The Parable of Talents and Business
As business owners, it is too easy to lose ourselves and our identity within our work, success and wealth. We may even push ourselves beyond our limits and abilities, pushing forward on our own and potential against God’s calling for us. Thankful our God is gracious, and teaches us lessons throughout the Bible.
Jesus himself used parables many times in his teachings, “The Parable of The Talents” (Matthew 25:14-30 New Living Translation) is a great story for leaders and business. As with all the biblical parables, this story can have many meanings. Some may see it as a teaching on investment and proper resource management, while others may see it as a parallel between business success and living a Christian life.
In this parable, the word “talent” can have two meanings; it can be seen as both currency as well as all of the various gifts God has given us. This can include everything he blesses us with such as abilities, resources, health, education, possessions, and opportunities.
Here are 5 things I learned about purpose and business from “The Parable of The Talents”:
God equips us with what we need to succeed.
“The servant to whom he had entrusted the five bags of silver came forward with five more and said, ‘Master, you gave me five bags of silver to invest, and I have earned five more. The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!” (Matthew 25:20-21 NLT)
The master entrusted each servant with the means to be productive. Similarly, God expects us to use our talents and gifts productively. This can easily be applied to finances and business, being faithful with what God gives us allows Him to bless us with more. For us to acquire more talents, in whatever form that may be, we must show ourselves obedient with what we currently have.
Our abilities are not equal.
“He gave five bags of silver to one, two bags of silver to another, and one bag of silver to the last—dividing it in proportion to their abilities.” (Matthew 25:15 NLT)
The master gave each according to his ability, knowing that the one-talent servant was not capable of producing as much as the five-talent servant. He knew each servant had different abilities. While we may see this as harsh or unfair, we know that each of us has been blessed with different gifts and talents.
God is wise, He knows our strengths and our weaknesses, and knows that we do not have equal abilities. Within our lifetime, we will be called to different positions and shouldn’t compare ourselves with others. All of our talents are important; God makes us “managers” according to our “manageability.” Just like the master, God gives equally according to our ability and measures success by our efforts. God entrusts responsibility to us, and we must remember that not all of us are equally responsible. CEO’s, managers, and team leaders all require different talents and levels of responsibility.
He will be hold us responsible and accountable
“But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.” (Matthew 25:29 NLT)
In this parable the unfaithful steward wasted a God-given opportunity. As a result, he was deemed lazy, and had his talents taken away. Just like the servants, we are responsible for what God has given us, and we will be held responsible. It is possible that many of us don’t make the most of what we’ve been given and could one day have what’s left taken away. Whatever God blesses us with, we will be held accountable for our actions and faithfulness.
We are expected to work in order to succeed.
“To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance…” (Matthew 25:29 NLT)
Biblical abundance isn’t about wealth and success, though those can be a by-product of our obedience. We are meant to use all the talents God has given us to work diligently, glorify Him, serve others and further His kingdom. God commands us to be productive and use our talents wisely. This parable emphasizes the importance of work and creativity as opposed to a life of idleness and fear.
We work for God.
“He called together his servants and entrusted his money to them while he was gone.” (Matthew 25:14 NLT)
The money that is given to the servants is not their own, and the money earned was not theirs to keep. Similarly, what we are blessed with does not belong to us. The gifts and talents we are given should be used to honor God, not used for our own reasons. We will feel satisfaction, joy and fulfillment from doing our best with what God has given us.
However you choose to interpret “The Parable of The Talents”, we know that God expects us to use our God-given gifts and abilities wisely. This includes in the work force, church, mission field and at home. So many people miss opportunities to do something purposeful and significant with their gifts because they fear failure. God intends for us to be ambitious and blesses those that are faithful.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved