Parable of the Talent

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By: Fr. Seraphim Slobodskoy
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The Parable of the Talent

Jesus Christ told yet another parable reproving our laziness and negligence.

The Son of man is like a man, who going on a journey into a far country called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to the other — two talents, to another — one talent, — according to an ability of each. Then, he went away.

One who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them; and he made five talents more. Uniformly, one who had the two talents made two talents more. But one who had received the one talent did not want to work, and he went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money.

After a long time, the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. The one who had received the five talents came forward bringing five talents more and saying, “Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.”

His master said to him, “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.”

And also, the one who had the two talents came forward saying, “Master, you gave me two talents. Here, I have made two more talents.”

His master said to him, “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.”

Also, the one who had received one talent came forward saying, “Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not winnow. So I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.”

But his master answered him, “You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sowed and gather where I have not winnowed. Then, you ought to have invested my money with the bankers; and at my coming, I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For every one who has will be given more, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away. Cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness where men will weep and gnash their teeth.”

Having told this parable, Jesus Christ exclaimed, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

This parable means that all people receive various gifts from God, such as life, health, strength, spiritual capacity, learning, gifts of the Holy Spirit, the good things of life, and so on, in order to use these gifts in the service of God and neighbour. All these are gifts of God and are understood in the parable under the name of talents. God knows how much each person needs, according to his ability, and therefore some people receive more, others less. He who uses the gifts of God must give an account to God at His second coming. He who uses them to the advantage of himself and others will receive praise from the Lord and eternal heavenly joy, but lazy and careless people will be condemned by the Lord to eternal suffering.

Note: See the Gospels of Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 19:11-28.

(from: The Law of God
by Fr. Seraphim Slobodskoy)