Possibly you have actually heard that your talents are a blessing from God, and that He desires you to commit them to His service. Perhaps you can sing or teach. You might be proficient at beach ball. Maybe you take pleasure in arranging chairs or organizing baby showers. However in Jesus’ parable in Matthew 25:14 -30, all these things are beside the point. Context matters and here we provide the exegetical evidence for the Parable Of The Talents.
For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. –
Maybe, to comprehend this Parable Of The Talents, we initially really need to come to grips with what “it” is. What is it, precisely, that will be like a man going on a journey?
In studying this parable, we need to see that it’s only one little part of a long lecture delivered by Jesus on a single event. This lecture, beginning in Matthew 24:4 and continuing to Matt 25:46, is His answer to His disciples’ inquiries in Matt 24:3. When will the temple be destroyed? What is the sign of your coming? What is the sign of the end of the age?
So, now that we’ve discovered this parable is simply one point in a longer speech, what assistance can we obtain from the remainder of the speech about what “it” is?
The immediately preceding paragraph shows another parable, likewise about 2 groups of subordinates, one faithful and the other unfaithful – much like the parable of the talents. And this preceding parable starts like this:
Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. (Matt 25:1).
So we have actually the identical set up, other than there is no “it.” The topic, the thing which “will be like” the story that follows, is: the kingdom of heaven. So far, so good. However what does He mean by “the kingdom of heaven,” and how it will be like a man going on a journey?
Going back even more, the next paragraph talks about a faithful and wise servant who receives a reward (Matt 24:45 -47) in contrast to a wicked servant relegated to a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matt 24:48 -51). This is really closely linked to what takes place in the Parable Of The Talents. And Matt 24:45 -51 make uses of more simple language than what we discover in the parable of the talents. The distinction amongst the faithful servant and the foolish servant depends on how they each treat their Master’s household. For the one who treats the Master’s people and other servants well, there is a reward of higher responsibility over “all his possessions.” For the one who beats his fellow servants and abandons his duties, there is an assurance of removal, destruction, and torment.
Backing up even further, the next earlier paragraph highlights the reality that the Son of Man will return at an hour His own followers do not anticipate. Because of this unpredictability, they need to constantly be ready for Him (Matt 24:44).
So we can draw a couple of conclusions:.
1) The “it” in Matt 25:14 is the kingdom of heaven.
2) The Parable Of The Talents continues the theme of the Master’s return at an unexpected time.
3) The Master’s judgment of his servants is based upon how his servants treat his people.
So when Jesus tells a story about a man going on a journey, calling his servants, and delegating to them his property, we need to recognize that his property, the “talents” he entrusts them, is the people of His kingdom. In Jesus’ day, a “talent (33kg)” was a huge amount of cash(equivalent to $1,400,116.57 today). The NIV translators had great reason to translate the Greek term “talents” as “bags of gold” (Matt 25:15, NIV). These people are valuable to the Master.
These “talents” are a metaphor of the people of God. The members of God’s household. Our fellow servants and co-heirs in the kingdom.
And here is the confirmation. Think about where Jesus goes next, in the conclusion to His speech. What is the only observable distinction between the sheep and the goats, between those who discover immortality and those sent out to everlasting death?
Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me. (Matt 25:40).
Jesus’ most valuable possession is His people. Make certain He returns to discover you treating them well and multiplying their efforts.
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations … (Matt 28:19).