The Parable of the Talents

Lent 5 Bible Study April 1, 2020

Mt 25:14-30

14 “For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; 15 to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents. 17 In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. 18 But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. 20 Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ 22 And the one with the two talents also came forward, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me two talents; see, I have made two more talents.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents. 29 For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 30 As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

Yet again, we meet virtually via the internet. The format is not favorable to discussion and we are not technologically talented enough to zoom or Face Time or Skype to get the chat flowing. I have therefore decided to write reflection questions to help us think about the text and to ponder the implications for our lives today.

I see three main categories: the three types of slaves who are given “talents”, the master who does not feel like the cozy good shepherd looking for lost sheep, and the role of time.

SLAVES

  1. “Slave” is a pretty loaded word in the US due to the history of slavery and abuse to people “different.” Yet, as Jesus tells this parable, it is clear that we are the “slave” and not the “master.” Ouch.
  2. How does that resonate within your soul?
  3. What are the advantages of being a slave of Christ? Can you name three?
  4. Are there disadvantages? Can you name three?

PROPERTY/TALENTS

  1. The slaves are entrusted with property, “talents,” as the master leaves on a journey. What “talent, property” has God entrusted you with? Now ask a spouse or friend what talents they think God has entrusted you with. Sometimes we need the “mirror” of community to see ourselves honestly. Can you list at least three talents?

MASTER

  1. The man, the identified later as the Master, we would understand to be God. What do you think the expectations for “care” might have been in giving the talents to the slave?                                                       B. What might faithfulness look like in caring for someone else’s property?

TIME

  1. The master seems to disappear for a “long period of time.” Unlike other parables, he is not sending emesaries to collect rent nor does he send his son trying to reason with the tenants. The parable is about a time of accounting. I note that it is individual. I note there are rewards and punishments that go beyond the fact of relationship. It is a somber story for those of us who would like to think being a “good person” in our own eyes will be good enough for God. Soooo, thirdly I would note that the five talents doubled is praised the same as the two talents doubled. IE it is not the work that is rewarded but the faithfulness and seriousness of the slave about serving the master. It is the lazy slave who assumes characteristics about the master that are not true and does nothing about it. He takes the master for granted.
  2. My last thought is to ask myself if I know anyone who might be hiding talent for fear? How could I encourage them about the character of God and the joy (despite the work) of investing his/her talents.

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