Matt 25:14-39 “For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them. 15 To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey. 16 Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents. 17 In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more. 18 But he who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
I love the parable of the talents. Jesus was trying to explain to His disciples the idea of His coming kingdom, and he used this story to make his point. As a young Christian, I always thought the talent referred to a physical ability we possessed, and I needed to use my talents for Him. While the general idea is true, I was a bit confused.
The Biblical talent was a unit of measure. There were a couple variations of the talent…the Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and Babylonian versions were all a bit different. But in general it was about 142 pounds. So what exactly did the man give his servants? 142 pounds of what? It the times of Christ precious metals were commonly given in this way. It’s really difficult to know the value of a certain metal so long ago, but let’s take a look at three commonly traded metals, and their values today (April 14th 2012).
- 1 talent of copper = $8,288
- 1 talent of silver = $71,733
- 1 talent of gold = $3,794,817
The point is, it was a huge amount of money the man gave his servants, and each was expected to use it to the best off their abilities.
How does this apply to us today? I believe that God gives each person a number of abilities. He does not judge us by the abilities we have. It’s not fair to compare a singer to a mechanic to a computer programmer to a doctor. That would be comparing apples to oranges. After He gives us our abilities, I believe he gives us opportunities, jobs, homes, other possessions, paychecks, etc. These are our Biblical talents, and we will be judged on how we use them.
The verses following this story tell us how we are to use them:
34 “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’