“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey.
The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. So also, the one with the two talents gained two more.
But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
“After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’ “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
“The man with the two talents also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.’ “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
“Then the man who had received the one talent came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’“His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.
“‘Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’” (Matthew 25: 14-30, NIV84).
Jesus said in this parable that each servant was given resources in proportion to his ability to use them. To one he gave five talents of silver (a talent of silver was worth about $360,000). To another he gave two talents of silver. And to another he gave one talent of silver.
This passage is many times interpreted as talking about developing your skills to the best of your ability. And so, the word “talent” is being used today, not as a measure of a weight of silver, but a measure of skill. Could it be that Jesus was talking about something much more valuable than skills? Could He be talking about loving others as God loves us?
If the ability to love is really the theme of this parable then how could the parable be interpreted?
We could say the man who was given five talents of silver had the ability to love “many” people. He immediately went to work interacting with others and using the means his Master gave him to love and help them. And the Master rewarded him.
The man who was given two talents of silver had the ability to love “some” people. He too, immediately went out and interacted with others, and using his Master’s means, he loved and helped them. And the Master rewarded him.
The man who was entrusted with one talent of silver had the ability to love “one” person. He did not go out and interact with another, to love and help them. He buried the Master’s means of loving and helping others and loved and helped no one. Because of the reference of putting the money on deposit with the bankers in the parable, I can imagine Jesus asking the man “Why didn’t you let my “means of loving and helping” at least be used by others, if you yourself weren’t going to use it?” And Jesus will cast him away from His presence.
When I surrendered to Jesus I read this parable. I didn’t know if I was a one, two or five talent person. I prayed for God to make me a five or a two, but if I was a one, I asked that He help me to use my talent and not bury it. God has been gracious to me and helped me to love other people. What about you? To truly love you need Jesus in you, loving the other person through you. To do that you need to ask Him to forgive your sins, and surrender your life to His leadership, and ask to receive His Spirit so that you can do good. You will start a journey with Him that He has designed just for you.
However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” — but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. (1 Corinthians 2:9-10 NIV84)