The Parable of the Talents

The parable of the talents and what it means to us today #bible This famous parable that Jesus used has a lot to teach us about our money if we let it.  Below is the parable and a few of my thoughts about it…

Matthew 25:14-30

For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them. “To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey.

“Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents. “In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more. “But he who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

“Now after a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. “The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you entrusted five talents to me. See, I have gained five more talents.’ “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’

“Also the one who had received the two talents came up and said, ‘Master, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more talents.’ “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’

“And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed. ‘And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’ “But his master answered and said to him, ‘You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed. ‘Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest. ‘Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’

“For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. “Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Stewards are required to take risks

It is interesting to me how upset the master got with the steward who took no risks. The other two stewards did take risks and reaped the rewards. I often wonder why the parable didn’t contain a steward who lost some of the investment. But either way, I think we are led to believe that the primary frustration of the master was that the steward was lazy and didn’t even try.

He was called a, “wicked and lazy slave.” My take on this is that he was more frustrated with his laziness than his lack of production. The steward didn’t even put the talents in the bank to gain interest. The passage states that the master gave to each of them according to their ability. So, I think we can assume that the steward with one talent did have some ability, or else he wouldn’t have given him any.

If he did indeed have some ability to manage money, even with the smallest amount of ability he would have known that earning small interest at the bank is better than burying it!

I liken this to having a Vet watch your dog for the weekend and not feed it. Most everyone knows that you should feed a dog at least daily, but especially a vet. It is their profession – the thing they are skilled at doing and are entrusted to do.

So, the extreme amount of laziness this steward had to not at least put the talent in the bank, coupled with the fact that he let fear paralyze him from doing what he was expected to do infuriated the master.

The parable is speaking of money, but this can also be applied to the gifts and skills that God has entrusted us with. If I refuse to step out in a gift or skill that God has given me because I am afraid or lazy, I may be behaving the same way as the steward with one talent.

Luke 12:48

“…From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.”

Don’t compare yourself to others

The master in the parable didn’t give each steward the same amount. They all started with different amounts, not much different than this game of life that we are all in. Some people start with a lot, some with a little. But we are all judged based on what we did with what we had, rather than what we ended up with.

The great thing about this is that our success is not based on what people may think about us. God knows what He gave us to work with and He will see what we do with it. So, it doesn’t matter whether other people think you are a success or a failure – God’s definition of success is often quite different than man’s.

The master gave them each “according to their ability.” He knew a bit about their faithfulness and how likely they were to increase their talents. Turns out he delegated wisely.

Our money is not our own

We enter into the world with nothing and we leave with nothing.

One of the first lessons that I learned a few years ago that really changed the way I thought about money was that none of it is mine. It is all God’s. I have the privilege and opportunity to be a steward of what He has given me.

Once I began looking at my money this way, it changed my whole financial outlook and helped me to be more focused on pleasing God with the money entrusted to me.

Even if we spent our lives and ignored our responsibility as stewards, we still can’t take any of it with us. We might as well try to better the lives of those around us and store up treasure in heaven rather than down here.

What did you learn from the parable of the talents?

















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37 Comments
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  1. It is indeed true that we ‘cannot take it with us’ in reference to money when we die. I try to remind my parents of his and encourage them to spend the money that they have worked so hard for. They worry a bit about what they leave to me and my sister but I feel that inheritance is a bonus not something anyone should expect – I would much rather earn my own money and have them spend theirs.

  2. Cindy

    I’m glad you explained that passage the way you did. I always had a hard time with being mad at the man who was safe with the money. The other two could have invested it and lost it. I thought the one who buried it was being smart by not risking losing what was given to him. But when you focus on the point being he was lazy and unmotivated, not that he didn’t try to invest, it makes more sense to me. Thank you!

  3. @Cindy
    you know, I have never really (and still don’t) fully understand the passage. As I grow in my knowledge of the Bible, I get new revelation from passages like these each time I go back to them – I guess that is why it is called the “living word”

  4. Great look at this passage, a good reminder that we’re called to be good stewards!

  5. I’ve always considered this parable to be about money and really dislike when people always compare it with talents like gifts and abilities. Everyone makes some money in their lifetime and we’re all accountable to God for how we use it. The point is you should not neglect your stewardship responsibility just because you don’t think you have very much.

