16 Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. 17 And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. 18 But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money.
The parable of the talents is a trilogy of three parables that encourage us to love the Lord’s appearing. We look forward to the day our faithfulness to Him is rewarded by His pleasure at what we’ve done for Him.
Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents.
The Lord’s gift to the five-talent person was beneficial because he invested those sums of money and made a profit of five more talents.
And likewise he who had received two gained two more also.
The two-talent person gained profit as well, but with lesser capacity. He was just as faithful as the person with five talents. He doubled his master’s money just as well as the first servant had.
But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money.
The third slave had a fear of failure. He did not risk his resources; he didn’t even attempt to invest his capital. He hid his talent in the ground, a common practice in that day. Anxiety paralyzed his risk point of reference. This is an issue of not putting trust in the Lord. Insecurity always goes towards refuge. Safety inevitably takes priority over risk.
God does not expect us to do what others with greater capacity can do. All He expects is for us to do what we can with what we have. Nothing more, nothing less. There is no justification for cowering in fear, because God gives us the capacity to do what He asks of us.
If we are faithful in a few things, God will entrust us with many things.
Disciples fall into two categories—unfaithful and faithful. Faithful servants put their gifts and talents to work for the Lord. Unfaithful servants hide their abilities. If we do not use our capacities, we may blunt our service for the Lord. The Lord ultimately took the unfaithful servant’s talent from him.
Wasted opportunity is heartbreak. John Greenleaf Whittier wrote these words that sum up the point of the principle: “For all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these; ‘It might have been!’” We need to buy up every opportunity to serve the Lord.
Eph 5:15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time [the Greek says literally—buying up every opportunity], because the days are evil.