I have several stories in the Bible that seem to unnerve me and cause me to wrestle with who I thought God was and how I think about myself. One of those passages is Matthew 25:14-30 which is typically considered the parable of the Talents.
This passage is part of a collection of parables that Jesus taught regarding the return of the Lord. The previous parable was about 10 virgins. 5 virgins were prudent and had enough oil to wait for the bridegroom to come, the other 5 were not prudent but ran out of oil while waiting. The five that ran out of oil left to buy some more. While they were gone, the bridegroom came and they missed their chance to be brought in by the bridegroom.
The parable regarding the talents is about a master who was going on a long trip and, first, he met with his servants. To the first servant he gave five talents, to the second servant he gave two talents, and to the third servant he gave one talent. The parable said he gave to each according to their ability. The first two servants took what they were given and brought increase. The third servant took what he was given and buried it and only had what he was given when the master returned. When the master returned he rewarded the first two servants for their gaining more with what they were given, but the master chastised the third servant for burying what he was given, and not even collecting interest on it by storing it in the bank.
I used to read the parable of the talents through the lens that I might have been given less talents then others. At times it would overwhelm me and cause me to feel “less than”.
However, as I look at the bigger context of the chapter in which we find this parable in, we realize that the attention is not on what the servants were given but it was on the return of the master and what state he found them in. The parable of the virgins was about those being prepared to remain in waiting until the bridegroom came. The parable of the talents was about the faithfulness of the servants in their stewardship while the master was gone. The parable of the goats and sheep was about both of them being in the same pen and only being separated at the end when the shepherd comes.
Yes, and I am his favorite, but so are you!
God’s question to us is, “Will you remain faithful until I come?”
Only you can answer that question for yourself!