  6. @zgreenwell
    you really don’t think our stewardship responsibilities go beyond cash? It seems to me that would be a little short-sighted – there are so many other things in life that we are responsible for…

  7. I love this passage. It seems to be the one God has wanted me to understand better, it keeps coming up. Here are a few ideas. 1. God owns everything, therefore we need to ask for wisdom to spend His money. 2. The passage mentions about making “trading” decisions based on our understanding, to double the amount of what the Lord has entrusted us with. So we need to educate ourselves. 3. It also says “immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them,and gained five more. It suggests a priority, he didn’t pay off debt. He didn’t donate it to the poor. He didn’t spend it, he traded it for a long time to double it. So the question is when should I start saving? Answer: today don’t wait to pay off debt. 4. Here’s a suggestion Wrap up your debt into your house at the lowest rate. (Mortgages are the cheapest way to borrow money)and for the longest time frame possible Then save the difference in payment each month in something that will grow at a higher rate than your new mortgage. WARNING!!!! If you don’t save the money each month, and you spend it you will financially bankrupt your family!!! I look at today financial markets and ask how do I trade God’s money wisely. It says the bank is not the ideal option we should choose. I looked at one option mutual funds, good ones. Invest for the long term, it’s funny that in the Bible the number 7 seems to be an important number. And if an investment averages 10% per year your money should double in about 7 years (rule of 72). 5. What about the concept of “Leveraging” this is borrowing money to invest. There are many types of leveraging the ones I’m referring to are loans or equity out of your home. This is a very controversial topic in christian circles and in the traditional financial industry. If you take out a loan, you have to pay it back. No matter what happens to your investment. Just like if you sell your car with a loan against you must come up with the money even if you sold it for less than the money owed. So maybe look at pulling out the equity of your house and investing it wisely for the long term. WARNING!!! do not use emotion or your gut feeling. Pray, and educate yourself this concept is for the long term 15 to 20 years at least, and make a sound decision for your family this is not for everyone. Remember each servant was given a different amount according to their talents. The question I have is it is acceptable to borrow money for a home (mortgage) where as the U.S. has shown us homes can go down in value over a short period of time, why isn’t it acceptable to borrow money to invest in strong time tested companies that may in the short term be down? As a home is for the long term, God has said so is saving. To double your money you must hold onto it for a long time. Again these are some thoughts, all I know is that 95% of people in Canada and the U.S. are broke, living paycheck to paycheck. We work at jobs, where the more we earn the more tax they take. Everything continues to go up in cost, homes, gas, food, education, bills. We are not saving any money for an emergency or for our retirement. We borrow money for things that breakdown or cost more money in the end than their worth. There has got to be a better way. God, I’m sure doesn’t want to see us like this, how can we reach out to others when we can’t even take care of ourselves. Yes, God will provide! But if we don’t educate ourselves and gain wisdom in this area. He is doing it all for us and we will survive, but I know he wants us to thrive and share with others. If you have read this Congratulations! I didn’t think it would be this long. Hope it helps. Please respond if you like. MB

    • thank you ! Also for this website which I am so glad I found tonight. I was a business economics graduate yet could never balance my own books or reconcile finance and my faith. 2013 is a new year and I am certain God is leading me in a fresh direction with regards to this. “Transformation through renewal of the mind”…..

  8. @MB
    thanks for sharing your book with us ;) I think you mentioned some good things in what you wrote…

  9. Edward H. Mesina, Jr.

    Thank God i found this site. God bless our ministry. to God be the glory and honor!

  10. Maureen

    I think the biggest eye-opener for me in what you have said is the value of being a risk-taker. I am encouraged. Thanks.

  11. What i got from the parable of the talents is money and gift. I have lost both. I was an RN for 20+ yrs and due to my own evil desires (drug addiction) despite many opps to recover and keep all, I kept on and lost all. Wife/children/career/ everything. Talk about feeling like there is no forgiveness for me, or this parable–gnashing of teeth, and wailing. Is this what I have to look fwd to?? And do u think I have severed my relationship with the lord??

    • NAWAL

      there is always a chance to regain your relation with GOD so long you are still on that earth .COURAGE

  12. Daniella

    Hi Kevin,

    Don’t be in despair. God still loves you and always will. He loved you even when you strayed away. I know in life we all made mistakes, but God is faithful. You’re not the only one who went through this ordeal. But my suggestion would be to study something or find someone who has gone through what you did and ask them how they made it. The word of God says that “we overcome by the word of our testimonies.” Hear their story and let it make you see that God can take a nobody and turn him into a somebody. My life isn’t perfect either, but I can trust God faithfulness even in the smallest things.

    Just ask God to help you where you are and he will guide you. He has NOT given up on you. Acknowledging that you need Him is enough.

    You be blesssd brother and encouraged because God has a plan for your life.

  13. If the servents represent Christians, does this imply that salvation can be lost? Or does being wicked and lazy preclude the lazy servent form ever really being saved to begin with?

    Thanks,
    Mike

  14. Norris Hall

    I think Jesus was talking about how cruel capitalists can be
    ‘You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed. ‘Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest.”
    Clearly the master was someone who made his living…not by the sweat of his own brow….but by profiting unfairly off the work of others. He describes himself as a person who reaps where he does not sow.
    The third servant failed to increase his wealth because he disliked the masters way of making money….off the backs of others , no doubt. And so he refused to participate in the farce and just gave the rendered unto Ceasar what was Ceasars to begin with .
    The evil master punished the servant but we are left feeling that the servant did the right thing..

  15. Um yeah no..norris hall what are you doing on this website

  16. Robert K Moi

    Quite a good touch on life, one needs to be more smart to be recognised. You need to pull out more for rewards and if you remain in one place you may not know what at the other end.It means you need to sacrifise and take risks before enjoying. If you relay on what you have been given, once it gets finished, you get finished too.

  17. I was looking up this parable to read again and found this thread. It is an old thread but great.

    First, I hope Kevin reads this again sometime. I don’t believe you lost your salvation because you made your mistakes. You sinned and Jesus paid the price for all sins past, present and future. You also are repentant, realizing that isn’t the way to live. Don’t be afraid. Jesus loves you so much. He overcame the world. Now, just focus on Him.

    I think the parable is more about the Kingdom than about money or talents and personal giftedness. If you read the whole chapter, it is about the Kingdom. The chapter first describes the bridesmaids, both foolish and wise. Then it goes on to talk about the talents.

    If the talents are the Kingdom, and some go out in faith and sew it. Some have listened to the Word by hiding it away and not doing anything with it, Maybe they are not saved. They could never get beyond thinking that God is a harsh and punishing God.

    There is always wisdom in managing money well, and yes, have some faith and take some chances as opposed to burying the talents! Without faith it is impossible to please God.

    And Norris Hall, I hope you find Jesus’ wisdom someday. I have never considered that this was meant for us to consider that the servant is the righteous one!

  18. Grace and peace to you all.

    My understanding of this subject falls horribly short of what it needs to be to ‘be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you’. The journey that led me here took a while already, but I feel as though I’m missing something. During the past couple of thousand years there probably were scores of people who actually fully comprehended this parable and its eternal implications, but for some reason their work keeps eluding me. So I implore you, if there is anyone, please point me in the right direction (some passage in scripture, some saint from the past or present, anything).

    You see, no matter where I look, EVERY time the complicated parts of this parable come up for debate, the discussion grinds to a halt or becomes fuzzy, or a teacher just stops right when I think he’s getting to the good part. So, up front I want to state that with asking the more difficult questions, I really don’t want to offend anybody, It’s just the way God wired me, even if during my explorations I look into off the wall ideas or I insult your collective intelligence by making things much more difficult than they actually are, making a fool of myself in the process (forgive me, that happens to me sometimes). But when I read this parable and think only about the things the Holy Spirit omits for example, I can’t but wonder, like Bob did: “… why the parable didn’t contain a steward who lost some of the investment”. It indeed does not seem realistic when projected onto the average Christian life. That kind of thought to me is like a splinter in my mind. It just has to be resolved.

    Having said that, let me deploy my problem space. One thing though: As with everybody, I bring some (possibly faulty) presuppositions to the table when exploring solutions. For instance, in the case that this parable is actually about the Kingdom of Heaven, and the ‘man travelling into a far country’ is identified as Jesus, I pre-suppose that this parable is actually about the Bema Seat Judgment (2 Cor. 5:10, 1 Cor. 3:11-15, 1 John 2:28, James 5:9).

