The parable of the talents illustrates the individual responsibility of every Christian to serve God. Christian living is much more than saying, “I accept Jesus.” We are to demonstrate our salvation by service through our works. (James 2:17-26). Remember that Jesus, himself, was called a servant. (See Matthew 12:18; Acts 3:13, 26; Acts 4:27, 30.) Therefore, should not his followers be servants of God as well?
Our first responsibility is to our families. “But if someone does not provide for his own, especially his own family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”(1 Timothy 5:8)
Whatever we have left of time and means, we are to use to help the Lord’s cause and his people. The Apostle Paul encourages us in Romans 12:6-8 “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.”
The Christian with one talent buried it in the earth. He used his abilities and resources to gain earthly pleasures and goals. He was called an “unprofitable servant” and was disappointed with his reward.
The five and two talented servants both received the same reward. Matthew 25:21, 23, “His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’”
An important lesson here is if we faithfully use what little we have, the Lord is pleased. But the one with more talents has more responsibility. “From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.” (Luke 12:48)
We are to measure ourselves against the scriptural standard. It is earthly thinking to compare ourselves to others – in order to feel right with God. We need to ask ourselves, “Am I doing all I can to serve the Lord?”
In explaining our spiritual reward, the Apostle Paul compares it to what we see in the heavens. “There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead.” (1 Corinthians 15:41, 42) The variations in believers we see on earth will continue in heaven.