The Bible Edge
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But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money.
The parable of the talents has intrigued Bible readers for over two thousand years. Jesus makes very clear that the talents this man gave his servants was money. This man gave to one servant 10 talents, to another 5 and to one he gave 1. The first two servants doubled the talents, returning them to their master upon his return. The servant who received the 1 returned the 1 to the master. He did not lose that which the master entrusted to him, neither did he gain. Instead of investing the talent in some manner he simply hid it in the earth.
Not only does Jesus make it clear that the talent was money He also made it clear that it belonged to the master, not the servant. The servant …hid his lord’s money. Benjamin Franklin once said, “The use of money is all the advantage there is in having it.” Meaning that a person may have millions of dollars yet if those dollars are not used, only stored, they advantage no one, not even the possessor.
The actual lesson the Lord drives home using this parable is found in the closing 10 verses of the chapter. Succinctly put the talents given to the servants were to be employed in the service of others. For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and he gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Matthew 25:35-36. The good and faithful servants of the Lord do these things. The slothful servants of the Lord do not. Doing these things to those who need them is like doing them to Jesus, not doing these is not doing them to Jesus. All the things the Lord lists in these verses cost at least two things: time and money. The end of this chapter gives a stern warning to the unprofitable servant (vs. 41 & 46).
Preachers even mentioning money today often seems to be denounced as greed. “All that preacher wants is money!” You may have heard this or something similar. In our “get all you can and can all you get” society this thing of truly helping others in need is overlooked at best and hated at worst. Yet, there it is, in the parable of the talents well-defined for all to see. Yet someone may think, “The money I earn is mine, no one gave it to me.” This may be true, they may have earned it, but no one earns eternal life, no one purchases air to breathe, or the energy that surges through their bodies that allows thought, movement and production. These are the “talents” given by the Lord and Master to be put to work for Him by helping others in their need. After all, not all “talents” that come into an individual's hands are solely for their personal use, some of it is to be invested in others just as Galatians 6:10 states: As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
William T. Howe, Ph.D.