These notes were made following a group discussion that I led on the topic of the Parable of the Talents + additional material that I gleaned from the internet. Thanks to all who contributed.
Throughout this article:
2TS = Servant who received 2 Talents.
5TS = Servant who received 5 Talents.
What is their story?
The story of these two faithful Servants is similar, so we’ll consider them together.
1. They receive Talents from the Master
2. While the Master was away, they invested the Talents
3. As a result, they double the number of Talents that they have
4. They receive a reward from the Master on his return.
What are the servants given? What are Talents?
A Talent is actually a unit of weight. When used as a measure of money, it refers to a talent-weight of gold or of silver. It is unknown exactly what the monetary value this represents, but the important point is that this is a very large sum of money (so says Wikipedia, so we know it must be true).
What do these Talents symbolise?
There are different views:
The gifts of the Holy Spirit
Our material possessions
Every good gift… comes from heavenJames 1:17 GNB
What are Your Talents?
Make a list of your Talents, big and small.
Interestingly, in a group where I asked about people’s talents, the initial reaction of some members was that they have no particular abilities or talents. However, even the things we often take for granted are important. Consider basic human attributes that most of us (perhaps not all) possess:
Body = ability to do things
Brain = ability to think
Hearing = ability to listen
Mouth = ability to speak
We may be a 2TS rather than a 5TS, but we all have Talents.
Highlight your main Talents in the list.
Are all Talents good?
Example: The ability to criticize is not – but this can be transformed into the ability to encourage.
Has our master left us alone (as he did with these servants)?
No. We have the Holy Spirit to help us.
What are the similarities between 2TS and 5TS?
- They both take on responsibilities.
- They are both faithful.
What are the differences?
They have different abilities.
They are given different starting points.
The gifts that they are given have different values.
Their potentials are different.
Why Two Faithful Servants?
The 1TS could look at the others and say, “They have more than me – I have been set up to fail”. But the 2TS can look at 5TS and give the same argument. However, he does not do so – he is just faithful. By including both faithful servants in the story, Jesus shows that we cannot excuse ourselves by pointing to the differences between others and ourselves.
Make a list of the people with whom you compare yourself, and how.
- Does this impact what you do with your own Talents?
- Is this a good thing?
- What can you do about it?
What Did the Servants do with the Talents?
We don’t know exactly. We know they invested them.
Did the Master tell them to Invest?
The Bible does not say so.
So, how did they know what to do?
Did they know because they knew the Master?
Look through the list of Talents you made earlier.
- Do you actually invest them?
- Could you invest them more effectively?
- Do you need help from others to develop your talents?
Consider your Main Talents. Set SMART goals for you development and investment of these Talents.
Did they work for themselves or the Master?
They worked on behalf of the master. But they benefited, too.
What were their Rewards?
What else did they gain?
- Continuing to work for the Master (fellowship?)
- Increased influence
- Greater opportunity to do more of the Master’s business
What was the praise for?
The Master does not praise them for their productivity, but their faithfulness.
Consider your responsibilities.
Make a list of the key people (or groups of people) in your life. List your main responsibilities to each of them.
- Are you meeting your responsibilities?
- Do these responsibilities play to your strengths? Do they fit in with your Main Talents?
- Do you want more responsibility?
- Could you take on more?
- Can you shed some of the responsibilities that do not fit in with your Main Talents to focus on your strengths?
Did the Servants keep the talents?
It looks like it. In fact, they keep both the original talents and the ones that they made.
How do we develop our talents?
By investing / using them.