant would be comparable to the weeds sown among the wheat or the one at the wedding feast without the required wedding clothes. Rather than desiring to bring joy to the master, he accused him of being a hard man who reaped what he didn’t sow and gathered where he did not scatter seed. There are those who profess to be Christian, but they see God only in terms of Law with no mercy. They don’t act in faith in the church, serving or showing love to the ones Christ died to save. Jesus proclaimed that people would know we are His disciples by the love that we have for other believers.
If you have no love for the church, no desire to spend time with God, and no desire to serve Him, this parable should be a stark warning about the coming judgment against the faithless.
Dear heavenly father, please give us a faith that desires to share in Your joy and be Your faithful servants. Please give us a love for Your church and a desire to know You better so that we can look forward to the day Christ returns. Amen.