Home » Opinion » Reflections Today » The parable of the talents

The parable of the talents

Gospel Reading: Mt 25:14-30
Jesus told his disciples this parable: “It will be as when a man who was going on a journey called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one—to each according to his ability. Then he went away. Immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them, and made another five.

Likewise, the one who received two made another two. But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground and buried his master’s money. … The one who had received five talents came forward bringing the additional five. He said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents. See, I have made five more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.

Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’… Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a demanding person, harvesting where you did not plant and gathering where you did not scatter; so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground. Here it is back.’

His master said to him in reply, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant and gather where I did not scatter? Should you not then have put my money in the bank so that I could have got it back with interest on my return? Now then! Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten. For to everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’ ”

The parable is not only a story about the moral character of the disciples but also a story about the moral character of God. What kind of God do we serve? It is a God who is trusting, welcoming, generous, and benevolent. That is the way the narrator presents him; that is the way the first two servants perceive him – otherwise they would not have been so free to risk and act – and that is the way the master conducts himself. Clearly, the one-talent servant has badly misjudged the master, distorting the master into a tough, uncaring despot, and foolishly acting accordingly.

Even deeper, he views his master not just as tough but as evil. In such a view, there is no room whatsoever for freedom or responsible action, only paralysis.

Our view of God influences our actions. If we trust the goodness of God, we discover the joy of God’s providence everywhere.

* * *

SOURCE: “366 Days with the Lord,” ST PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: publishing@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.