    This little post of Mike earlier is actually a great start for getting through to the more difficult aspects. Your salvation as an actual temporal event, as opposed to also being predestined in an eternal sense, (see Romans 8:29+ among others) is compared in scripture to being born again. Since you cannot be un-born as a physical person, this concept at least suggests that you can indeed not be un-born as a believer (i.e. lose your salvation). Your salvation is also described as becoming a new (direct) creation as a brother / sister of Jesus and so a future fellow heir of Christ’s inheritance (Ephesians). Since this ‘new creation’ is wholly God’s doing (lucky for us) through Jesus’ sacrifice, it would be bordering on blasphemy to suggest you can undo that new creation.

    So with respect to this parable, salvation can’t be ‘lost’. And if the third servant wasn’t saved in the first place, there is also a problem: what is he doing at the Bema Seat Judgment? (And if this isn’t the Bema Seat Judgment, why are there believers receiving rewards here?) Furthermore, how does anybody attending this judgment end up in the Skotos To Exoteron, the ‘outer darkness’? All other passages that deal with the Bema Seat Judgment indicate or even explicitly state that rewards (sometimes called ‘crowns’) can be lost, but during this judgment you are never in danger of losing your salvation (1 Cor. 3:11-15 hammers this home)! One explanation is that Skotos To Exoteron is someplace different from Ge’enna and / or Limneh Pur Kaiomenen Theion, the ‘Lake of Fire Burning with Sulphur’. Somebody’s probably written a thesis on that already, so if anybody knows, don’t hold back, I’d like to explore it (good academic exercise).

    Furthermore, the ‘man travelling into a far country’ seems to condone what your KJV calls ‘usury’. In my native language, the term used to translate this Greek word ‘tokO’ has some negative connotations even for many secular people and even before the banking crisis of the last couple of years. It is associated with loan sharks and the like. The concept seems to cover the same semantic entity that God forbids as a practice for the Jews during the mosaic eon (Leviticus). But that really is a semantics thing, and I’m by no means an expert.

    Faced with these issues, I have to admit it becomes increasingly difficult to stick to making this parable about entering into the Kingdom of Heaven, i.e. the Bema Seat Judgment, because at that point in time, nobody is supposed to be thrown out. All ‘servants’ present at that judgment, enter! To me it feels like through this interpretation we bend the meaning of the text toward this explanation. When that happens, I know something is wrong. It might still be about the Kingdom of Heaven in some way, but it plainly contradicts what can happen to an unfaithful servant at the Bema Seat Judgment. So things don’t quite add up, it doesn’t fit 100%. I don’t like that.

    So to Norris Hall I say: way to think out of the box! His idea, in terms of worldview and assumptions (something we all inevitably bring into these types of discussions) seems very Catholic in nature. It is discussed here in greater detail:

    http://www.lwwdc.org/Talents.htm

    To me, a protestant, it seems foreign and a little off the wall. But if there is one thing I’ve learned, is that for God to move past my presuppositions, I need to keep an open mind. This little box of protestantism sometimes puts walls in your mind, borders that you are unable to cross because of the structure of your belief system. I don’t want the Holy Spirit to be limited by that when he’s teaching me something. Saying that doesn’t make me doctrinally promiscuous, don’t get me wrong. But the Bible tells us there is only one Teacher, and I want to be his student.

    The meaning of this parable in terms of our ultimate destiny transcends the possible socio-political implications, since they are but ‘earthly’, and therefore trivial compared to what is eternal. But if there are no eternal implications, I’m chasing a ghost. So what if this parable is not about the Bema Seat Judgment and what if it is also not a socio-political treatise or essay? I’m drawing a blank here. The most insightful interpretation I’ve come across emphasizes that the outer darkness is the proverbial gutter where society’s outcasts end up. And according to the parable that comes right after this one (sheep & goat), that is also where the church should be operating, in the domain of the wretched, the poor, the sick and the destitute. Check out this rather refreshing article:

    http://paulswritings.wordpress.com/2007/08/10/howard-wrong-on-parable-of-the-talents/

    Anyway, if anybody has anything to say about this, I still feel that the punch line eludes me. Let me know if you got something!

    Much philadelphia to all of you!
    – Sander

  19. Jeepers, Sander, y’all are makin’ my head spin. Rather than paralysis by analysis, I would suggest that this parable is about way more than money and is indeed also about using your gifts, talents and abilities as well.

    Rather than seeing the master as a usurer (LOL!) see him as God (as intended by Jesus.)

