The Meaning of the Parable of the Talents

In the Parable of the Talents, Jesus tells a story to remind His disciples — including us — to reflect on how we can multiply our God-given “talents” to glorify our Heavenly Father in the world around us.

As busy women, we often feel like we don’t have enough time or energy to do everything we want to do. 

We often feel that we have a million and one things on our to-do list:

  • Caring for family and friends
  • Working and serving in the community
  • Doing self-care and growing in our faith

And the list can go on!

Before we dive into the parable, we should discuss…

What is a talent?

In the New Testament, a “talent” was a monetary value.

As we dive into the Parable of the Talents, we can see talent as anything God has entrusted to us:

  • Time
  • Energy
  • Money
  • Possessions
  • Abilities 

It is anything you can call your own, understanding that it has come from God. Now, we should be able to better understand the meaning of the Parable of the Talents as told by Jesus in Matthew 25:14-30.

Understanding the Meaning of the Parable of the Talents

In the parable, Jesus tells a story about a man who goes on a journey, but before he leaves, he gives each of his three servants different amounts of money (talents). 

“For it is just like a man about to go on a journey. He called his own servants and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents, to another two talents, and to another one talent, depending on each one’s ability. Then he went on a journey. Immediately the man who had received five talents went, put them to work, and earned five more. In the same way the man with two earned two more. But the man who had received one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground, and hid his master’s money. ~ Matthew 25:14-17 CSB

When the man returns, he asks each servant what they did with their talents. 

“After a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received five talents approached, presented five more talents, and said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents. See, I’ve earned five more talents.’

“His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You were faithful over a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Share your master’s joy.’

“The man with two talents also approached. He said, ‘Master, you gave me two talents. See, I’ve earned two more talents.’

“His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You were faithful over a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Share your master’s joy.’ ~ Matthew 25:18-23 CSB

The first two servants tell him that they increased their talents by investing them and doubling its value. But the third servant tells him that he buried his talent because he was afraid to lose it. 

The man is angry with the third servant and scolds him.

“The man who had received one talent also approached and said, ‘Master, I know you. You’re a harsh man, reaping where you haven’t sown and gathering where you haven’t scattered seed. So I was afraid and went off and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’

“His master replied to him, ‘You evil, lazy servant! If you knew that I reap where I haven’t sown and gather where I haven’t scattered, then you should have deposited my money with the bankers, and I would have received my money back with interest when I returned.

“‘So take the talent from him and give it to the one who has ten talents. For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have more than enough. But from the one who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. And throw this good-for-nothing servant into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ ~ Matthew 14:24-30 CSB

Now, when we read this, it’s common for many of us to feel like we don’t have any talents. 

We look at other women and see them doing all sorts of amazing things and we think to ourselves, “I could never do that.” 

But that’s not what Jesus was talking about here, as we see each servant was entrusted with a “portion” that was individualized from the others:

  • The first servant was entrusted with five talents.
  • The second servant was entrusted with two talents.
  • The third servant was entrusted with one talent.

The emphasis in the story was not on the actual talents entrusted but on being a good steward, or manager of what was entrusted.

Regardless of the amount, the servants were praised by the man because they were faithful to multiply the talents they were entrusted with — whether five or two.

“…‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You were faithful over a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Share your master’s joy.’

So, what can we learn from this parable?

The Parable of the Talents Summary: As God’s children, we are all given different gifts, abilities, resources — or talents. We are to serve God and others by being a steward of our talents.

However, there are other lessons we can also learn from the Parable of the Talents.

Lessons From the Parable of the Talents

The Parable of the Talents has much to teach us about our relationship with God and our responsibility to use the talents and resources He has given us. 

Here are three more important lessons we can learn from the Parable of the Talents.

Lesson #1: About Our God

This parable teaches us that our God is a generous God who entrusts us with His resources. 

He wants us to use what He has given us to love and serve others. When we are faithful with what He has entrusted to us, He is pleased and will bless us with even more.

Not for the sake of abundance, but for the glory of His name. God knows he can trust us with more when we use our God-given talents for His gain and glory — not our own.

Lesson #2: About Our Talents

This parable also teaches us that we all have different talents, abilities, and resources. 

We are not all called to do the same things and part of our responsibility is to discern what our talents are and how we can use them to serve others. We should not compare ourselves to others or try to do something that was not intended for us. 

Instead, we should focus on using our own gifts and talents for God’s glory.

Lesson #3: About Our Responsibility

Finally, this parable teaches us that we have a responsibility to use the talents and resources God has given us wisely. 

We will be held accountable for how we use what He has entrusted to us. If we do nothing with what we have been given, or if we use it for ourselves instead of for His glory, we will suffer consequences. 

But if we are faithful stewards of His blessings, He will be pleased and will bless us with even more to glorify our Father in heaven.

Parable of the Talents Final Thoughts

Now that we know the meaning of the Parable of the Talents, the next question is “What is your talent?”  

What has God entrusted to you that you can use for His glory?  

The answer to this question will be different for everyone.  

You may have a lot of talents or you may have only a few.  You may think that you have no talents at all.  But remember, even if you think you have nothing to offer, God can use even the smallest thing for His purposes.  

Here are a few examples of talents to consider:

  • Experiencing a thriving marriage and mentoring other young couples
  • Caring for others through hospitality and inviting others to your home for fellowship and food
  • Having the patience and ability to teach, which can allow you to disciple other women as they grow in their faith
  • Owning a successful business and investing your money to further the kingdom of God in your city or abroad
  • Demonstrating empathy and taking the time to walk with another person through loss and grief
  • Using your creative abilities as a writer, designer, or crafter to multiply your God-given gifts to educate, entertain, or encourage others

Once you know what your talents are, the next step is to practice being a good steward of them.  This means using your talents wisely, for the right reasons, and to bless others — not just ourselves.  

Application: How can you take the talents God has given you and use them for His glory?

Let’s Pray…

Heavenly Father,

We thank you for the gifts and talents you have given us. Help us to be good stewards of our gifts and talents, and to use them to glorify you.

Multiply our talents, so that we may be a blessing to others. 

In Jesus’ name, we pray, Amen.

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Meet the Author:

Candice Zakariya is a writer and digital designer, who enjoys discussing how we’ve been created on purpose & w/ purpose for the glory of God. She is currently building transformative digital products, content, and community at Her Discipleship.