The parable begins with these words in verses 14-15, “For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.” The man who journeyed into a far country speaks of the Lord Jesus who, after His death and resurrection, ascended to heaven. The servants are all those who profess to know Jesus as Lord and are responsible to serve Him in His absence. The primary interpretation of this parable, like the parable of the Ten Virgins just before it, deals with Israelites living during the Tribulation period that are called upon to represent their Messiah as they wait for Him to return. But an application can also be made to believers living in the church age, for they too are waiting for Christ to return and are responsible to serve the Lord with the gifts and abilities they have been given.

Let’s read verses 16-23, “Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money. After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them. So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered unto me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’ His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’ His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord’. (NKJV) Before we look at the third servant, it is vital to see that BOTH WERE FAITHFUL and BOTH RECEIVED THE SAME WORDS OF APPROVAL. It is FAITHFUL SERVICE that the Lord is looking for. Another has said, “It is not a question of how much we have received of the Lord, but how we USE that which He has given unto us.” The main lesson in this passage is that all true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ WILL SERVE THE LORD and WILL BE PRAISED BY HIM when He returns.

Now let’s read verses 24-30, “Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went hid your talent in the ground, Look, there you have what is yours.’ But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth’.” It is clear from the language of this servant that he never really knew the Lord Jesus, and because he didn’t know him, HE NEVER SERVED HIM! The Lord exposed him for what he really was, a “wicked and lazy servant”; in other words, HE WASN”T A SERVANT AT ALL. It is solemn to think that there are many souls throughout the world who profess to know and serve the Lord Jesus, when in reality they have no love for Him and thus they don’t lift a finger to serve Him. Unlike the two faithful servants who met with the Lord’s approval and reward, the mere professor will be rebuked by the Lord and then cast into hell. His lack of service proved he had never believed on the Lord Jesus, and eternal judgment is the portion of all who refuse to believe. John 3:36 declares, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”  (199.9)  (DO)