He gave five talents to the first, two to the next, and one to the last–each according to his ability.
God assigns work and opportunity according to ability. We have been assigned our ministries according to the gifts and abilities God has given us. Each of us have been given a uniquely crafted gift by our Creator, and part of the fun of Christian life is discovering one’s unique gifting, and employing it in the service of others (really service to God first which will be service to others.) We therefore should not be overwhelmed in ministry, in life, but simply and faithfully serve those God has put in our lives, trusting He is at work in their hearts.
What is a talent anyway?
Well, in Jesus’ day, it was the greatest unit of accounting in Greek money–scholars say anywhere from six thousand to ten thousand denarii (depending on the region). You may remember that one denarius was a fair day’s wage (Mt.20:2). So even the servant who received “only” one talent, received approximately a whole lifetime’s wages from the very wealthy landowner. (We’ve all been given plenty, but quite honestly, differing amounts in some sense. Some have more to give, therefore, it’s not how much we give, but how we give–each according to their gifting.)
So we see the literal interpretation is money. A talent may also, metaphorically speaking, be thought of as time, though all are given the same amount each day last time I calculated. There is also the idea that a talent is any opportunity at all. This can include all the realities of work, family, play, community, and even interruptions. It can also be aptitude which is a helpful way of discovering one’s responsibility before God. Whatever a talent is, we can see from this parable that it is whatever the Lord gives now and will ask about later.
How are you using what God has given you, be it money, time, opportunity, or aptitude?
For Him? For others? For yourself?
Take away the dross from the silver, and the smith has material for a vessel;
For the smith to have silver that is usable for something great, he has to remove the impurities. This is just the way things work.
YHWH prunes us [Jn.15]. He does this in order that we can bear more fruit for Him. Bearing fruit, I believe, is simply doing good and giving God’s truth.
To be a vessel fit for the Master’s use, He removes the impurities that impede our growth and fruit-bearing. Yes, this can be painful. But the reward is greater than the pain. Always. I don’t see, from what I know of God, that He would painfully prune with little to no reward. It does not fit in with what the Bible tells us of Him.
Think of all the noise in our lives. We are in the process of simplifying our house [yard sale in June!]. I Love the book title: The Freedom of Simplicity. Possessions are just noise in our life. It’s more to think about, keep up with, worry about.
I always remember from my personal training days going to very large houses of people with many possessions, and noticing that not a week went by when there was not some repair person there, or landscaping workers, or something that was not working or needed tended to. And there was this constant low level stress it seemed of making sure everything was working as it should. And this all, of course, cost money which added to the stress. And I remember just thinking of the madness of it all. It hit me that the more you have the more that can break and frustrate you. I’m not picking on them, it was just an example, and Lord knows I have too much stuff myself. But finally, thankfully, it has lost its luster and is steadily leaving my hands and increasingly freed mind…