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INTRODUCTION. The parable of the talents follows directly the one of the ten virgins in Matthew. While the parable of the ten virgins teaches the importance of watching and preparing for the judgment, the parable of the talents teaches the importance of working while watching for the master's return. Like the parable of the pounds, the talents is an exhortation to the followers of Jesus to use the gifts entrusted to them during his absence. Although the parable was spoken primarily to the twelve disciples, the application is for all believers.
In the story a man called his three servants to him before he left for a far country. He divided his goods among his servants and gave to each amounts or talents according to his ability. He expected the servants to use the talents and make a profit. A talent in New Testament times was not a coin, but a weight–a sum of money weighing a talent and varying in amount in different nations. The value of these talents in this story is not known, but a talent of silver could run from $1000.00 to $2000.00. A talent of gold would naturally be much more.
When the master returned, he called his servants for an accounting. The first two used their talents well and gained a profit. The master was pleased, commended and rewarded them. The third servant, however, buried his talent and began to make excuses for his neglect. In addition he criticized his lord. The master ordered that the talent be taken from the unprofitable servant, and that he be cast into outer darkness.