The Parable of the Talents might seem confusing at first, but it contains poignant life lessons for every Christian.
In the parable, a rich man gives his servants coins (or the equivalent in gold, depending on which version of the Bible you’re reading) to manage during the man’s absence. Each servant is given a different amount, according to their ability.
Those who had been given three and five doubled their amount. The rich man was pleased with their faithfulness and promised to entrust them with more. The man who was given one hid his out of fear. The rich man reprimanded him and gave his portion to the one who had gained the most.
The story is a wonderful example of how we are called to use God’s gifts for His glory and a sobering reminder of God’s expectations of His children.
5 Life Lessons from the Parable of the Talents
1. God gifted and entrusted us with blessings.
The things we have in life are blessings from God and he has entrusted us with them. He hasn’t given us all the same things. We each have differences in financial status, health, intellect, skills and talents, etc. No matter how much or how little, they are all gifts from God.
2. He expects us to use our gifts wisely.
What will we do with the blessings we’ve been given? God gives us free will to choose. He loves us so much that he allows us to freely decide our path in life. He desires that we grow our gifts for His glory, but it’s up to each of us to decide. Will we help the needy? Clothe the naked? Feed the hungry? Show mercy? Grant forgiveness? Love one another? Or will we squander our money and blessings? Hide or misuse our talents? Use our skills for evil instead of good? Worship money and financial status above God?
3. He doesn’t judge us all by the same standard.
The talents (gold/coins) were given according to each person’s ability. We are created with different skills and abilities and are never entrusted with more than God knows we can handle. He ensures we have the money, resources, aptitude, skills, and ability to accomplish His will for our life, no matter how small or great the goal is. He assesses our performance not based on how our accomplishments compare to others, but upon how well we’ve lived for His good and glory according to our abilities and resources.
4. We will be held accountable.
Judgement Day will eventually arrive. We don’t like to think about our Divine Father as a judge, but I like to liken God’s love to a perfect human father. Even though such a man doesn’t exist, we can imagine that a father who loves his children and wants the best for them has expectations of them. He sets rules and boundaries to keep them safe and on the right path. When they go astray, he corrects them. So it is with God’s judgment. He looks kindly on those who use His gifts and blessings well and prudently. He’s disappointed in those who turn away from Him and choose to bury their gifts or misuse them. Indeed, He says they will be judged harshly.
5. We are called to grow in the Lord.
The Lord gives according to our abilities, but as we prove ourselves trustworthy by choosing God’s will, growing in faith, and sharing His glory, He entrusts us with more. This is similar to how a child earns his parent’s trust by doing the right things in small matters until he proves himself worthy of more freedoms and perks, ie, blessings.
As we seek Jesus with all our heart and work for His good, we deepen our relationship, prove our growing abilities, and eventually become entrusted with more blessings to be used for God’s glory. It’s an expanding cycle of God’s amazing will that is ours if we are willing to work for it.
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
What is the moral lesson of the Parable of the Talents
The moral lesson of the Parable of the Talents is that we are to use and grow our gifts from God (blessings) for His glory.
What is the meaning of talent in the Bible?
A talent was an ancient unit of weight that was used to measure precious metals. In the Parable of the Talents, a talent represents gold or coins. You can learn more about the history of talents at LearnReligions.
The Parable of the Talents versus the Parable of the Gold Coins
Various bible interpretations have evolved over the centuries and many bible versions now exist. Some Bible versions of Matthew 25:14-30 use the term “talents”, such as Matthew 25 in King James Version (KJV) while others use the terms ‘gold’ or ‘coins’, such as Matthew 25 in New International Version (NIV).
The context and lesson of the two versions are the same.
The meaning of Matthew 25
You can find a theological commentary of The Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25 from the notable theologian Matthew Henry in his Matthew Henry Concise Commentary. Refer to verses 14-30.
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If you’re interested in the parables, you might like The Parables of Jesus Explained or these other articles and printables:
- 6 Lessons from a Mustard Seed
- 4 Lessons from the Parable of the Hidden Treasure
- 3 Lessons The Prodigal Son Parable Can Teach You About Life
- Mustard Seed Printable Products for Adults and Children