Over the course of my walk with Christ, I’ve read the Parable of Talents found in Matthew 25:14-30 many times. Every time I’ve read it, it seems as if God has highlighted something new I had never thought of before.
As I was reading through this parable recently, God spoke to my heart and left me with a question that both convicted as well as exhorted me towards being more intentional with stewarding the gifts and talents He has given me.
For many of us, the first thought that may come to mind when we think about the parable of the talents is probably how important it is that we’re using the gifts, talents, and resources God has given us. And while that is absolutely true and definitely part of the meaning behind the message, God revealed to me through His recent question that there’s more to this story.
Before I elaborate, I would like to begin by asking you the same question that God asked me. The question is this:
When Jesus returns, how will He see that you’ve not only used the gifts and talents He gave you, but that you’ve multiplied them?
In the Parable of Talents, Jesus tells the story of a man who was planning to go on a long journey. Before he left for his journey, this man entrusted his goods to his servants. To one servant, he gave five talents. To another, he gave two talents. And to the final servant, he gave one talent. A talent, of course, could be defined as a “large sum” of sorts.
The parable goes on to say that, while this man was away on his journey, the servants who were given the five talents and the two talents both doubled their talents through trading, while the servant who was given one talent dug a hole in the ground and hid his portion.
Not only did this last servant not use or multiply the talent that his master had entrusted him with, but by digging a hole and burying it, he pretty much announced to the world that his life would be better off without his master’s talent in it.
As the story progresses, the master returns home and settles accounts with his servants in order to retrieve his goods. The servants who had received five and two talents showed their master they had not only taken good care of the talents that had been entrusted to them, but they also multiplied them. The master was very pleased with these two servants. And because they were faithful and responsible with what was entrusted to them, their master made them rulers over even more of his estate.
Obviously, we can see in verses 24-28 of Matthew 25 that the story doesn’t end so well for the servant who hid his master’s talent. The little this servant had received was taken away from him because of his wicked and lazy behavior.
The thing that struck me as I was reading this parable recently was the fact that the master didn’t just give the talents to his servants as a way to show others that they were, indeed, his servants. He also didn’t give these talents to his servants so that they could keep watch over them and keep them safe while he was away.
Otherwise, the last servant’s behavior in this story would’ve been considered acceptable in his master’s eyes because the talent was, after all, “kept safe” while he was away.
The master’s main objective in leaving his goods with his servants was for these servants to use their abilities to help grow his wealth. He wanted them to use what he gave them so they could multiply it and build his estate.
The same thing is true for us in God’s economy. When we accept Christ as Savior, God gives us spiritual gifts and talents (1 Corinthians 12). These gifts and talents aren’t given to us only in order to distinguish us as believers. They also aren’t given to us to “keep safe” or to bury and hide so we can live our lives as if they don’t exist.
No, my friend. The gifts and talents God has given us are meant to be used and to be multiplied in order to point others to Christ and to build His Church.
We can’t multiply the gifts we’ve been given if we’re not even using them.
If God has given us the gift of teaching, we ought to be teaching.
If He has given us the gift of preaching, we ought to be preaching.
If He’s given us the gift of exhortation, we ought to be encouraging others towards godliness.
If He’s given us talent in writing, we ought to be writing for His kingdom.
If He’s given us talent in music, we ought to be making music that points others to Him.
If He’s given us artistic ability, we ought to be using our creativity to express God’s goodness and love to a lost and dying world.
Matthew 25:15 says that the master in the parable gave each one of his servants talents “according to their own ability.” He didn’t expect them to go out and acquire new abilities or new talents in order to help grow his estate. He expected them to use and multiply the ones they had already been given. The same is true for us.
God doesn’t expect us to go out and attempt to become experts in things we have absolutely no gifting or talent in. He does, however, expect us to become experts in the fields He has already gifted us in.
If it’s writing, then we ought to become the best Christian writers we can possibly be.
If it’s singing, then we ought to do everything we can to become experts at singing for His glory.
If it’s organization, then we ought to devote our lives to becoming a lean, mean, organizing machine for the church of Jesus Christ.
We should never stop trying to grow in our gifting, to be more efficient, or to be more effective. Just like the servants who traded with their master’s talents doubled their master’s assets by taking risks and stretching themselves, we also ought to take risks and stretch ourselves when it comes to using our gifts and talents.
Sure, we may experience failure along the way, but that’s how we grow. That’s how we learn and how our faith is strengthened. We will never multiply our gifts if we never allow God to stretch us past our own capabilities. It’s His power within us that will make us and mold us into exactly who He desires us to be.
The last thing our Savior wants to see when our life on this earth is over is for us to think, look, and act the same way we did when we first came to know Him.
He doesn’t want to come back to a body of believers who did nothing with the gifts, talents, and resources He gave us.
He doesn’t want to come back to a people who chose comfort and doing life our own way over centering our lives on Him and cultivating the gifts He entrusted us with.
He doesn’t want to come back to see that those of us who vowed to take up our cross and follow Him decided to dig a hole and bury our faith in the ground because following Him required too much effort.
He does, however, want to come back and see His children excited to hand Him back the talents He gave us — polished, perfected, and all poured out — all for His glory and for the expanding of His kingdom.
What gifts has God entrusted you with, my friend? What talent has He created within you? What abilities have you been given?
Are you not only using these gifts but multiplying them as you await the return of your Master?
If not, let me encourage you today to pray and ask God to help you discern what those gifts and talents may be. And then, let Him guide your steps in how He’d like you to use them!
Ephesians 2:10 tells us that God has prepared good works for each and every one of us to carry out after we’ve given our hearts to Christ.
It’s up to us to find out what those works are and then, go do them.
Featured Image by Jan Genge