Jesus would soon be going back to His home in heaven. Before he left, He wanted His disciples to know that work they should do for Him. He told several stories to the men and women and children who followed Him and believed in Him. The stories showed all these disciples how they should act.
One story was about a man getting ready to go on a long journey. Before he left, the man called his three servants together and gave each one part of his property to look after. To the smartest, most capable servant, the man gave five talents of money (a talent weighed about 75 pounds and equaled 6000 silver coins) for him to use wisely. To another servant, who had less ability, the man gave two talents of money. The third servant did not have much business knowledge, so the man gave him only one talent of money. Then the man left on his journey, trusting his servants to use his money to make him richer.
The first servant took the five talents he had been given, and began to make business deals. He knew just what to do. He used the money so well, he earned five more talents with it.
The second servant also did his best. With his investments, he gained two more talents.
But the third servant was discouraged. He thought his master was unfair to expect him to take care of the money.
“I’m no good at business,” he said. “I don’t know anything about trading and making investments and getting interest on money. What if I lost my master’s money? He would probably fire me.” So instead of investing the money, this servant put it in a moneybag and buried it in the back yard.
When the master returned, he called the servants to him and asked what they had done with the money he left in their charge.
The first servant proudly brought out the balance sheets that showed he had doubled the five talents and made them ten. “ ‘Well done, you good and faithful servant,’ said the master. ‘Because you were faithful over a few things, I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ ”
The second servant was called and showed the master his balance sheets. He had earned only two talents, but he, too, had doubled the money left with him. The master was pleased because this servant had worked well for him. The master praised this servant, also. “Well done, good and faithful servant,” he said, “you were faithful in little; I will put you in charge of much. Enter into the joy of your lord.”
Then it was the turn of the third servant. He did not bring any balance sheets to the master. Instead, he brought a dirty, rotting old moneybag and plopped it down on the table.
“There,” said the servant, with a scowl on his face. “I knew you were a hard man and would probably fire me if I lost any of your money. You seem to get money from nowhere, without even trying. I was afraid of losing your money, so I buried it.” He pointed to the dirty bag. “Your money is in there, every bit of it.”
The master was angry with the lazy servant. He said, “If you thought I was hard to get along with, how dare you go bury my money in the ground? At the very least, you should have put it in the bank and drawn interest on it for me.”
“Take his talent from him,” he ordered. “Give it to the servant who has ten talents. Everyone who works and earns will be given more. But whoever is lazy and won’t use what he has, will lose even that. And get him out of here; he doesn’t work for me anymore.” So the lazy servant lost his place with the master after all.
We are disciples of Jesus, just as those who sat on the hillside and listened to Him that day. We, too, are waiting for Him to come back, and we have a work to do for Him. He wants us to use all our talents for Him, no matter how few or how small they seem.
Everyone has at least one special ability. What is yours? Can you sing, or play an instrument? Perhaps you can tell stories well, or maybe you make friends easily. Those are talents, too. You may have a talent for cheering up people, or for helping younger children to learn. If you work faithfully at whatever job you have, that is a talent that can be used for Jesus. Other talents are time, health, money and education.
If we use every talent we have for Jesus, we will be good and faithful servants. When Jesus comes again, He will say to us, “Enter into the joy of your Lord.”
The prophet Jeremiah had a talent for speech, but was afraid. Read what God said to him in Jeremiah 1:4-10. A woman named Dorcas had the talent of helping the poor. Read about her in Acts 9:36-43.
Our Treasure Chest verse repeats what the master said to the faithful servants:
“Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things. I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.” Matthew 25:23