Parable Of The Talents


The Parable of the Talents (sometimes just the Parable of Talents) is a parable of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew (Matthew 25:14-30). It was told to illustrate an aspect of the nature of the Kingdom of Heaven. Christians have taken it to mean that diligence in carrying out one's responsibilities is essential for more important tasks in the future.

A similar parable, called The Parable of the Minas or The Parable of the Pounds is found in the Gospel of Luke 19:12-27, the main difference being that the master entrusted his servants with equal amounts, and that a mina was of much less value than a talent.

Jesus described the Kingdom of Heaven using the perspective of Jewish society at that time. He begins with the Parable of The Ten Virgins to illustrate, and continues with the Parable of Talents. Talents were used as a unit of currency. It is impossible to be exact about their value, and different kinds of talent were in use. However, even the lowest value for a talent puts it as worth several thousand denarii, and a denarius was the usual payment for a day's labour. So a talent was the value of many years of work by an ordinary person.

Parable Text from the Gospel of Matthew - (Bible - King James Version)

14. For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.

15. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.

16.Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.

17.And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.

18.But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money.

19.After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.

20.And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.

21.His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

22.He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.

23.His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

24.Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:

25. And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.

26. His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:

27.Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.

28. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.

29.For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.

30. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

in Urantia Book pages 1916 - 1918

"Each generation of believers should carry on their work, in view of the possible return of the Son of Man, exactly as each individual believer carries forward his lifework in view of inevitable and ever-impending natural death. When you have by faith once established yourself as a son of God, nothing else matters as regards the surety of survival. But make no mistake! this survival faith is a living faith, and it increasingly manifests the fruits of that divine spirit which first inspired it in the human heart. That you have once accepted sonship in the heavenly kingdom will not save you in the face of the knowing and persistent rejection of those truths which have to do with the progressive spiritual fruit-bearing of the sons of God in the flesh. You who have been with me in the Father's business on earth can even now desert the kingdom if you find that you love not the way of the Father's service for mankind.

"As individuals, and as a generation of believers, hear me while I speak a parable: There was a certain great man who, before starting out on a long journey to another country, called all his trusted servants before him and delivered into their hands all his goods. To one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one. And so on down through the entire group of honored stewards, to each he intrusted his goods according to their several abilities; and then he set out on his journey. When their lord had departed, his servants set themselves at work to gain profits from the wealth intrusted to them. Immediately he who had received five talents began to trade with them and very soon had made a profit of another five talents. In like manner he who had received two talents soon had gained two more. And so did all of these servants make gains for their master except he who received but one talent. He went away by himself and dug a hole in the earth where he hid his lord's money. Presently the lord of those servants unexpectedly returned and called upon his stewards for a reckoning. And when they had all been called before their master, he who had received the five talents came forward with the money which had been intrusted to him and brought five additional talents, saying, `Lord, you gave me five talents to invest, and I am glad to present five other talents as my gain.' And then his lord said to him: `Well done, good and faithful servant, you have been faithful over a few things; I will now set you as steward over many; enter forthwith into the joy of your lord.' And then he who had received the two talents came forward, saying: `Lord, you delivered into my hands two talents; behold, I have gained these other two talents.' And his lord then said to him: `Well done, good and faithful steward; you also have been faithful over a few things, and I will now set you over many; enter you into the joy of your lord.' And then there came to the accounting he who had received the one talent. This servant came forward, saying, `Lord, I knew you and realized that you were a shrewd man in that you expected gains where you had not personally labored; therefore was I afraid to risk aught of that which was intrusted to me. I safely hid your talent in the earth; here it is; you now have what belongs to you.' But his lord answered: `You are an indolent and slothful steward. By your own words you confess that you knew I would require of you an accounting with reasonable profit, such as your diligent fellow servants have this day rendered. Knowing this, you ought, therefore, to have at least put my money into the hands of the bankers that on my return I might have received my own with interest.' And then to the chief steward this lord said: `Take away this one talent from this unprofitable servant and give it to him who has the ten talents.'

"To every one who has, more shall be given, and he shall have abundance; but from him who has not, even that which he has shall be taken away. You cannot stand still in the affairs of the eternal kingdom. My Father requires all his children to grow in grace and in a knowledge of the truth. You who know these truths must yield the increase of the fruits of the spirit and manifest a growing devotion to the unselfish service of your fellow servants. And remember that, inasmuch as you minister to one of the least of my brethren, you have done this service to me.

"And so should you go about the work of the Father's business, now and henceforth, even forevermore. Carry on until I come. In faithfulness do that which is intrusted to you, and thereby shall you be ready for the reckoning call of death. And having thus lived for the glory of the Father and the satisfaction of the Son, you shall enter with joy and exceedingly great pleasure into the eternal service of the everlasting kingdom."

