One of the captivating parables in the Bible which is very practical in orienting Christians about our attitude to work is the parable of the talents recorded in Matthew 25:14-30. This parable is also one about the Kingdom of heaven. It teaches great lessons about how Christians are to manage resources that are entrusted to their stewardship.
The master who was travelling gave talents to three different servants to work with. It is not categorically stated in most of the English versions of the Bible that the master gave them the talents to work with but that is implied. Moreover, the nineteenth verse makes that fact clear by stating that: “Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them.” It is only when one has been given a precise responsibility that accountability will be required of that one.
So, the first two gave good accounts of themselves because they had traded with what was given to them and had made profitable returns on the capital that was given to them. However, for the long period of time that the master was away, one of the servants did not trade with the capital he was given. They were given the talents according to their abilities and so the master knew what he was capable of doing with the one talent that was given to him. However, he rather kept the capital and gave it back to the master without adding any value to it.
These are the words of the master to those who worked with what they were given and made gains: “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). Now listen to what the master said to the one who returned the capital without trading with it to make extra gains: ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth’ (Matthew 25:27-30).
Eventually, the servant who thought the best way to manage the capital that was entrusted to him was to return it to the master without working with it was punished. Not only was the capital taken away from him and given to another who was found more trustworthy; the master ordered that he should be cast into outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.
It is obvious that in the estimation of the master, the servant who failed to make gains on the capital that was given to him did not do well. His action was not good and he was rather described as wicked and slothful. It appears that God delights in profitable habits and punishes unprofitable conducts. And obedience matters to Him more than sacrifices, as stated in 1Samuel 15:22: “But Samuel replied: “Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.”
Does it mean that anyone who gives his or her capital to God in a form of offering, whether through the church or a pastor or to meet any other cause will be punished by God for misapplying the capital, since that would amount to a sacrifice in disobedience?
Please, share your thoughts with me.