The Parable of the Talents Revisited

From childhood, we have read or have heard of The Parable of the Talents or what is also sometimes called, The Parable of the Three Servants (Matthew 25: 14-30). In the story, there is a Master with three servants and to each servant, the Master entrusted part of His property according to each servant’s ability.

One servant received five talents. The second servant received two talents while the last servant received one talent. As a child, every time I would hear this story, I would always feel sorry for the servant who only received one talent.

Several years ago, however, I came across a new explanation of the parable which changed my perspective about the servant who only got one talent.

In the olden days, a “talent” was actually a coin. One talent was equivalent to 6,000 denarii (the plural form for denarius). A denarii was what an “unskilled laborer” would receive for a day’s work. Dividing 6,000 denarii with 365 days in a year therefore, assuming that the unskilled laborer, works every single day, one talent is roughly equivalent to pay for 16 and a half years of unskilled labor. Imagine getting pay for 16 and a half years without doing anything or just by being? Wouldn’t that be a big bonus? Is it any wonder now that the Master was so angry with the servant who just dug a hole and put that one talent in the ground? So, do you still feel sorry for the third servant?

If we translate the parable to modern-day Philippines, with a minimum wage of P404 a day at present, a talent (in those early days) would be like receiving about P2.4 million in one go just like that. Minimum wage of P404 multiplied by 365 days multiplied by 16.5 years. So, if someone were to hand you P2.4 million, out of the blue, one day, would you use it or just bury it in the ground?

Each person’s life is worth much more than P2.4 million. We have each received numerous gifts and talents from the Lord. If it seems crazy not to do anything with an amount of P2.4 million which we may receive, how much more if we do not use and develop the gifts and talents that have been bestowed on us? How many years have you been alive? Does God owe you any of those years?

Using the gifts and resources that we have at our disposal is the call of stewardship. We have all received talents from God, each according to one’s ability. We need to be responsible in using these gifts for as the parable goes towards the end: “…For to every person who has something, even more will be given, and he will have more than enough; but the person who has nothing, even the little that he has will be taken away from him…”

2 Responses to “The Parable of the Talents Revisited”

  1. Lina Magallanes says:

    This is one of my favorite verses Angel – it reminds me that I have a responsibility to share what I have – and the more I have, the more I need to give….
    Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts…you are a blessing to me and I am sure countless others

  2. Angel says:

    Hi Lina! Good to hear from you here. Glad to know also that this is one of your favorite verses. It is a good reminder that we must remember daily. As for sharing my thoughts, haven’t had much time recently but we do what we can. Thanks for the kind words and for being a blessing of a friend to me too.

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