Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents. . . . But he who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
–Matthew 25:16, 18
The parable of the talents teaches us an important truth: God has given us differing opportunities for service. Just as the master gave his slaves differing amounts of money to manage, so we are given differing opportunities and resources for building God’s kingdom.
That leads to the second truth in this parable: all of us respond differently to our opportunities for service. Look at Matthew 25:16: “Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents.” This slave did not say, “I know the master told me I need to work on his behalf and expand his kingdom, and I will get around to it. But first I have to rear my family. I have to make sure my finances are secure. I have to get that promotion. Then I will go out and do what the master instructed me.” No, the Bible says he immediately went about doing what he had been instructed to do.
And what did he do? He traded the talents and he gained five more talents. The Greek word for “traded” in verse 16 carries with it the idea of a continuous action. That is, he did not go out and buy five thousand lottery tickets and hit it big and say, “Well, I have done what I was supposed to do for my master. Now I can get to doing what I want to do.” No, he continually worked and worked with the money that was given to him.
Verse 17 says, “In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more.” Notice that the first two slaves did not gain the same number of talents, but they gained the same percentage of profit–they both doubled what they had been given. The issue is not “How much has God given us?” but “What we have we done with what He has entrusted to us?
But look at how the third slave responded to the opportunity he was given. Verse 18 says, “He who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.” It was very common in Jesus’s day for people to bury things of value. Today there are some people who do not trust the banks, so they hide their money under the mattress. That is what this guy did. He hid the money that was given to him so that he could go and spend his life doing what he wanted to do. But a day of reckoning was coming.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Talent Search” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2005.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org