Parable of the Talents shows necessity of responsibility

Rich man chastised unproductive servant

This is Dutch artist Willem de Poorter’s depiction of the rich man in the Parable of the Talents evincing his displeasure toward the servant who had failed to put his money to the proper use. De Poorter lived from 1608-68. (Courtesy Photo)

Jesus told the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30 to show that people should take the abilities that God bestows and make the most of them.

A talent in that time was an 80-pound bag of gold, so it was a very rich man who before taking a trip entrusted one servant with five talents, another with two and a third with one and returned to learn that the first two servants had each doubled the money while the third had buried his and not increased it.

The first two servants were rewarded, but the third was severely chastised.

Ministers Joshua Rieff and Travis Walker say responsibilities come with gifts.

“One thing people miss here is that every human being has an intrinsically great value in their humanity, which carries the image of God,” said the Rev. Rieff, pastor of Southside Baptist Church in Monahans. “The parable mirrors the essential ability, value and power of being human, so a lot of people look at this and wonder, what talent do I have or what can I do in church?

“But it is really about more than that. The value is our complete humanity and our ability to make a difference in the world.”

Rieff said Jesus was teaching that a responsibility comes with being given the great gift of life in the image in God.

“It’s not as if you get to keep 10 bags of gold and go create your own kingdom,” he said. “The good servants are invited to share in God’s happiness in God’s kingdom.

“The reward is closeness with the king. What he wants to do is share. God shared his image with us and in the end he wants to share his happiness with us.

“He wants us to live wholehearted lives of our own with the gifts he has given us. Being given a gift and squandering it is disappointing all the way around.”

Walker, minister of Billy Hext Road Church of Christ, said God holds people accountable.

“Our abilities are our time, our talent and our treasure and we have to use them doing what God wants us to do so that people see the light of Christ through our lives and actions,” Walker said. “We are held accountable if we use our gifts in the wrong ways.”

Walker said Christians should ask themselves, “Am I doing all I can to obey God and be a light in this community to the people I interact with?”

He said many church members are too reticent to take a leadership role.

“Someone might or might not have the ability to do something, but that doesn’t mean they can’t work at it and train and get better,” Walker said. “Some are afraid of getting up in front of people, but there are other places where they could serve that are important in the church.

“It’s easy to say, ‘I’m not as talented in that area as the other person or I don’t have financial blessings like the other person.’ It’s about looking at what you have and asking, ‘What can I do with it?’

“The older we get, we might not have the same abilities that we had when we were younger.”