Jesus Gives the Parable of the Talents

Matthew 25:14–30

14 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.
15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.
17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.
18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.
19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.
21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.
23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:
25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.
26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:
27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.
28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.
29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.
30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

President James E. Faust said:

“We are all familiar with the parable of the talents. The Master gave one five talents, another two, and another one, ‘every man according to his several ability. . . .

“‘Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.

“‘And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.

“‘But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.’

“After a long time the Master asked for an accounting. The one who had received five talents reported that he had gained an additional five talents and received the commendation, ‘Thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things.’ He that received two talents gained two other talents and also received the promise of a greater dominion. But the one who had received the one talent returned with his single talent, saying, ‘Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:

“‘And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth’ [Matt. 25:15, 16–18, 21, 24–25].

“In accounting for his stewardship, this slothful servant imputed to his master his own character flaws [see James E. Talmage, Jesus the Christ, 3rd ed. (1916), 582]. He could have at least put the money in circulation and received interest on it instead of burying it in the ground. His talent was taken from him and given to the man who had 10 talents. Then the Lord tells us, ‘For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath’ [see Matt. 25:15].

“We may wonder whether it was fair to take the talent from the one who had the least and to give it to the one who had the most. From the outset, however, the Lord explains that each man had ability [see Matt. 25:15].

“Some of us are too content with what we may already be doing. We stand back in the ‘eat, drink, and be merry’ mode when opportunities for growth and development abound. We miss opportunities to build up the kingdom of God because we have the passive notion that someone else will take care of it. The Lord tells us that He will give more to those who are willing. They will be magnified in their efforts, like the little blue engine as it pulled the train up the mountain. But to those who say, ‘We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have’ [2 Nephi 28:30].

“The Lord entrusts all of His servants . . . with spiritual talents. The Lord, who endows us with these talents, tells us: ‘I believe you can. I believe you can.’ While we are not all equal in experience, aptitude, and strength, we have different opportunities to employ these spiritual gifts, and we will all be accountable for the use of the gifts and opportunities given to us.”

(“I Believe I Can, I Knew I Could,” Ensign, Nov. 2002, 50.)

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