Today, I want us to study Jesus’ parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30 (click here to read it from The Message paraphrase).

Dr. Bob Cox once said that institutions usually go through three stages. They begin as risk takers, then they grow to be caretakers, then they usually end up as undertakers! Although there were three different servants in this parable, there were only two attitudes. Two of the servants were risk-takers and one of them was an undertaker. When it comes to serving the Lord, which category do you fall into? Let’s learn some important lessons from this powerful parable:

GOD SHARES HIS TREASURE WITH EACH OF HIS SERVANTS–ACCORDING TO OUR POTENTIAL – This parable has been confusing to many people because of the word “talents” in the King James Version. To us, the word “talent” means ability, like a talent to sing. But in the original Greek language, the word talenton referred to a huge sum of money. Some commentators say a talent is 6,000 denaria; one denarius is what a mean would earn in one day, so 6,000 denaria would be 20 years’ income! But this parable is doubly confusing, because it can apply to your abilities, your talents! God has given treasure to every one of His servants. You must realize it is not yours; it is God’s. In the story, the master gave to the servants that which is called “his property.”

Again, let me remind you that every good thing you have in your life came as a gift from God: your money, your abilities, your family, your intelligence, your friends, your house, your car–it’s no really yours, it all belongs to God! “Wealth and honour come from you; you are the ruler of all things…but who am I, and who are my people that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.” (1 Chronicles 29:12-13)

As you read the parable, you may be confused about WHY the Master gave one servant $5,000, another $2,000, and another $1,000. You may object, “It’s not fair!”. This is in totally contrast to the last parable we looked at together where God gave everyone something equal. The Bible says the Master gave to the servants, “according to their ability.” The Lord knows some people have been blessed with a greater ability to serve Him, so He has entrusted with them more treasure. God knows the potential ability of each of us, and He gives us gifts according to those abilities. If you have been blessed financially, it’s because He has seen in you the ability to produce more for Him. Our job is not to complain if someone has been given more than us, it’s to make the most out of what we have been given. So, it’s not equal gifts, but equal sacrifice.