I don't get this one parable


#1

There’s a parable in one of the Gospels that involves a man with three servants who goes away and leaves his first servant with five coins, his second servant with two coins, and his third servant with one coin. The first two servants go out and end up doubling the amount of coins they got, but the third servant simply buried his coin. When the man was back home again, and learned what the third servant had done with the coin, he basically threw him out, the parable includes a sentence which says something to the effect that “even what he has will be taken away from him,” or something similar to that. In all my years, I don’t think I’ve ever really known what this parable is trying to say to the reader.


#2

Two of the servants bore fruit with their gifts. The third held on to his without “investing it” in others.
In the kingdom of God there is no such thing as sterile stagnation. “Use it or lose it”.


#3

okay, what do you make of the admonition for not putting it in the bank? What would the bank be?


#4

One time I went to this Catholic conference and a friend who was kind of open to Catholicism decided to come out to see. She stayed for the afternoon and decided to pursue Catholicism no further.

I thought of this parable. She got some prompting of God and responded but made the decision to drop it. She is very much like the one who got the one coin and buried it. God was ready to give more graces and more graces after that but she said no.


#5

It would be an attempt to at least put your gifts out there and get even some sort of a minimal return.

In the context of the parable, it’s highlighting the difference between even minimal effort, as compared to complete disregard for the gift altogether.


#6

I see in other words i am making too much of the word ‘bank’.
Investing=money in action
money in savings=money being stagnate.
money in the bank is not being exchanged by action of the saver.
money being invested is exchanged.


#7

The standard reading of this story—on display in thousands of sermons and fervorinos—is that the talents symbolize gifts and abilities that God has given to us and that he expects us to “spend” generously or “invest” wisely. This interpretation is supported by the fairly accidental relationship that obtains between “talent” in the ancient Biblical sense of the term and “talent” in ordinary English today. Fr. Schoenstene specified that a talent in ancient times was a measure of something particularly weighty, usually silver or gold. A single talent might represent as much as 50 pounds of precious metal and, as such, was not something that one carried around in one’s pocket. We might make a comparison between a talent and a unit of gold kept at Fort Knox, or an ingot of silver preserved in a safe deposit box. What the contemporary reader will likely miss, and what the ancient Jewish reader would have caught immediately, is the connection to heaviness: a talent was weighty, and five talents was massively heavy. Heaviness would have brought to mind the heaviest weight of all, which was the kabod of Yahweh. That term was rendered in Greek as doxa and in Latin as gloria, both of which carry the connotation of luminosity, but the basic sense of the Hebrew word is heaviness, gravitas.

And this kabod Yahweh was to be found in the Jerusalem Temple, resting upon the mercy seat within the Holy of Holies. Therefore, what was heaviest (most glorious) of all was the mercy of God, which abided in infinite, inexhaustible abundance in the Holy Temple.

In light of these clarifications, we can read Jesus’ parable with fresh eyes. The talents given to the three servants are not so much monetary gifts or personal capacities; they are a share in the mercy of God, a participation in the weightiness of the divine love. But since mercy is always directed to the other, these “talents” are designed to be shared. In point of fact, they will increase precisely in the measure that they are given away. The problem with the timid servant who buried his talent is not that he was an ineffective venture capitalist but that he fundamentally misunderstood the nature of what he had been given. The divine mercy—received as a pure gift—is meant to be given to others as a pure gift. Buried in the ground, that is to say, hugged tightly to oneself as one’s own possession, such a talent necessarily evanesces. And this is why the master’s seemingly harsh words should not be read as the punishment of an angry God but as an expression of spiritual physics: the divine mercy will grow in you only inasmuch as you give it to others. To “have” the kabod Yahweh is precisely not to have it in the ordinary sense of the term.-Bishop Robert Barron


#8

There’s Interesting commentary on this parable in the Aquinas Study Bible.


#9

I’m not fully understanding the explanations.

So the guy buried his coin and this is considered wrong because he did not spend it in order to gain a profit? Or am I misunderstanding? Because I feel like the guy may have just been saving the one coin for a rainy day. Or maybe he was too busy to go out like the two other men did so just buried it for safekeeping.

