Use Your Talents!

Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’

His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’

His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’

His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

“‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ – Matthew 25:14-30, NIV

Let’s break it down a bit:

In the original text, ‘bag of gold’ is actually a ‘talent’, a measurement of weight and money equivalent to 3,000 shekels. One shekel is about .4 ounces, or 11.4 grams. Today’s price of gold is $1364.75 per ounce. Calculated out, one ‘talent’ is $1,637,700 USD. That’s a ton of money, especially considering each servant had at least one ‘talent’. Translated into biblical wages, one talent is equivalent of 20 years of a laborer’s wage. Let’s call that $30,000 – then one ‘talent’ is $600,000. So for now, we’ll take a middle ground and call one ‘talent’ $1,000,000.

When the master leaves, the two faithful servants went out immediately. They invested their money, used it wisely, and did what they knew their master wanted them to do with the money. The wicked servant took the money he was given and just buried it. When the master gets back, he’s very pleased with both of the faithful servants as they’ve doubled their investment, but he’s furious with the servant who just hid the money. He tells him to give the money to the servant who started out with the most and handled his money well. Then, the master throws out the lazy servant, as he’s of no use to the master.

This parable (story) is not directly talking to your finances. God does want you to be wise with your money, but this parable is directed at your talents – not the measurement type, but your skills. You see, life is from God. Everything we have, including our body, our possessions, and our skills is straight from God. Going back to the story, we see we’ve been entrusted with these things. They aren’t even technically gifts. If we’re entrusted with them, it’s safe to say (like in the story) we should do something with them, right? Absolutely.

One part I’d like to point out is the varying amounts of money given to each servant. One had 10 ‘talents’, one had 5 ‘talents’, one had 1 ‘talent’. Some of us have more skill in a certain area than others, and some of us might have more varied skills. Also take note that even the servant with the least amount had around $1,000,000. I don’t think Jesus just threw out any scale of numbers for this parable, I think He is showing us that in God’s eyes, we’ve all been given something of great value. Our skills are worth more than most of us think – not necessarily in monetary value, but in value to God’s kingdom. If we go forward to when the two faithful servants report to the master, both received the same praise. This part is important here, and we NEED to get it through our heads: God doesn’t compare us against each other! We’re all His children, and we all have the same worth to Him. Many times, even people in ministry compare themselves with other – they see another youth pastor that has a more effective youth group, or they hear a worship leader with a better voice, or they see the more creative flyers someone else designed for an event, and they feel inferior and often jealous. Out in the world, it gets much worse. I won’t even explain, because it’s very obvious to us all that “keeping up with the Jones’” is a career for most people. God doesn’t compare our success to that of others – He only compares ourselves with what He intended us to be individually. When we are faithful with the skills God has given us, He rejoices with us. He gives us a blessing, we share in His happiness, and He gives us more to use since we’ve been proven faithful. So don’t worry if you aren’t the best at something – even what you feel called to. God just wants you to use what He’s given you.

Another point I need to bring up is that this does not imply salvation by works or deeds. Look at the attitude of the lazy servant who was cast out – he deliberately hid what he knew to invest. He did nothing with it, even though he knew his master expected more. I used to read this parable with a bit of fear, believing that if I failed God somehow that what talent I had would be taken away from me. That is not the case. Only a deliberate attitude of refusing to serve God gets that result – those of us who are saved by grace will want to serve Jesus.

The BOTTOM LINE: Use what God gave you. It’s not yours to hide. Ask Him what He wants you to do with the skills you’ve been entrusted with.

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One response

  1. Pingback: Put Your Knowledge to Use «

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