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As Jesus was finishing up with Zachaeus He moves right into telling them a parable of the ten talents.While they were listening to this, he went on to tell them a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once. He said: "A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten talents. 'Put this money to work,' he said, 'until I come back.'
The plan is set in motion. The master made an investment in his servants desiring for each of them to make that investment grow.
"But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, 'We don't want this man to be our king.' "He was made king, however, and returned home. Then he sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it.
NOTE the similarities between the story of the man who was seeking to be king and Jesus' own situation. He, too, was hated by the leaders and seeking to be king. I can't help but think that Jesus has an underlying meaning about Himself in this parable.
Three of his servants' experiences with their investment are shared here: The first one came and said, 'Sir, your talents have earned ten more.' 'Well done, my good servant!' his master replied. 'Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.'
The second came and said, 'Sir, your talents have earned five more.' His master answered, 'You take charge of five cities.'
Then another servant came and said, 'Sir, here is your talent; I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth. I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man. You take out what you did not put in and reap what you did not sow.' His master replied, 'I will judge you by your own words, you wicked servant! You knew, did you, that I am a hard man, taking out what I did not put in, and reaping what I did not sow? Why then didn't you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?'
Then he said to those standing by, 'Take his talent away from him and give it to the one who has ten talents.' 'Sir,' they said, 'he already has ten!' He replied, 'I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them-bring them here and kill them in front of me.'"
Whatever else is going on in this familiar parable, here are some bottom-line principles that must be taken away from this parable. Remember, we are looking for what this teaches about the Kingdom and nothing more.
FIRST-In the Kingdom the King gives out talents to everyone. Most likely this is more than money and wealth, but also personal giftedness.
SECOND-The King expects each person to put these talents to work. Our talents-money and giftedness-are to be used wisely to grow or increase what they have been given.
THIRD-The King is looking for each of his servants to take the risk of expending what he has been given and not holding on to it.
FOURTH-If the talents aren't used, then the person will suffer loss, because even what he has will be given away.
Maybe the most important lesson from this parable is that the King expects each of us servants to obey him. This all seems to be right in line with what the Kingdom is all about. It has nothing to do with accumulating more and more. It does have to do with following orders and doing exactly what the King says.
You see, all we have and all we are is totally from the King. Therefore whatever the King asks of us to do or say must be followed. As long as we are being obedient in the lifestyle of the Kingdom-using what we've been given for the King and the Kingdom-then all is well and we live in the joy of our Master, the King. However, when we are disobedient in the lifestyle of the Kingdom-not proactively using what we have been given, then all we have is loss.
I like to think of it like this: 1. Use it-all that you have been given. 2. Use it for the Kingdom. 3. Use it for the Kingdom all the time. 4. Use it for the Kingdom all the time or you'll surely lose it.