“For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”
So much is lost in translation. We read talents, we think of abilities. And even when we think of a “talent of gold,” we rarely think of the amount in terms of what it really was. And the entire parable depends on us understanding those amounts. So let me help you with that.
The three “servants” were not so much “slaves” as “fund managers.” Here’s why. A talent of gold weighed about 75 pounds. At today’s market value, that makes the guy who had the least responsibility – one talent – responsible for about $1.4 million. That meant Mr. Two Talent had roughly $2.8 to manage, and the five-talent guy was managing around $7 million.
Sure, one guy had a lot less than the other two, but it was still a boatload of money, and the boss certainly had expectations that he’d manage it well. But why did each man get the amount he got? Each had probably proved himself in a different way. The five-talent man was likely a senior servant who had shown he could really be trusted. The two-talent man was probably “middle management.” And the one-talent man was most likely someone the boss was watching to see if he could handle a smaller amount – but still a sizable amount.
The implication of the boss’ departure was that he was going to be gone long enough for the three men to grow their respective funds. Two of the managers did good jobs – doubling their money – but the third just hid it and hoped the boss wouldn’t mind. For this, his money was taken from him and given to another to manage. And he was basically fired, removed from both his nice position in the company and the master’s presence.
Everyone in their life has at least “one bag” to manage. They have a talent or a skill, possessions, influence or money. We all have an area that God has entrusted to us, and whether or not that “bag” grows is really up to us. We can either bury our gold, or we can manage and grow it into something that honors the Lord and reflects well upon Him. If we don’t, we are told that God may remove our “bag” from us, and allow another to manage that area in our absence.
Today, pray that the Lord will reveal to you what is in your bags. Ask Him to help you make a plan to grow what He has given you, and to give you the heart and desire to follow that plan to its conclusion.
Reflection copyright © 2016 Doug DeBolt.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.