Also: Why is it important that each man got a different amount of money?


#10

The first point is that the money did not belong to the men. It belonged to their master. He was trusting them to do something with it.

The man who buried the talent says explicitly that he did it because he was scared of the master, and therefore did nothing. The master is angry because he did nothing with it, not even getting interest from the bank.

The other thing to remember is that Jesus is purposely telling a story that does not fit the normal way we think about life. He wants us to see things from the Father’s point of view and His point of view.


#11

The other servants didn’t “spend” their money. They invested it, put it back into the community, and received more than they had invested. The third got a dressing-down because he DIDN’T put the coin in the bank, where at least it would be accruing interest. Instead, he literally did nothing. He was so afraid of failing that he didn’t try at all, and so lost all he had.

You use the word “coin”. Other translations use the word “talents” which was a weight measure, i.e., getting so many ounces of gold. That word “talent” has come into English meaning some gift from G_D. If G_D has given you a gift of a talent for singing, He wants you to work and use that talent for His greater glory. If you just sit in a dark room and never sing for people, your talent isn’t bringing anyone to Jesus.

Each man got a different amount of money because G_D doesn’t give equal talents to everybody. The point is that it isn’t the size of the talent you’re given, but what you do with it that matters.


#12

It means we’re supposed to do the very best with the gifts (grace) given us. Some get more, some less, but the advancement of God’s kingdom both in this world and in ourselves is the goal.


#13

There are 5 lessons we can learn from the parable of the talents!

  1. First, this parable teaches us that success is a product of our work. *

  2. The Parable of the Talents teaches that God always gives us everything we need to do what he has called us to do.

  3. The Parable of the Talents teaches that we are not all created equal.

  4. The Parable of the Talents teaches that we work for the Master, not our own selfish purposes.*

  5. The Parable of the Talents shows that we will be held accountable.*


#14

Each of us has been given the “asset” of time.

Similar to the asset of five coins/talents or three or only one.

We can “invest” this asset of time in different ways.

We can study.

We can learn.

We can go to daily Mass and say a daily Rosary.

OR … we can do nothing … in other words, we can merely “use” that asset to do nothing. Watch television. Play video games. Listen to music all day.

At the end of the period, when we are called to account for how we used the asset of time time we were entrusted with, what will we report to the Master?

Will we say we gained more supporters for the Master?

Will we say we became an expert by studying the Bible [also known as “Sacred Scriptures”]?

Or will we say we were afraid, so we did nothing. Just wasted the gift of time, hanging out and listening to music and playing games?


#15

The bank would be that servant doing something with his gifts to bring a return.
Grace is a gift. Gifts are not to be hoarded but rather to be shared.


#16

Ah, okay, thanks.


#17

Matthew 25:14-30. Now, this is only my opinion, but I liken it to the charisms of the Holy Spirit which we received at our Confirmation. They too are “Talents” and we are expected to use them for the building up of God’s Kingdom while He is away. When He returns (or at our judgment), He will ask what we have done with the gifts He gave us. We want to show that we used them to build up the Body of believers in some way - for the sake of God and not for our own sake. We do not want to answer that we kept the gifts hidden out of fear. We are expected to work to increase His Kingdom out of pure love for Him, and using His gifts. Ref. 1 Corinthians 12, 13, 14.

Also, from slightly more qualified authorities: haydock1859.tripod.com/id43.html


#18

The unequal amounts reflect the inherent inequality of our “endowments” in human life.

From the strength and condition of our bodies, to the capacities of our minds, to our psychological conditioning and life experiences and personality, each human being cannot “give” the same “amount.”

But whatever we have is not ours per se, but was given us by God in trust. In 2000s capitalist terms, someone at the head of a corporation may be forgiven a bad year in which the firm loses money, but if he or she simply allows the firm to stagnate, would probably become unemployed.

ICXC NIKA


#19

Did they really have interest-bearing banking at the time of our LORD?


#20

“Moneychanger” might be a better translation, but “banker” gives an accurate connotation here.

In general, it was not considered ethical to charge interest on a loan to a Jew (loans to Gentiles, on the other hand, are a different story). See Ex 22:25 as an example.


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