Sheepdogs, we will meet tonight at 7pm for our study and group discussion. We will discuss Matthew 25:14-30 "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."

Bible Gateway passage: Matthew 25:14-30 - English Standard Version
The Parable of the Talents - “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once…

Anyone who wants to lift weights tonight, show up at 6pm for an upper body workout. Bench press, dumbbell work, pullups, biceps, triceps, shoulder press, shrugs, abs, and lower back. We will set up a circuit based on the number of guys.

The Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30)

One of Jesus’ most significant parables regarding work is set in the context of investments (Matt. 25:14-30). A rich man delegates the management of his wealth to his servants, much as investors in today’s markets do. He gives five talents (a large unit of money) to the first servant, two talents to the second, and one talent to the third. Two of the servants earn 100 percent returns by trading with the funds, but the third servant hides the money in the ground and earns nothing. The rich man returns, rewards the two who made money, but severely punishes the servant who did nothing.

The meaning of the parable extends far beyond financial investments. God has given each person a wide variety of gifts, and he expects us to employ those gifts in his service. It is not acceptable merely to put those gifts on a closet shelf and ignore them. Like the three servants, we do not have gifts of the same degree. The return God expects of us is commensurate with the gifts we have been given. The servant who received one talent was not condemned for failing to reach the five-talent goal; he was condemned because he did nothing with what he was given. The gifts we receive from God include skills, abilities, family connections, social positions, education, experiences, and more. The point of the parable is that we are to use whatever we have been given for God’s purposes. The severe consequences to the unproductive servant, far beyond anything triggered by mere business mediocrity, tell us that we are to invest our lives, not waste them.

Yet the particular talent invested in the parable is money, on the order of a million U.S. dollars in today’s world. In modern English, this fact is obscured because the word talent has come to refer mainly to skills or abilities. But this parable concerns money. It depicts investing, not hoarding, as a godly thing to do if it accomplishes godly purposes in a godly manner. In the end, the master praises the two trustworthy servants with the words, “Well done, good and trustworthy slave” (Matthew 25:23). In these words, we see that the master cares about the results (“well done”), the methods ("good”), and the motivation (“trustworthy”).

More pointedly for the workplace, it commends putting capital at risk in pursuit of earning a return. Sometimes Christians speak as if growth, productivity, and return on investment were unholy to God. But this parable overturns that notion. We should invest our skills and abilities, but also our wealth and the resources made available to us at work, all for the affairs of God’s kingdom. This includes the production of needed goods and services. The volunteer who teaches Sunday school is fulfilling this parable. So are the entrepreneur who starts a new business and gives jobs to others, the health service administrator who initiates an AIDS-awareness campaign, and the machine operator who develops a process innovation.

God does not endow people with identical or necessarily equal gifts. If you do as well as you can with the gifts given to you by God, you will hear his “Well done.” Not only the gifts, but also the people have equal worth. At the same time, the parable ends with the talent taken from the third servant being given to the one with ten talents. Equal worth does not necessarily mean equal compensation. Some positions require more skill or ability and thus are compensated accordingly. The two servants who did well are rewarded in different amounts. But they are both praised identically. The implication of the parable is that we are to use whatever talents we’ve been given to the best of our ability for God’s glory, and when we have done that, we are on an equal playing field with other faithful, trustworthy servants of God.

For a discussion of the highly similar parable of the ten minas see "Luke 19:11-27"

Bible Gateway passage: Luke 19:11-27 - English Standard Version
The Parable of the Ten Minas - As they heard these things, he proceeded to tell a parable, because he was near to Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately. He said therefore, “A nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and then r…
What Is the Parable of the Talents?

What does Matthew 25:29 mean?

Some have called the principle detailed by Jesus in this verse the "kingdom rule." He has described it once before in Matthew when the disciples asked Jesus why He was teaching the crowds in parables instead of explaining the truth in detail, as He did with them. That is found in Matthew 13:11–12 (The Parable of the Sower), where it reads very much like this verse:

Bible Gateway passage: Matthew 13:1-23 - New International Version
The Parable of the Sower - That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he…
"To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away."

Within the context of this parable, the principle makes even more sense. The one with ten talents has been the most productive with what he has been given by the master (Matthew 25:16). The one with one talent did absolutely nothing with it. If the master wants the most gain from his investment, he should take that one talent and give it to the one who has the most.

The principle illustrates an important truth for followers of Christ: It matters that we make much of what He gives to us for His good. It matters both for us and to Him. Those who trust in Jesus, work for Jesus (John 14:15). Those who work for Jesus are rewarded with more opportunities to serve Him and make good use of what they have been given. Those who refuse to work for Him, on the other hand, are just pretending to be His servants (Matthew 25:30).

Context Summary
Matthew 25:14–30 compares the kingdom of heaven to three servants of a wealthy master. Each was given resources—the master's assets—and commanded to do business with them while he is away. Two of the servants apply the supplied funds and double the sums of money the master leaves with them. They are richly rewarded when he comes back. The third servant buries the money and does nothing with it out of supposed fear of the master. The master condemns his laziness and evil, casting him out. Jesus' servants must work diligently for Him while waiting for His return, not wasting the talents and resources which they have been given.

Chapter Summary
Jesus uses two additional parables to illustrate a state of constant readiness for His return after He has gone. His followers should be working for Him while they wait. They must not be like the foolish young women who missed a wedding feast because they forgot oil for their lamps. They must be like the servants who doubled their harsh master's investments while He was away. Jesus concludes with a third descriptive passage, showing how He will judge between the righteous and evil when He returns as King.