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Scriptures use the figure of a master entrusting something to his servants and then unexpectedly returning to take an account of what he had entrusted. This is the symbol of Christ having come to earth to entrust us with His commands and then returning at the time of our death or at the end of the world to demand an accounting from us.  

Christ shows Himself to be a patient man. He gives but does not demand an immediate return. He waits. 

To one He gave 5, to another two, and the the third, one talent. Talents are whatever God has given us. It could be time, speech, wealth, authority, spiritual knowledge, husband or wife, marriage, children, illness or health. 

The faithful servants, those who received five and two, are said to have IMMEDIATELY transacted business; they did not delay. The unfaithful servant with the one talent delayed; in fact did nothing.  

To transact business means that the faithful servants immediately used the things they had received from God in accordance to the commands of Christ, i.e., they used them in a manner pleasing to God. While the unfaithful servant is said to have buried the talent under the ground, that is, he used it to please himself by indulging in worldliness, symbolized by the earth. 

How do you earn profits from your talent? By using whatever God has given you in a manner that is PERFECTLY pleasing to God. Because if it is only partially pleasing to God it does not earn profits. This is to be perfect as the heavenly Father is perfect--we have to do things in a manner perfectly pleasing to God. 

For beginners in the spiritual life, when they try to please God, they at first do not succeed for lack of knowledge and practice. This does not earn them profits. But if they persevere they will eventually earn their extra talent. 

Faithful servants double their talents. What if you have five and earned only one? This would be equivalent to burying four talents and could be as displeasing to God as in the case of the third servant. 

Christ rebukes the third servant saying he should have loaned the talent to bankers who could earn profits for Him. If you  have knowledge of the commands of Christ and don't want to obey them, then at least teach them to others who will  obey them and thus produce profits. If the others do not obey too, you have not given them to bankers. Would you give your wealth to others who will not use it for good works? Of course not. There lies the defect of the unfaithful servant. He would not give it to the bankers. 

To those who had five and two talents and had doubled their talents, more talents were given to them. But to the lazy lout who had one, even the one that was given was taken away from him. Since talents are needed to go to heaven, what chance will he have? For the unfaithful servant, because he was neglectful, he really never had the talent. God never gives talents to those who He foresees will not double it anyway. 

Let us find out what God has given us all these years. And let us try to find out how we used these things. If we have buried the talents, let us dig them out and use them in a manner pleasing to God so that we may earn profits. And we must do it now...before He comes.


Blessed Theoplylact: On Matthew





(updated 02-09-02)

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