Truth is living; the Spirit of Truth is ever leading the children of light into new realms of spiritual reality and divine service. You are not given truth to crystallize into settled, safe, and honored forms. Your revelation of truth must be so enhanced by passing through your personal experience that new beauty and actual spiritual gains will be disclosed to all who behold your spiritual fruits and in consequence thereof are led to glorify the Father who is in heaven. Only those faithful servants who thus grow in the knowledge of the truth, and who thereby develop the capacity for divine appreciation of spiritual realities, can ever hope to "enter fully into the joy of their Lord." What a sorry sight for successive generations of the professed followers of Jesus to say, regarding their stewardship of divine truth: "Here, Master, is the truth you committed to us a hundred or a thousand years ago. We have lost nothing; we have faithfully preserved all you gave us; we have allowed no changes to be made in that which you taught us; here is the truth you gave us." But such a plea concerning spiritual indolence will not justify the barren steward of truth in the presence of the Master. In accordance with the truth committed to your hands will the Master of truth require a reckoning.

In the next world you will be asked to give an account of the endowments and stewardships of this world. Whether inherent talents are few or many, a just and merciful reckoning must be faced. If endowments are used only in selfish pursuits and no thought is bestowed upon the higher duty of obtaining increased yield of the fruits of the spirit, as they are manifested in the ever-expanding service of men and the worship of God, such selfish stewards must accept the consequences of their deliberate choosing.

And how much like all selfish mortals was this unfaithful servant with the one talent in that he blamed his slothfulness directly upon his lord. How prone is man, when he is confronted with the failures of his own making, to put the blame upon others, oftentimes upon those who least deserve it!

Said Jesus that night as they went to their rest: "Freely have you received; therefore freely should you give of the truth of heaven, and in the giving will this truth multiply and show forth the increasing light of saving grace, even as you minister it."

Chapter 14 in The Science of Getting and Being Rich

4. The desire for increase is inherent in all nature; it is the fundamental impulse of the universe. All human activities are based on the desire for increase. People are seeking more food, more clothes, better shelter, more luxury, more beauty, more knowledge, more pleasure - increase in something, more life. Every living thing is under this necessity for continuous advancement; where increase of life ceases, dissolution and death set in at once.

5. Humankind instinctively knows this desire for increase, and therefore is forever seeking more. This law of perpetual increase is set forth by Jesus in the parable of the talents: Only those who gain more retain any; from him who has not shall be taken away even that which he has.

6. The normal desire for increased wealth is not an evil or a reprehensible thing. It is simply the desire for more abundant life. It is aspiration. And because it is the deepest instinct of their natures, all men and women are attracted to those who can give them more of the means of life.

Session 26 - paragraphs 10 - 21 in The Science Of Getting Rich For Practical Genius

9. First, Mr. Wattles defines the Law of Increase as simply the natural, fundamental impulse of the universe. Simply put, everything alive is either growing or dying. All human activities, he notes, are based on the natural desire for increase. "That which makes you want more money is the same thing that makes the flower grow," he says. We want more food, more clothes, better shelter, more luxury, more beauty, more knowledge, more pleasure, more love - increase in something, he says. More LIFE.

10. We can see that it's true that where increase of life ceases, dissolution and death set in at once. It's our nature to seek more. It's good. Mr. Wattles shows us that a condition of no growth results in loss, sometimes loss of all, of everything. To illustrate this, he refers to "the parable of the talents," but seems to have expected his 1910 audience to know that story and so he doesn't retell it. A parable is a teaching story, an illustration or word picture that helps to make a point. Because they allow us to grasp principles in a practical way, all great teachers have used them, and this story of the talents was told by Jesus of Nazareth to illustrate the necessity of increase. I'll recap it for you here to fill in the blanks in Mr. Wattles' explanation.

11. In this story, a rich man is preparing to leave on a long journey. He calls in three of his servants and divides some of his wealth - in a form of money called talents - among them, giving to each according to his ability. One man gets five talents, one gets two, and the third servant receives just one.

12. After the master leaves, the servant with five talents goes out and does some business and doubles his money to ten. The one with two does the same thing and ends up with four talents. But the man who received only one talent is afraid of losing what he's been given and instead of putting that money to work in the world, he buries it in the ground for safekeeping.

13. At last the master returns and calls for an accounting. The first man delivers the ten talents and the master responds with the famous phrase, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant." He says, "You have been faithful in a few small things. Now I will make you master over many." And so that servant receives a great reward.

14. The very same thing happens with the second servant, too.

15. But the third, fearful man gets quite a different result from his thinking and actions. He says to the master, "You're a tough boss and a hard man, and so I was afraid. But look - you still have what is yours," and he produces the lone talent.

16. The master becomes very angry and tells him, "You knew that I'm a hard taskmaster and you knew what I expected of you, and yet you gave in to your fear and did nothing." So he says to another servant, "Take his one talent and give it to the one who has ten. And cast this unprofitable servant into outer darkness."

17. One lesson we can immediately glean from this story is obvious: Don't go burying your talent!

18. And the other is that fear leads to no growth which leads to loss of all. Without increase, there truly is nothing. And the opposite is also true! When we are in harmony with the Law of Increase, not even the sky's the limit!

19. Mr. Wattles reminds us again, "The normal desire for increased wealth is not an evil or a reprehensible thing. It is simply the desire for more abundant life. It is aspiration."

20. My friend, when we are thinking and acting in the certain way, we can relax into the knowledge that we are getting increase for ourselves, and more than that, we are giving it off to all with whom we deal. "You are a creative center from which increase is given off to all," Wally says.

21. "Be sure of this," he adds. "And convey assurance of it to every man, woman, and child with whom you come into contact."

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