In my last post, we began to look at the Parable of the Talents and what transpired with the first two servants. In this post, we will conclude the parable by examining the third servant who was given only one talent.
The Parable of the Talents ~ Part 2
“Now the one who had received one talent came forward and said, ‘I knew you were a hard man. You harvest where you didn’t plant and gather where you didn’t sow seed. I was afraid, so I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here! Take what belongs to you!’ ‘You wicked, lazy servant!’ said his master, ‘So you knew, did you, that I harvest where I haven’t planted? and that I gather where I didn’t sow seed? Then you should have deposited my money with the bankers, so that when I returned, I would at least have gotten back interest with my capital! Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has ten. For everyone who has something will be given more, so that he will have more than enough; but from anyone who has nothing, even what he does have will be taken away. As for this worthless servant, throw him out in the dark, where people will wail and grind their teeth!’” ~ Matthew 25:24-30
We can only speculate how this last servant reasoned. All we know is that he was afraid. Perhaps this last servant was thinking only of himself. He hoped to play it safe and protect himself from his hard master, but he had accomplished nothing for him. His words to the master reveal a self-centered character. He accused his master of being hard and exploiting the labors of others. You harvest where you didn’t plant and gather where you didn’t sow seed.
His accusation was an attempt to cover up his own irresponsibility. He knew that if he were to lose the one talent, he would be punished. He may also have been so afraid that he decided to do nothing with it at all. The servant made excuses instead of realizing that, from the start, his responsibility was to serve his master to the best of his ability. To refuse to serve reveals a lack of love and little desire to accomplish anything for the master. We must not make excuses to avoid doing what God calls us to do. God truly is our Master, so we must obey him. Our time, abilities, and money aren’t really ours; we are caretakers, not owners. When we ignore, squander, or abuse what we have been given, we are rebellious and deserve to be punished.
Using the servant’s own words, the master pointed out that he had every right to harvest and gather even if he had not sown or planted. He also had every right to require that his servants fulfill their responsibilities. He had not expected much of this servant in the first place; that’s why the servant received so little. So even putting the money in the bank to earn interest would have been enough. Yet the wicked, lazy servant had not even done that.
You should have deposited my money with the bankers. Israelite’s were forbidden from charging interest to other Israelite’s (see Exodus 22:25; Leviticus 25:35-37; Deuteronomy 23:19), but it was permissible to charge interest on money loaned to Gentiles (Deuteronomy 23:20). In any case, the central point of the parable concerns the importance of being a faithful servant of all that God has entrusted to one’s care.
The master severed his relationship with this servant, took away his talent, and gave it to the one who had earned the ten talents. Yeshua had already taught this concept. From anyone who has nothing, even what he does have will be taken away ~ Matthew 13:12. This parable describes the consequences of two attitudes regarding Yeshua’s return. The person who diligently prepares for it by investing his or her time and talent to serve God will be rewarded. The person who has no heart for the work of the Kingdom will be punished. God rewards faithfulness. Those who bear no fruit for God’s Kingdom cannot expect to be treated the same as those who are faithful.
To fail to do good with what God has entrusted to us, to fail to use it to increase His Kingdom, is a grievous sin that will receive severe punishment – for it means that one never knew or loved the Master. The outside, darkness, and wailing and grinding of teeth picture hell (see Matthew 8:12; 13:42, 50; 22:13; 24:51).
Watching and waiting for the Kingdom means being prepared. Being prepared means making ready for it by increasing the glory of God in this world through good deeds. Good deeds are best performed through the talents God has given us and should be done to the best of our ability.
Can Salvation Be Lost?
This is a topic I hope to cover in more depth in future posts. But suffice it to say that this parable, seems to imply that a servant on the inside is thrown outside when judgment falls. Christian churches are divided on whether a person saved by faith in Yeshua can lose his or her salvation.
Here’s what we can know from the Bible:
There is no security apart from Yeshua. He saves us, keeps us, and promises heavenly happiness after a life of faith and service. Only Yeshua can do that. Rest only on him.
- The security we enjoy in God’s promises should not make us presumptuous. Don’t become cocky with God. Don’t assume that God must let you in, that you can demand entrance, that you have a right!
- Live each day in faith, believing in God’s great promises, dedicating your time and talent to God’s work, loving your Messianic brothers and sisters, being generous with the weak and poor. Your life is secure in Yeshua, but what you do with your day is often your own choice. Make choices that please God.
In my next blog, we will take a look at what Yeshua has to say about the Final Judgment.