For it is like a man who was about to take a long journey, and he called his servants together and entrusted them with his property…. He who had received one talent also came forward, saying, Master, I knew you to be a harsh and hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you had not winnowed [the grain]. So I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is your own.- Matthew 25:14, 24-25
Jesus often gave people illustrations containing life lessons that could be applied to common situations in which most anyone can find themselves at any given time. The -Parable of the Talents is such an illustration. A talent was the type of currency used in Jesus’ day. One talent is said to have been worth more than a thousand dollars. This par¬ticular parable describes a man who gave certain amounts of money to three of his servants with the instruction to invest it.
I find two very interesting points in this story. First, the landowner distributed the money according to each person’s ability. He didn’t try to burden his workers with more than they were capable of handling. The two men to whom he gave the most money invested wisely and doubled their investments. Upon the landowner’s return, they were made full partners in the business. The second thing I realized is that the two with the most ability used it wisely and were richly rewarded. The third man—the one with the least ability—failed.
Think about this. God didn’t ask the third man to invest five talents or even three. He knew this man wasn’t capable of handling such a task. He gave the third servant the least amount of responsibility, and that man still failed. Worse, he tried to justify his failure by blaming the master! But he also said something else—and that’s the secret to understanding this story: I was afraid and hid your talent in the ground (see v. 25).
He didn’t lose the money, but he did nothing with it. And the master responded, You wicked and lazy and idle servant! (v. 26). The spirit of fear had caused the man to do nothing.
Let’s turn that around. The owner said, Then you should have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received what was my own with interest (v. 27). Suppose the man had gone to the bank and invested as the owner suggested. He would never have made as much profit as the other two. And that would have been all right, because all that the owner asked was for him to do what he could—what was reasonably expected of him.
That’s one way the devil snares us. He causes us to compare ourselves with others and see how much money or talents they have. Or he tells us other people are given more opportunities than we will ever have. But God doesn’t ask us to do what someone else does. He asks us to use the gifts and abilities that He has given to us.
I truly believe that God has a plan for each of our lives. A life lived in faith and obedience to God’s Word causes His plan to unfold before our eyes. Clutching what little we have in fear won’t allow us to fulfill God’s plan. In fact, this kind of mindset allows the devil to lie to us and cause us to give up on our dreams and God’s plan for our lives.
Fear only supplies the characteristics of the idle, lazy, and wicked servant. When we listen to the devil, we soon believe we can do nothing. He’ll convince us that everything we attempt will fail. If we listen to God, we will hear the words of the Lord: Well done, you upright (honorable, admirable) and faithful servant! You have been faithful and trustworthy over a little; I will put you in charge of much. Enter into and share the joy (the delight, the blessedness) which your master enjoys (v. 21). It is not how much we accomplish that is important, but it’s being faithful to the ability God has given us that makes the difference.
Loving and caring Father, I don’t know which of those three men I’m the most like in terms of my ability. But I pray that You will make me faithful to fulfill Your plan for my life. In the name of Your Son, Jesus, I thank You for helping me. Thank You, Lord, for helping me keep the enemy from stealing the little or the much You have given me. Amen.
From the book Battlefield of the Mind Devotional by Joyce Meyer.