M. G. Taylor, Pastor, New Life SDA Church, Gaithersburg, Maryland
Summary: When the parable of the talents is rightly understood, it will help us realize that God keeps a faithful account of everything we do. If we desire to be acknowledged as good and faithful servants, we must do thorough, consecrated work for the Master.
The parable of the talents in Mt 25:14-30, rightly understood, will help us realize that God keeps a faithful account of everything we as human beings do. God has lent men, women, and children talents. Each of us has received something from the Master, and each of us will be held accountable for what we receive. Hence, the question might be asked, “What then shall I do with my time, my understanding, and my possessions, which are not mine, but are entrusted to me as a gift from God to test my honesty?”
According to your ability
In the Lord’s plan there is diversity in the distribution of talents. These talents are not bestowed capriciously, but according to the ability of the recipient. According to the talents bestowed will be the returns called for. The heaviest obligation rests upon him who has been made a steward of the greatest abilities. “A man who has ten pounds is held responsible for all that ten pounds would do if used aright. He who has only ten pence is accountable for only that amount. If we desire to be acknowledged as good and faithful servants, we must do thorough, consecrated work for the Master. He will reward diligent, honest service. If men will put their trust in Him, if they will recognize His compassion and benevolence, and will walk humbly before Him, He will cooperate with them. He will increase their talents” (Counsels on Stewardship, p 116)
Property is a talent. “All that we have is the Lord’s, without any question. He calls upon us to awake, to bear a share of the burdens of His cause, that prosperity may attend His work. Every Christian is to act his part as a faithful steward. The methods of God are sensible and right, and we are to trade on our pence and our pounds, returning our freewill offerings to Him to sustain His work, to bring souls to Christ. Large and small sums should flow into the Lord’s treasury” (Ibid, p 114).
Speech is a talent. “Of all the gifts bestowed on the human family, none should be more appreciated than the gift of speech. It is to be used to declare God’s wisdom and wondrous love. Thus the treasures of His grace and wisdom are to be communicated” (Ibid, p 115).
Strength is a talent, and is to be used to glorify God. “Our bodies belong to Him. He has paid the price of redemption for the body as well as for the soul. We can serve God better in the vigor of health than in the palsy of disease; therefore we should cooperate with God in the care of our bodies. Love for God is essential for life and health. Faith in God is essential for health. In order to have perfect health, our hearts must be filled with love and hope and joy in the Lord” (Ibid, p 115).
Influence is a talent, and it is a power for good when the sacred fire of God’s kindling is brought into our service. “The influence of a holy life is felt at home and abroad. The practical benevolence, the self-denial and self-sacrifice, which mark the life of a man, have an influence for good upon those with whom he associates” (Ibid, p 115).
Every person has a talent
Some people believe that talents are given only to a certain favored class, to the exclusion of others who, of course, are not called upon to share in the toils or rewards. But it is not so represented in the parable. When the Master of the house called His servants, He gave to every man his work. The whole family of God is included in the responsibility of using their Lord’s goods.
To a greater or lesser degree, all are placed in charge of the talents of their Lord. “The spiritual, mental, and physical ability, the influence, station, possessions, affections, sympathies, all are precious talents to be used in the cause of the Master for the salvation of souls for whom Christ died” (R & H, Oct 26, 1911).
“Some who have been entrusted with only one talent, excuse themselves because they have not as large a number of talents as those to whom are entrusted many talents. They, like the unfaithful steward, hide the one talent in the earth. They are afraid to render to God that which He has entrusted to them. They engage in worldly enterprises, but invest little, if anything, in the cause of God. They expect those who have large talents, to bear the burden of the work, while they feel that they are not responsible for its success and advancement. They feel relieved of responsibility. They love to see the truth progress, but do not think that they are called upon to practice self-denial, and aid in the work through their own individual effort and with their means, although they have not a large amount” (Counsels on Stewardship, p 118).
Why talents are given
God gives to every man his work, and He expects corresponding returns, according to their various trusts. He does not require the increase from ten talents of the man to whom He has given only one talent. He does not expect the man of poverty to give alms as the man who has riches. He does not expect of the feeble and suffering, the activity and strength which the healthy man has. The one talent, used to the best account, God will accept “according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not” (Ibid, p 119).
We are responsible for the use or abuse of that which God has thus lent us. Every talent which returns to the Master, will be scrutinized. The doings and trusts of God’s servants will not be considered an unimportant matter. Every individual will be dealt with personally, and will be required to give an account of the talents entrusted to him, whether he has improved or abused them. By His own wisdom He has given us direction for the use of His gifts. The talents of speech, memory, influence, property, are to accumulate for the glory of God and the advancement of His kingdom. He will bless the right use of His gifts.