Here are my top seven Bible verses in referring to talents.
Matthew 25:20 “And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’”
Just before Jesus gave the Parable of the Talents, He was speaking in the context of His going away, only to return to judge those who are His own and determine what His followers have done with what God’s given them, as He said, “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour” (Matt 25:13). We know this because of what Jesus said next; “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property” (Matt 25:14), so the context is Jesus’ return to judge His own for what they have been entrusted with by God.
Matthew 25:22 “And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’”
Most people who have had a retirement account expect it to grow as they work throughout their lives, so in a similar fashion, God expects the talents that He has given us should be put to use, and not buried in the ground (Matt 25:25). Some had been given more (5) while others were given less (2), but both doubled their investment in the kingdom. They were wise stewards with what they’d be given. Jesus rewards them both of them by saying, “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” (Matt 25:21). He doesn’t tell the one with 5 talents who turned it into 10, “Well done, good and ‘more’ faithful servant.” No, Jesus tells both the one who had only 2 and the one who only had 5 both the same thing, indicating that Jesus knows some are given less, but if they use what’s been given to them, both of them are faithful, regardless of how much they have when He returns.
Matthew 25:28 “So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents.”
What this is saying to us is that for those who simply “bury” their talents, meaning they don’t even use what Gods’ given to us to use for His glory, it will all be taken away. Any one of us can lose all we have overnight (in a fire, thieves, bankruptcy). Even if you’ve been given one talent by God, He expects you to use it, and that means invest it into the lives of others as Christ would have us do. What you don’t use, you will lose.
Matthew 25:16-17 “He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more.”
When we invest in the work of the kingdom, we invest in eternity, because even though we can’t bring our treasures to heaven, we can forward there, and they’ll be there waiting for us. This is what Jesus meant by saying “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal” (Matt 6:19-20), and so “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt 6:21). Instead of saying, “What’s in your wallet,” why not ask, “Where’s my treasure at?” because that’s where your heart is, meaning, that’s what’s most precious to you.
Matthew 25:22-23 “And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘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.”
Jesus tells these stewards or servants what their reward is, indicating that it’s not wrong to yearn for rewards but to be motivated out of love, not by greed. Jesus tells the servants who had invested their talents that He is going to set them over much, perhaps indicating that they will be ruling with Christ, but of course, under Christ. Jesus says in the Book of Revelation, “The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne” (Rev 3:21). Elsewhere, the Apostle Paul told Timothy, “if we endure, we will also reign with Him” (2nd Tim 2:12a), and “if children [of God], then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him” (Rom 8:17).
Matthew 25:24-25 “He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.”
The servant, who simply buried his talent, meaning he did nothing for Christ’s kingdom with what he was given, only gave excuses that Jesus was a hard man…which of course is not true. He tries to tell the Master that He reaped where He did not sow, and gathered where He did not scatter the seed, which of course, could refer to the Word of God, which is described elsewhere as a seed (Matt 13:1-23). The Master will rebuke him by saying, “you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest” (Matt 25:27). Whatever little reward this man had, even that will be taken away at Jesus return (Matt 25:28).
Matthew 25:28-30 “So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
If you do nothing for Christ in this life, you may not actually even be a believer. Jesus warned that many will come to Him saying, “Lord, Lord” (Matt 7:21), but Jesus wont’ even know these same “many” who will think they’re Christians but are in fact, false converts, because He says to them, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness” (Matt 7:23). They claim to have done work for Christ, but in fact, they were probably only doing it for themselves, to be seen of men (Matt 7:22). Many will think they are Christians, not a few, but many, but these same “many” will be shut out of the kingdom in one of the greatest tragedies ever. Paul’s advice takes on even more significance where he said, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” (2nd Cor 13:5). Better get this right in this life because in the next, it’s too late!
Want to know where you treasure really is: Take the” time-card” of your life (not counting work) and see where and on what you’ve invested it on. Then take your checkbook ledger or credit card statement and see where most of your money is going (not counting paying your bills….unless it’s on huge flat screen TV’s, cars, etc.). That is where your heart is at…your heart is found where you spend the most time and money at. That’s your true treasure. Is it Jesus or something(s) else?
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.