Being a good teacher sometimes involves being a storyteller. Jesus was the master storyteller. I love how He could make spiritual truths easy to understand. His parables were engaging, applicable, and relevant to His listeners thousands of years ago, and they are still pertinent today. One of my favorite things about reading a parable is the red letter print in my Bible. There is something special about knowing these words came directly from the mouth of Jesus. When I read the parables, I imagine myself as a young child sitting on the carpet hanging on His every word. Can you envision what it would have been like to be in His presence during story time?
Before diving into one of Jesus’ parables, let’s define the term parable. A parable is, literally, something “cast alongside” something else. Jesus’ parables were stories that were “cast alongside” a truth in order to illustrate that truth. A common description of a parable is that it is an earthly story with a Heavenly meaning. Jesus has so much to teach us through His parables.
I’m sure many have read the Parable of Talents found in Matthew 25. However, it seems no matter how many times I read the same passage, there is always a new insight meant just for me. Don’t you love how the Holy Spirit knows just exactly what we need to hear? I’m excited to share His thoughts revealed to me in hopes that you might be encouraged!
The Parable of the Talents can be found in Matthew 25:14-29. Please take a moment to read through it.
This parable was told in the context of Jesus’ second coming. We can’t miss this important point. Jesus was teaching us how to prepare for His return. We are not to be idle. There is much to do.
Jesus sets the stage in Matthew 25:14. Again, the Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. He called together his servants and entrusted his money to them while he was gone.
Insight #1: We are not the owner. We are the manager. While we are here, God has charged us with being good stewards of all He has given us. We live in a society focused on “mine, mine, mine.” God’s Word tells us nothing is truly ours.
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him. Psalm 24:1
Jesus reminded us of this during His prayer in John 17:7 when He said, “Now they know that everything I have is a gift from you.”
If Jesus himself acknowledged God’s gift, how much more should we? All we have is a gift from God. Our family, our possessions, our jobs—everything is a gift. God has given us an opportunity to not only manage these gifts but to multiply what He has given as an investment for His eternal kingdom.
Insight #2: It isn’t about the amount. You will notice in the parable that the master did not evenly distribute his possessions to the servants.
He gave five bags of silver to one, two bags of silver to another, and one bag of silver to the last—dividing it in proportion to their abilities. Matthew 25:15
God knows what we need and what we can handle. It isn’t about how much we have been given. It is about what we do with what we have been given. Unused talents are useless. In this world of constant comparison, we must resist the urge to compare ourselves with others. Just like educators differentiate for students, God has differentiated his gifts to us.
Insight #3: Talents include time, abilities, and treasures. When thinking about talents, it is important to broaden our definition. We all have time, abilities (or skills), and financial resources. Many educators might argue that they don’t have time or money, but remember—it isn’t about the amount! Nothing we have is by accident. God has uniquely gifted each one of us, and we are called to maximize those gifts for kingdom purposes. Each day we have an opportunity to make choices regarding our time, our abilities, and our resources. Will we use what we have, no matter how insignificant it may seem, to advance the kingdom or to advance ourselves?
Insight #4: God wants us to enter into His joy. Someday Jesus will return. When He does, we will all give an account just like the servants in the parable. I have to admit…this worries me a bit. As I look back over my life, I wonder if there have been times when I behaved more like the third servant (i.e., focused more on myself rather than faithfully multiplying all I had been given for eternal purposes). God doesn’t want us to face Him with regret. He wants us to enter into his joy. He desires to say, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” Matthew 25:21
God is not a harsh taskmaster as described by the third servant. The servant’s fear and inaccurate view of God caused him to make unwise choices which ultimately robbed him of blessings and eternal rewards.
I am so grateful for God’s grace. It is never too late. Each of us can start anew today. Everything God has blessed us with (time, talents, and treasures) are temporary gifts we have been given to manage and multiply. As Christians, we know this life is not all there is. We can live in anticipation that the best is yet to come!
But as it is written:
What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined what God has prepared for those who love him. I Corinthians 2:9