When did you last examine this valuable story and apply its lessons to your daily life?
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Appearing in the New Testament gospels of Matthew and Luke, the Parable of the Talents sometimes referred to as the Parable of the Minas highlights how seemingly ordinary individuals can make the most of blessings granted from God. The parable begins with a master entrusting 'talents' to his servants before setting out on a long journey.
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One servant receives five talents, another receives three, and the final is granted just one talent. Although today's scholars express some disagreement as to the exact meaning of 'talent' in this parable, all agree that it must be of significant worth — valuable gold or silver, for example.
Upon returning home, the master learns that the first and second servants used their talents to significantly increase the value of the property they were granted. They are rewarded accordingly. The third servant, however, buried his talent and did not enjoy the gains of his predecessor. When called on to account for his behavior, he claims that fear prevented him from embracing his talent. The master reprimands the third servant for being lazy, and casts him out.
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Many lessons can be gleaned from the Parable of the Talents. Just as applicable today as it was thousands of years ago, this parable explains the role of opportunity, hard work, and accountability in our everyday life. A few key takeaways are outlined below:. First and foremost, the Parable of the Talents teaches us that we are put on Earth to work. This is evident not only in this particular parable, but in several other Bible stories. And in turn we are called to be leaven that transforms the society in which we live and work. Jesus' parables often involve an element of surprise or an unexpected twist.
We are taken off guard by the progression of the story.
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The parable moves from the very familiar and understandable aspects of experience to a sudden turn of events or a remarkable comparison which challenges the hearer and invites further reflection. For example, why should a shepherd go through a lot of bother and even risk his life to find one lost sheep when ninety-nine are in his safe keeping?
The shepherd's concern for one lost sheep and his willingness to risk his own life for it tells us a lot about God's concern for his children who go astray. How to read the parables Jesus told his disciples that not everyone would understand his parables. Did Jesus mean to say that he was deliberately confusing his listeners? Very likely not.
Jesus was speaking from experience. He was aware that some who heard his parables refused to understand them. It was not that they could not intellectually understand them, but rather, their hearts were closed to what Jesus was saying. They had already made up their minds to not believe.
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God can only reveal the secrets of his kingdom to the humble and trusting person who acknowledges the need for God and for his truth. The parables of Jesus will enlighten us if we approach them with an open mind and heart, ready to let them challenge us.
If we approach them with the conviction that we already know the answer, then we, too, may look but not see, listen but not hear or understand. When reading the parables it is important to not get bogged down in the details of the story. So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first. And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny.
And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house, Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day. But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny?
'I Will Open My Mouth in Parables'
Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee. Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good? So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.
And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.
And they caught him , and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. Matthew This parable is not dissimilar to that of The True Vine see below. Drawing inspiration from the Book of Matthew, Lucas Cranach the Younger creates a Protestant allegory, with the Protestant reformists representing the good tenants right and the Catholic Church representing the wicked left.
Here, the artist contrasts the outrageous excesses of the Catholic Church with the rigor of Protestantism. Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved. This parable was aimed at Jews who refused to be evangelised and also encouraged the young Christian community to remain faithful and reject heretical teachings.
It proved difficult to reconcile new religious practices with long-standing Jewish tradition. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
Abide in me, and I in you.
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As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.