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Abilities + Opportunities = Productivity

One of the more well know parables that Jesus taught was the parable of the talents found in Matt. 25:14-30.  We see in this parable that there is a man about to travel to a far country and distribute his goods among his servants.  We also see the number of talents was given “according to his own ability” vs.15.  One servant was given 5 talents, another servant 2, and the last servant given one.

We see in vs. 16-17 that the servant with 5 talents immediately traded and gained 5 more or double his master’s talents.  The servant with 2 talents did the same and doubled his master’s talents.  The servant with one talent dug a hole in the ground, and hid his master’s talent.

Vs.19 says after a long time the master came back and settled accounts with them.  In vs. 20-23 both the servants with 5 talents and 2 talents showed the master that they doubled their master’s talent, and the master was pleased. 

Vs. 24- 30 speaks about the master’s reaction to the servant with one talent.  This servant was scared to lose his masters talent, because he knew him to be a hard man, so he told the master how he protected it by hiding it in the ground.  The master was very displeased with the servant’s lack of effort and threw him out to a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Here are some points we can take from this parable:

  1. Main points of the parable:
    1. Be faithful in using the opportunities for service, which the Lord has given us.
    2. Diligence is rewarded, and negligence is punished.
  2. Other points noted:
    1. Whatever we have, whether opportunities or abilities, belongs to God.  We may possess them, but God owns them; we are simply stewards- Matt. 25:15.
    2. The Lord grants us opportunities for service in keeping with our ability to make use of them- Matt. 25:15.  God knows our abilities and thru His wisdom will give to us as needed.  The number of talents you have will not matter on Judgement day, but the question will be, “Have you been faithful in your use of the talents?”
    3. Those who do nothing with the talents God has given them are “wicked and lazy” servants and have no excuse- Matt 25:25-26.
    4. The sin of “Omission” is just as bad as the sin of “Commission.” Those who do evil will experience “wailing and gnashing of teeth”- Matt.13:41-42.  But those who do nothing will also experience “wailing and gnashing of teeth- Matt.25:30.

One of the main points from this parable is to be productive where the Lord has given YOU ability and opportunity!

This often raises the question, what are my talents?  How do I determine my talents?

  1. Remember that not all of us have the same talents, and the number of talents may be different.  Some may have one talent, and some may have 5 talents.  The Lord gives “to each according to his own ability.”  You may only have one talent your whole life, or you may start off with one talent and develop 5 more.  The key is to find or recognize your talent or talents and develop them.  Paul speaks of the body in Romans

12:3-8- “We have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function” vs.4.  In vs. 6 we are told to “exercise them accordingly”, vs. 7- “if service, then serve, or he who teaches, in his teaching, or exhorts, in exhortation, he who gives, with liberality” and so on.  Some teach, other serve but everyone has “gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us”

  1. Some “Talents” are easier to determine than others…
    1. In some cases our abilities are evident- inherited or passed down by generation.
    2. But some abilities might at first be “hidden”- teaching or preaching… some talents lie dormant waiting to be awaken.
  2. Determining one’s talent may be a game of trial and error. Try different areas for service to see which ones might come naturally but be willing to stretch your comfort zone.  Try them again and again… some talents will develop through hard work.  Seeking counsel from others will assist you with finding your strengths and weaknesses.  Sometimes others can see you better than we see ourselves.  We often underestimate our abilities. 
    1. Solomon praised the value of receiving counsel:
      1. Prov. 11:14- “Where there is no guidance the people fall, but in abundance of counselors there is victory.”
      2. Prov. 12:15- “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise.”

Through such personal diligence and advice from others, one can gain insight into the abilities and opportunities that the Lord has given us. Scripture is very clear that God has given US ALL talents/abilities to serve in His kingdom.  According to this parable, if we are going to be prepared for the return of the Lord, then it’s very obvious that we need to be productive in His kingdom.  Will He say “well done good and faithful servant” or “You wicked and lazy servant”… What He will say depends on your service in kingdom.  Abilities + Opportunities= Productivity…

Craig Hecht