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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

THE TALENTS

Matthew 25:14-15 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man traveling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And to 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. (Also see Vss.16-30).

The preceding parable of the wise and foolish virgins taught us the lesson of being prepared to meet our Savior when he returns to receive His faithful servants. The parable in this lesson teaches us to work diligently, as a Christian, using our various talents and abilities to their fullest extent serving God, the cause of Christ, and the physical and spiritual wellbeing of others. This is a Christian responsibility that we must not overlook as we prepare to meet our maker on Judgment Day. In this parable, the man represents Jesus Christ, the Head of His Church, and the three servants represent Christians with varying degrees of talents, whom He has purchased with His own blood. One willingly submits to this servitude through hearing the word of God, believing Jesus is the Son of God and our Savior, confessing this belief, repenting of past sins, and being baptized into His body. These are the initial acts of obedience by which one becomes a Christian. As newborn servants of Christ, we are expected to labor for our Master.

In the subject parable, we learn that each servant was given talents based on their abilities. In monetary value, the talent has been variously described, but in all instances, it is considered to be a large sum of money. In today's language we speak of talents as abilities, as a person is very talented, or his talent is singing, all considered to be gifts. Or, as some say, ournatural talents are from birth. Indeed people do possess a wide variety of natural abilities. Some are more gifted than others. The householder, or owner, in the parable recognized this in his three servants and distributed his goods accordingly, giving more of his possessions to those that had greater abilities to use it, as he would have done. This is also true in the kingdom of heaven. The body of Christ is made up of individual Christians each having different abilities. The work of the church has no limits. There is always sufficient work available for the most talented or the least talented of its members. Just as the householder required of his servants to use the talents given them profitably, so God, through Jesus Christ, requires all His children to labor in His vineyard using their talents to their fullest extent - to be profitable in His kingdom.

In the parable, the servants given five and two talents applied their abilities, had profitable results, and received praise from their owner for their efforts. However, the servant given one talent showed no profit when his owner returned. Although this servant was given only one talent, he was judged by his master to have sufficient ability to use it profitably. Here, the servant failed. He hid the talent given him and did not put it to work. The least he could have done was to invest it in order to earnthe minimal of interest. For his failure, the servant given one talent was severely reprimanded. His talent was taken from him, given to the servant that hand been given ten talents. And ultimately, He was given an extreme, final judgment of eternal punishment, being cast ...into outer darkness. Certainly this parable teaches us that, in the sight of God, any talent hidden and unusedis a talent wasted. It also teaches us that God is pleased when Christians use their talents and abilities wisely and are profitable to the cause of Christ. Likewise, God is displeased when one hides and wastes their talents, even those having the least of abilities.

With this parable before us, each Christian should take a close look at their own selves - each should audit the use of their own personal assets in light of their profitability. What are your talents? What are you capable of doing? Are you using your abilities to their fullest extent? Do you turn down the requests of elders, deacons and other members of the body of Christ without trying to fill these requests? Generally a Christian is capable of accomplishing much more that they think they can. If so, then aren't you hiding a portion of your talent? Why not try? Do you think that God would be dissatisfied with you if you tried and failed to do a task that you were not capable of doing? Surely not, but rather He would probably commend you with a "pat on the back" and suggest that you keep on trying. The church needs elders and deacons, preachers and teachers, missionaries, song leaders, prayer leaders, care givers, edifiers, and encouragers. The church needs members that try to use their talents profitably. God would never hold us responsible for works that exceed our talents, but he does expect us to use our talents to their fullest extent.