Our Talents
Lesson 23

In speaking to His disciples about His return, Jesus had given them some signs, that when they saw these, they might know that the time was near. He had then warned them to watch and be ready, as they knew not the exact time of His coming. He then continued by showing them through a parable the true meaning of what it means to watch for His coming. The time is not to be spent in idle waiting, but in diligent work. The parable He used to teach this lesson is the parable of the talents.

The parable opens by telling of a man traveling to a far country, who called his servants and delivering unto them his goods, dividing the goods among them, giving to one more and others lesser amounts.

1. What did the servant do who received the five talents?

Matthew 25:16

2. What were the results of his use of his master’s goods?

Matthew 25:16

3. Who is represented by the man traveling to a far country?

Mark 13:34

4. What has He given to every man?

Mark 13:34

Whether or not men choose to recognize the fact, they are all, both believers and unbelievers, Christ’s blood-bought property, though Christ’s claim upon them is not recognized by all. This parable, however, is speaking only to those who profess to have accepted Christ’s service as His own servants.

5. Why are we not our own?

1 Corinthians 6:20

6. With what were we purchased?

1 Peter 1:18–19

7. What does this put us under obligation to do?

2 Corinthians 5:15

Note: Each individual has his place in which to serve. We are each to work in cooperation with Christ for the salvation of souls. Just as surely as there is a place prepared for us in heaven, there is a special place on earth where God designs we will do a work for Him.

All of our talents, whether these talents are acquired, natural or spiritual, are to be employed in Christ’s service. In becoming His disciples, we surrender ourselves and all that we are to Him and these gifts He returns to us purified and ready to be used to His glory in blessing to others. However, regardless of the talents we may have, if we are not connected to Christ, if the Holy Spirit is not working through us, no hearts will be reached. Of all the gifts heaven gives to men, the most highly to be prized is that of the Spirit. Those, who by this connection allow for the working of the Spirit in their lives, become channels for the outworking of the highest influence in the universe.

8. According to what standard were the talents distributed?

Matthew 25:15

Note: All are not given the same abilities, but to each some talent has been given, through the proper use of which, others may be drawn to Christ. God does not require of the one with few talents what he does of those whose talents are many. For, “it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.” 2 Corinthians 8:12

9. What did the servant who received the least number of talents do?

Matthew 25:18

Note: It was the one with the smallest gift who left his talent unimproved. This example is given as a warning to all who would be tempted to feel that just because their endowments are small they are excused from service to Christ. Some are inclined to believe that if they could do some great work, they would gladly carry it forward; but because they can serve only in little things, they are justified in doing nothing.

10. What does faithfulness in small things indicate about our character?

Luke 16:10

Note: The man who neglected to improve his one talent proved himself an unfaithful servant. Had he received five talents he would have buried them as he buried the one. His misuse of the one talent showed he despised the gifts of heaven. Only by faithfulness in little things are we trained to act with faithfulness in larger responsibilities. There is a record of more miracles performed by the hand of Elisha than by any other prophet; but before Elisha began his work as a prophet, he faithfully ministered as a servant to Elijah. 1 Kings 19:21

11. When the master returned, what did He say to the servant with the five talents?

Matthew 25:21 (First part)

Note: The work done reveals the character of the worker. It is faithfulness in loving service that wins the divine approval.

12. What happened to the servant who hid his talent?

Matthew 25:30

13. When Christ returns and all nations are gathered before Him, how many groups will He recognize?

Matthew 25:31–33

At the conclusion of the parable of the talents, Christ pictured to His disciples the scene of the great judgment day. In doing so, He represented its decision as turning on but one point. When the nations are gathered before Him, there will be but two classes, and their eternal destiny will be determined by what they have done or have neglected to do for Him in the person of the poor and the suffering. See Matthew 25:34–45.

14. Will all receive the same reward?

Luke 19:15–19

15. Will all be punished alike?

Luke 12:47–48

16. Can we earn our salvation by good works?

Ephesians 2:8–9

17. According to Paul, what is the basis of our reward?

1 Corinthians 3:8

18. When Christ comes, upon what will our destiny depend?

Revelation 22:12

Note: While our good works cannot earn our salvation, neither will we be saved without them. To be an idler in the Lord’s vineyard is to relinquish all title to the reward of the righteous.

We often hear it said that it is what Jesus has done for us, and not anything that we can do for ourselves, that will secure a place for us in heaven. While in one sense this may be true, in another it is not true. There is a work for us to do to fit ourselves for the society of angels. We must be like Jesus, free from the defilement of sin. He was all that He requires us to be; He was a perfect pattern. “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth.” 1 Peter 2:21

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