The Parable of the Talents
Here’s something I dug up from my YouTube “archives.” I thought it would be a good one to revisit.
You’ve probably heard of the bible story called The Parable of the Talents.
Very interesting story. It goes like this:
There was once a man. A very wealthy man.
And this man, he decides to go on a trip. But before he leaves, he calls his three servants.
To the first he gives 5 talents, to the second he gives 2, and to the third, he gives 1. The story says that he gave to each, according to his ability. Then he leaves.
The first servant takes his 5 talents, goes out and puts them to work. Makes an additional 5 talents. The second one does the same. Goes out; doubles what he was given. The third however, does something completely different. He goes out, digs a hole, and buries his talent!
The story goes on to say that after a long time the master comes back and checks in with them. The first servant says, “Lord, you gave me 5 talents, I went out and made 5 more.” The master says “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.”
The second servant goes “Lord, you gave me 2 talents; here you go sir, I made 2 more.” Master says “good job” and pretty much tells him what he told the first servant.
But the third servant steps forward. Tells the master: “Lord, you’re a hard master, you reap where you don’t sow and you gather where you haven’t scattered any seed. I became afraid, and so I hid the talent in the ground.”
The master responds “you wicked and lazy servant; so you knew all that and yet you still didn’t do anything with the talent? You didn’t even put it in the bank, for even a bare minimum return on what I gave you?
He then has the talent taken from him. And he throws him out of his presence.
They each received different amounts. Seems a bit unfair!
Let’s be honest, it’s a little weird right? Seems a little messed up because they all received differing amounts. The third servant only got 1 talent! But let’s take a step back and analyze what really happened within the context of the period they were living in.
So the question we need to ask is this: how much was a talent back in those days?
A talent was the largest unit of Greek money, It was about 10,000 denarii. And one denarius was about one day’s pay. So basically, 1 talent was equivalent to roughly 35 years of income for the average person back in those days!! So in today’s day, we’re talking about 1 and a half million bucks for someone making $40K for 35 years!!
So the third servant who received the 1 talent? It wasn’t chump change! It was a lot of money!!
What can we conclude from this realization? We can conclude that none of them were lacking in resources.
Did you notice that the master doesn’t make it a competition?
Did you notice that? It’s not like he wants them to compete against each other, where winner takes all. You also don’t see any signs of grumbling or jealousy from the three servants. In fact, the first two didn’t waste any time getting to work. They head out immediately to put their talents to use. And they end up doubling their resources.
But what does the third do? It says he was afraid, so he ends up burying his talent. He doesn’t do a single productive thing with it.
Now here’s where it gets even more interesting. When the master returns, this 3rd servant pretty much tells him this, I’m paraphrasing, but something along these lines: “the reason why I didn’t do anything with the talent you gave me, was because you’re a tough and unfair master; I was afraid that I’d lose my talent.” So he basically doesn’t take any responsibility, and what’s even worse, he puts the blame on the master (it’s because you’re this way, that I didn’t want to risk doing anything with it).
So the master, hearing this from his servant, basically says “well, if that’s how you really view me, I think you would’ve done something about it.” So in essence, if what you’re saying is true, that I’m truly a tough and unfair master, then you should’ve known that I wouldn’t be happy with this mediocre result. Instead, you got lazy, and not only are you making excuses but you’re even blaming me for it.” So in other words, he doesn’t buy the story.
So what’s the take-away from all of this?
Maybe you feel like the 1 talent servant. Are you always telling yourself a story why you can’t do something?
Are you always comparing and complaining? Are you always looking around and feeding yourself excuses why you can’t do something and how unfair it is that the other guy has an advantage over you?
Does any of this sound familiar? “Only if my parents were rich, I could’ve done something with my life, it’s so unfair.” “Only if I were smarter it would be so much easier.”
So maybe you aren’t the smartest, maybe you aren’t the most athletic, or the most skilled.
So yeah; maybe you are like the 1-talent servant. Everyone’s born into different circumstances. That’s life.
But, remember what the story begins with? The master gave to each of them, according to his ability. That means that whatever is your purpose in life, you have the ability to fulfill those purposes. Not only do you have the ability to use those gifts and talents, you have the ability to grow it more.
So do yourself a huge favor, and stop feeling sorry for yourself! And stop comparing yourself to others!
I get it. At times, it’s hard to stop because it’s an automatic feeling that you get. But don’t stew in it. Stewing in self-pity, loathing, envy, and jealousy…these are choices. There’s always going to be people with more talents.
You can start now and grow whatever talent you have. And that is a choice you can make.
What do you think about this story, the Parable of the Talents? Was this the first time you’re hearing about it? Do you feel like you have talents and abilities? Why or why not? If you don’t feel like you have any talents, have you tried asking your friends or family members what they perceive your talents to be? What is something you can do today? Something you can do this week, and not 5 or 10 years down the line? Share in the comments below!