The Parable of the Talents

In the 25th chapter of Matthew, right in the middle of it, in verses 14 through 30, Jesus teaches a lesson about money distribution. It’s actually peculiar. It’s re-distribution of wealth to those who have more! Some people who get to the end of the passage may scratch their heads and wonder why He would do such a thing.

Add to this interesting parable the fact that the Parable of the Labourers in the Vineyard, found in Matthew 20:1-16, may appear on the surface to contradict the lesson our Saviour was trying to teach in Matthew 25. I do not believe this is the case, and I will explain my line of thinking.

In the Parable of the Talents, which I refer to as being about the re-distribution of wealth, Christ teaches us that we are all endowed with certain resources at birth, in this case represented by talents, which was an ancient conception of money. In life, everyone has these, to varying extents: health, opportunity, ability or skill. This parable, though, teaches us that not every one of us invests his or her resources wisely. Sad though it is, some of us will even bury it in the sand, figuratively (v. 25). In concluding this parable, Jesus simply says that those who manage well what they have been endowed with will be blessed with more. Is this fair? No. But the point here is that at the start of life, though we receive different blessings, we can choose to fully employ those blessings, or we can decide to let them rot. We have freedom of choice. And we have freedom to reject Jesus as Lord. Humans are not automatons.

In the Parable of the Labourers in the Vineyard, the Lord teaches that even those who come to work at the eleventh hour got the same denarius as their wage as those who worked from the crack of dawn. The point, I believe, that Christ was trying to teach us is about salvation. We can only be saved in Him, no matter our background or upbringing. Jesus’ salvation is sufficient no matter what season or time in our lives we come to accept Him as Saviour, no matter the sins we have committed, or even that we will commit in the future. The ransom from the grave Christ has dispensed for us was paid in full. After all, even the thief on the cross will see Jesus in paradise (Lk. 23:43). Yes, we could be more fruitful before our deathbed if we come to Him. Yet the fact remains, Christ always comes to us with welcoming arms, patiently and expectantly waiting for us to draw near to Him. Just think of the Parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15…

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