    God is reliant on us to each make our own selves available to sow on His behalf and to scatter seed on His behalf. The wicked servant doesn’t do anything because he is afraid. Fear is the enemy of faith. He does nothing. He doesn’t even do as little as put the talent in the bank to earn interest. He buries it. (see “this little light of mine” reference above)

    The bottom line that the Word is always ultimately hinging on is our willingness to take action, be in action, moving in faith, seeking, asking, knocking, doing God’s Will and doing His Word. Jesus said “Follow Me!” He was always moving, going, doing, risking, believing.

    Just my 2 cents. :)

  20. scott

    What this means to me…… the man with 2 gifts and 4 ..where being guided by the holy spirit in order to gain more….the one with 1 talent did not try or was not open to gaining more….ie by trying to gain knowlege or wisdom….. he knew the first part to finding god and was a god fearing man….he did not push to or look to move forward…he was stuck. In walking with him life is a journey…so keep pushing forward, asking,seeking,praying,giving, and find god friends, men and women with same faith,,,,sharpen the sword of faith

    • thanks for that Scott – I found this helpful as I have felt “stuck” for the past year since emigrating to Canada. I have never been one to sit still in life and have had a very blessed and interesting story so far. Even the move to Canada was an absolute partnership between God and I. Yet I feel I am now between 2 lives. Finding this website tonight has been a Godsend and your input has given me the impetus to get going again. God Bless.

  21. Jamboo

    It is very odd, indeed, that people tend to relate important teachings in the bible to real people or actual events. I believe in this case, he obviously is using the slaves as a metaphor for his God given abilities. I don’t really believe God is a thing or person, it’s more of something (a force if you will) that is accessible and given to each one of us. It is up to us how we will use ‘God’ or be a fool and cast away ‘God’, which always ends up placing a person in ‘Hell’. I’m not a Christian, or anything for that matter, but neither am I an Atheist, so I’m not sure where this leaves me, but something I will never understand is how people wage religious warfare. If I’m not mistaken, the religions of the world pretty much all preach the same message, I don’t see why one would be concerned with whether it was Jesus or an owl who was the son of God and made an example of what humans were ultimately capable of. If the entire point of religion is to search in order to become the people that God intended, I don’t see much why someone would commit themselves to Christianity, Mormon, Judaism, Buddhism, etc.. Why not practice the important parts of all of these religions, as they all contain unique approaches? I’ve seen preachers give sermons about scripture and they completely miss the teachings that were meant to be understood because they study the same damn thing so much that they end up just making a disillusioned interpretation. Anyone who is devout “insert religion here” please attest so that I can begin to understand this odd behavior. It seems to add no value to human life in my opinion.

  22. Three thing Trust. aithfullness. risk
    In stewardship. A man is required to be found faithful
    There can be no trust without faithfullness
    Risk is another defination of faith

  23. RaoulDuke

    Thank you for this article! God has given us all abilities as we enter this world and it us up to us to put them to good use for his word. Whether it be helping the poor or standing up for your brothers in the name of Christ to prevent war and bloodshed. Only with the power of Christ can we truly forgive & bless our enemies. Only together as a world of brothers ( and sisters!) can we overcome the shackles of money, greed and envy to return ourselves to paradise.
    God has given us such a beautiful paradise. In many ways the gifts he has truly given us as our master is the fruits of the world. We are born into this world to make it better and to toil the land to make it more lovely in his image. To increase it’s bounty for all the children of God.
    So many people today seem to abandon Christ 9-5 M-F and sadly that has led in many cases to the destruction of our garden for the sake of money. This world isn’t ours. We are merely it’s gardeners and when He returns he will want to see what we have done with it’s gifts.

  24. Natasha Richardson

    Great article on this, it helped me out a lot!! God Bless!

  25. We miss out if we think this passage is merely about how to invest more wisely. Forget Ramsey and the others. Whether you have money or not, God holds you responsible with what ou do with your talents and minas…

  26. 1 Peter 4:10 really helped me understand this parable in a new and much deeper way

  27. anonymous

    If I were to think of modern day men to fit into the 3 talents:

    #1 Would be Donald Trump. The Donald learned much from his dad, Fred Trump and went onward from there to be a great man.

    #2 Would be Mitt Romney. Mitt gave away his inheritance from his own father and used his own talents to make his own fortune (and continue to help those less fortunate). Mitt isn’t as rich as The Donald.

    #3 Is Barack Obama. Everything has been given to him yet he has done nothing with his talents except take money away from those who have earned it and given it to those who have not. All in the guise of appearing high and rightious. God will be the best judge of Barack Obama, the leader of the Democratic party who denied God three times (at the convention) and have killed over 5 million unborn children through abortions.

  28. Amen. I am blessed to have received this word. I recently came across a website to a cosmetolgy school I’ve been wanting to attend over the last few years….but i must admit, ive been draggin my feet about enrolling. Now that i have my financial aid award amount, its about time i stop wasting my talent. Be blessed.

  29. Nchise Delphine Nchang

    Tanks for explaining the passage. It is a good reminder that we’re called to be good stewards!

  30. ecinaj eiram

    Thanks for pointing out that we each have abilities and God gives to us according to those abilities. He’s not a God who would over burden us just to watch us fail. He wants us to prosper.

  31. This story is interesting to me because doesn’t it say somewhere in the bible that we should not charge interest when we give a loan? In which case, is it biblical to accept interest in an investment?

    I also feel it’s weird that they didn’t touch on the fact that someone could also lose their investment and end up with nothing as well, but I suppose that’s where faith steps in. But I have a hard time discerning when I should be wise and when I should be faithful… And you just don’t always know how an investment will turn out. I suppose that’s why it’s considered a risk. If you knew how it would turn out, it wouldn’t be a risk would it?

  32. Thanks for the powerful message. I am from Liberia, West Africa and a founder of three churches. I am teaching on giving in my churches. The missionaries did not teach our Christians brothers and sisters the important of giving in God’s Kingdom. The missionaries were feeling for them due to the fact that Africa was consider a dark content.
    Your teaching help me to reinforce the teaching on Investing in God’s Kingdom.

    Thanks,
    Rev. David K. Ballah

  33. Something was revealed to me that I never understood before. In the parable of the talents “To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability…” It struck me that “to each according to his own ability” is about what each did to prepare themselves long before the master tested and entrusted them. Clearly the one that buried his treasure did little to no preparation, study or training in his life. He went along day by day taking the path of least resistance. But the one that received two talents received them because he prepared more than the one-talent recipient. He did something to make himself smarter, better. And the five-talent recipient worked diligently, probably every day on his mind, on his health, on every part of himself. He knew what to do with the five talents and grow wealth exponentially because he was trained, learned and ready. Back to the one-talent recipient, “And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground.” He let fear stop him from preparing for the inevitable test. He had lots of excuses for his lack of performance – “Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed. ‘And I was afraid…” So many people have excuses why they don’t deliver. But this revelation has helped me to see that preparation – what I do each day to become a better person in preparation for both the test “…entrusted his possessions to them…” and the reward “…I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.” But if we didn’t prepare, failing the test results in punishment “…Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.” and a life of shame – “…You wicked, lazy slave…” for not stepping out and for having no faith by preparing although afraid. What we do today is laying the groundwork for who we become and what we receive tomorrow. Those few lines “…each according to his own ability…” show the difference preparation makes. It may seem that it takes a long time to get where we are receiving all God has laid up for us. But I think about how long the slaves must have worked for their master for him to get to know them and their personal abilities. How long before he decided to go away on a journey and have built up enough trust to entrust them with his treasure. I wonder how long they were on their own with the little treasure test – the master went on a journey, not a short trip. It takes time to get where we can be “put in charge of many things and enter into the joy of the master”. All of them had the same opportunity to learn and get prepared. All had the time pass by. All were tested and entrusted according to what they did during their preparation time. And all received according to what skills and mindset they developed in order to handle the treasures the master entrusted to them. God is my Father, so much more loving than a master and slave relationship. He wants to give us so much more. But He is a loving, wise father and so will only give to us “according to our own ability”. Just like we wouldn’t give a 3 year old car keys and let them drive, until we are prepared, mature and smart enough, we will get drippings. To get the full flood of God’s joy, we must prepare ourselves and our mind every day, have faith that our time is coming to receive and make Him proud of us with what He entrusts to us. Just keep preparing and trust that God will put us in charge of many things and we will enter into the joy only He can provide. Keep going. Keep believing. Even when days are hard, nights are frustrating and the journey is painful, keep preparing, keep going. We all will be entrusted with something if we have prepared. If we have studied and prepared, we will know what to do, then also be put in charge of many things and enter into the joy of the master.

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