Posted on 14-Nov-2014
In the parable of the talents, “a man of noble birth” left some of his money with 3 servants - 5 talents for one, 2 to another, and one the last. Then he left on a long journey, and when he returned, he asked each servant for an accounting. The five-talent servant and the two-talent servant each explained that they managed to obtain double the amount of money, and were rewarded. The one-talent servant, however, did not do anything with the money, so he was punished.
The money the servants were given was not theirs. Neither was the money they earned. Everything was given back to the nobleman. The servants were only representatives to help the nobleman with his investment. Whatever work we do should be for God's honour, not our own selfish agendas.
The word talents here represents not talents as in abilities, but a measure of weight used with silver. One talent was worth 6000 denarii. Since a days work was usually worth a single denarii, 6000 denarii was worth 20 years wages.
Though it might seem that God was being unfair in giving one servant four times more money than another, we must note that each servant was given “according to his ability”. The nobleman knew beforehand the capabilities of each servant, so he gave accordingly.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10 NIV)
In the same way, God gives us everything we need to serve Him to the fullest. Yet at the same time, He does not give us too much that we are overwhelmed by the work. We might not be the same, each of us with different abilities. Yet just as the man rewarded the five-talent servant and the two-talent servant equally, God will reward each of us not according to our talents, but the effort we put into using them for His glory.
“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ (Matthew 25:21 NIV)
When the master returned, there was an accounting. The hardworking servants were rewarded, each according to their effort. The lazy servant was punished even though he didn't waste his master's money. What he wasted was the opportunity to do something for his master. We are responsible for everything we do with everything that God has given us. And one day, we will be held responsible.
We are all different. We all have different talents, different personalities, different opportunities. Yet when we are judged, we are not judged based only on the product of our work, but the effort we put in the achieving it. What we hear on that day of judgement is up to us.