Matthew 25:14-30 contains the parable of the talents. In this story, a man is about to go on a long journey to a faraway country. Before he leaves, he calls three of his servants and gives them each a certain number of “talents” (varying amounts of money). While the master was away, the servants were responsible for these investments. One servant received five talents, which he used to gain five more. Another received two, and also doubled his total by gaining two more. The third servant received only one talent. Rather than trading like the other two, he buried the money to keep it safe. When the master returned from his journey, he praised the two servants who had used his investment wisely, and condemned the one who did not.
While the word is never used, this parable depicts three stewards. A steward is someone who is responsible for something which belongs to someone else.
Gifts from God
Christians understand that every good thing is a gift from God (James 1:17), and He has given us many good things. He provides for our basic needs (Matthew 6:25–34) and blesses us with relationships (Proverbs 27:9; Psalm 128:3). In Colossians 1:15–20 Paul explains who Jesus Christ is and what He has done for us. Here we read that all Christians have been created by Him (v. 16), are sustained by Him (v. 17), and have been saved by Him (v. 20). None of these have been earned; they all have been given out of God’s gracious love.
In God’s infinite grace, He has also given each believer spiritual gifts. “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (1 Peter 4:10). These gifts are given so that we might serve. Not all Christians have the same gifting (Romans 12:6-8), but we all have been given the ideal gifts so that we may best serve one another and our God.
In the parable, the talents represent all that God has given to us. A good steward is one who understands that all they have is a gift from God. It is someone who knows that God has given them life and saved them from their rebellion against Him. As a result, they put aside their desires in order to serve Him.
Beware of taking God’s gifts and burying them in the ground. When we seek to use His gifts for His glory, we can longingly anticipate the day when He returns and we will hear: “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master” (Matthew 25:21).
— Erik Rasmussen