The Parable of the Talents

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The master commended him, “Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner” (THE MESSAGE Matthew 25:21,23).

THE MESSAGE: Matthew 25:14-30
In Your Bible: Matthew 25:14-30

In this parable, the believer should find powerful encouragement to use the talents/gifts God has given him. It also warns us that the believer must develop and use the gifts God chose for him. Biblical scholars** offer added insight about who the third servant could be.


As the parable goes, the master called three servants and delegated responsibilities according to their abilities and his expectations. In today’s currency he gave one $5,000; to another he gave $2,000; and to another he gave $1,000. Then the master departed.

When the master returned after a long absence, he asked all three servants to give account of what they had done with the money he gave them. The first two told him they doubled the money. As the master heard this, he commended their resourcefulness. He said, “Good work, you did your job well. From now on be my partner” (THE MESSAGE Matthew 25:21,23).

Then the third servant, who was given $1,000, was called to give his account. He couched his response with this shocking view of his master and explained why he did what he did with the money. “Master, I know you have high standards and hate careless ways, that you demand the best and make no allowances for error. I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound down to the last cent” (THE MESSAGE Matthew 25:24,25).


This displeased the master! Both the servant’s assessment of him and his management approach of what was freely given to him. The master’s comment was markedly different and sharply critical. “That’s a terrible way to live! It’s criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least” (The Message Matthew 25:26,27).

The master declared a harsh punishment for this servant. ” Take the $1,000 and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this ‘play it safe’ who won’t go out on a limb” (THE MESSAGE Matthew 25:28).

Most biblical scholars say that Jesus implies the third servant represents the Scribes and the Pharisees and their fearful attitude toward the Law and the truth of God. They desired to keep everything, especially the Law, exactly as it was given. Their method showed their unhealthy fear of God and produced nothing. They returned their talent back to the Master exactly as it was given to them.

Application: Our goal should be to receive God’s specific gifts/talents and effectively produce much for the Master. We desire to hear “Good work, you did your job well………From now on be my partner.” Being part of the family of God is the best – and what God wants. What has he given you? How are you developing and using it?

Prayer: Father, thank you that you give amazing gifts/talents to believers and you expect us to use them for your purpose. Help me recognize and use all the gifts you have given me. May they bring glory to you.

**Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume, Matthew Henry, Regency Reference Library, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1960, pp. 1334-1336.
The Daily Study Bible, The Gospel of Matthew Vol 2, Revised Edition, William Barclay, Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1975, pp. 321-324.

Parables Found in One Gospel
Baren Fig Tree – Luke 13
The Draw Net – Matthew 13
Friend at Midnight – Luke 11
Good Samaritan – Luke 10
The Goodly Pearl – Matthew 13
The Great Supper – Luke 14
The Hidden Treasure – Mathew 13
The Householder – Mark 13
Laborers in the Vinyard – Matthew 20
Marriage of the Kings Son – Matthew 22
Pharisee and Publican – Luke 18
Piece of Money – Luke 15
The Pounds – Luke 19
The Prodigal Son – Luke 15
The Rich Fool – Luke 12
Rich Man and Lazarus – Luke 16
Seed Growing in Secret – Mark 4
Sheep and Goats – Matthew 23
The Tares – Matthew 13
The Ten Talents – Matthew 25
The Ten Virgins – Matthew 25
The Two Debtors – Luke 7
The Two Sons – Matthew 21
The Unjust Judge – Luke 18
The Unjust Steward – Luke 16
The Unmerciful Servant – Matthew 18
Unprofitable Servants – Luke 17
The Wedding Feast – Luke 12
The Wise Steward – Luke 12

Parables Found Only in Two Gospels
House on the Rock – Matthew 7 and Luke 6
The Leaven – Matthew 13 and Luke 13
The Lost Sheep – Mathew 18 and Luke 15

Found in Three Gospels
New Cloth – Matthew 9 Mark 2 and Luke 5
New Wine in Old Bottles – Matthew 13 Mark 2 and Luke 5
The Fig Tree – Matthew 24 Mark 13 and Luke 21
The Mustard Seed – Matthew 13 Mark 4 and Luke 13
The Sower – Matthew 13 Mark 4 and Luke 8
Wicked Husbandman – Matthew 21 Mark 12 and Luke 20

Reference: The New Chain-Reference Bible, Fourth Edition, B.B. Kirkbride Bible Co., Inc., Indianapolis, Indiana 1964, Comprehensive Bible Helps, p. 103

3 thoughts on “The Parable of the Talents

  1. Pingback: Sarah’s Gift | Bible Aid

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