Lesson: Parable of the Talents

Scripture: Matthew 25:14-30


The parable of the talents is a parable about what God expects us to do.  As many of us enter the society after the completion of our education, we have to face the question of how to be a faithful servant of the Lord.  Should we all become ministers?  Is there anything wrong with making money instead of entering ministry?  How do we know whether we are doing enough for the Lord or not?

Symbolism:

     * talent - literally, it is a weight measurement, so the actual value depends on what metal it refers to.  For gold, it is well over one thousand dollars.  This word just so happens to be the same word as ability and in the parable it also symbolizes one's ability.

Some Points of Interest:

     * huge amount of money -- the master really trusted the servants: one talent is a rather big amount to ask a servant to keep.
assigning the amount based on ability -- the master really knows his servants' abilities, and he does not ask for more than they can handle.
     * leaving the country -- Jesus is away in Heaven but promised to return one day.
     * amount of money made is proportional to the amount given -- the first two servants both did their best but the second one made less because he was given less to begin with.  Their rewards other than the money, however, were identical.
the suggestion of putting the money in the bank -- this is the least one can do.

Discussion Questions:

1. The master knows the abilities of his servants.  Why is this point mentioned explicitly?  What does this tell us about what God expects of us?  Does He know our abilities?  Is He sometimes the source of our abilities?
2. Why is the master equally happy with the first and second servants, even though the second servant only made two instead of five talents?
3. Why is the last servant called "wicked and slothful?"  Is it because of his lack of ability?  Do you think the master was fair in calling him that way?
4. If you were the one with the one talent, and you know that you are not good at making money, what can you do?  How can you be a good and faithful servant despite your lack of ability?
5. What does it mean to put the money in the bank?  What does the bank do?  What is the analogy for us today?
6. How do we know how much ability we have been given?
7. Are our abilities set and unchangeable, or can some of them be improved or expanded by other efforts?
8. Why did the master give the one talent to the servant who already has ten?  Isn't this taking the money from the poor and give to the rich?
9. The Bible tells us about different positions and gifts.  What does this imply about our career choices?

This lesson was developed by George Huang.  Got a question or want to publish this lesson?  E-mail me.

Last updated: 2/10/2000