Ms 81, 1899

Ms 81, 1899

The Parable of the Talents


May 21, 1899 [typed]

Portions of this manuscript are published in WM 245.

The Parable of the Talents 14LtMs, Ms 81, 1899, par. 1

The master leaves all his possessions in the hands of his servants. “Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?” [Luke 12:42.] The apostle Paul writes: “Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” [1 Corinthians 4:1, 2.] There are great responsibilities resting upon the human agent to whom have been entrusted the Master’s goods. 14LtMs, Ms 81, 1899, par. 2

It is not alone to the minister that the talents are given. They are lent to every man as verily as they were lent to the exalted angel in the courts of heaven. Paul speaks to all when he says, “Ye are laborers together with God, ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.] Christ taught this trust by a parable: 14LtMs, Ms 81, 1899, par. 3

“For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another one, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability: and straightway took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise also he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had received the one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money. 14LtMs, Ms 81, 1899, par. 4

“After a long time, the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord thou deliveredst unto me two talents, behold, I have gained other two talents beside them. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant, thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things, enter thou into the joy of thy lord. Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew that thou wast an hard man reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: and I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. 14LtMs, Ms 81, 1899, par. 5

“His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reaped where I sowed not, and gathered where I had not strawed: thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and from him which hath not shall be taken away, even which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” [Matthew 25:14-30.] 14LtMs, Ms 81, 1899, par. 6

When the master comes in to receive his goods, he sees the servant to whom he has entrusted five talents. This servant has proved faithful, for he has gained five talents more. He has worked on the plan of addition, as represented by the apostle Peter. The servant with the two talents has gained beside them two talents more. Both have worked on the plan of addition, adding grace to grace, and each receives his reward. Now the man to whom has been given the one talent is called to account for his stewardship. But he can only look with confusion upon the face of his lord, for he has followed the suggestions of the enemy and done his bidding. If he had been convinced that he could not use that one talent for his lord, he should have passed it on for some faithful man to use; but instead of this, he has hidden it in the earth. And now he comes to his lord with a falsehood upon his lips. “I knew thee that thou wast an hard man,” he says, “reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: and I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth.” [Verses 24, 25.] 14LtMs, Ms 81, 1899, par. 7

This parable was given by Christ to impress upon the human mind the relation man sustains toward God. He would have man render to Him His own. He who has [been] blessed with reasoning powers may reach a high standard, meeting with success in everything he undertakes. The Saviour charges, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate and broad is the way which leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat. For strait is the gate and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be which find it.” “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” [Matthew 7:13, 14; 6:33.] This is to be our first consideration. Then make not second in interest that which should come first. 14LtMs, Ms 81, 1899, par. 8

No man whose heart is converted could utter such a speech as did the unprofitable servant, for no man can return anything to the Lord which is not his own. But how many there are who do not render to God His due. They make the world no better for the talents the Lord has lent them, but heap together treasures for the last days. They do not heed the cry of the orphan, the widow, and the unfortunate, as they struggle from day to day for a mere existence. Of such men, who love money for its own sake, and that they may be called rich, God says, “Naked came they into the world, and naked shall they go out.” [See Job 1:21.] 14LtMs, Ms 81, 1899, par. 9

To every man God has appointed his work, and the talents are given in proportion to the capabilities of the receiver. To all God has given talents to use and improve, and every soul, in taking his position as a member of Christ’s body pledges himself to act faithfully his part as a steward of God. He is to work with the same prudence and wisdom in the behalf of his Master that he would use if he were himself to be enriched by all that is gained. But who of those whose names are registered on the church books are identifying themselves with Christ and following the instruction He gave when He was on earth as the great Teacher? God confers upon us a special honor when he commits to us the treasure of His Word, and He designs that this shall be understood, appropriated, and in every circumstance of life employed to the glory of God. To some He entrusts five talents, to others two, and to others only one, but He gives to every man according to his ability to use them. 14LtMs, Ms 81, 1899, par. 10

There are many who, while honestly thinking that they are doing God service, are working at cross-purposes with Him. They are not doers of His Word. Christ declares: “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say unto me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name, and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. 14LtMs, Ms 81, 1899, par. 11

“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a man, which built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the flood came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house: and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” [Matthew 7:21-27.] 14LtMs, Ms 81, 1899, par. 12

God has given evidence that He has a special interest in this world of human beings. He “so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16.] Christ has given His life for men that they may have another opportunity. We would come close to every soul, and inquire, What are you doing with your Lord’s entrusted capital. Every man is to understand that his God-given advantages are to be carefully cherished, that he may do the best work in the Lord’s service. It is required of a steward that he be found faithful. 14LtMs, Ms 81, 1899, par. 13

Christ illustrated the spiritual blessings of the gospel by a temporal feast, the invitation to the supper. He set forth the wonderful condescension of God in the earnest invitation of the master of the feast to all who would come. The special call of the gospel to be given near the close of earth’s history is also presented. The invitation was to go first to the highways, bidding all Come to the marriage supper of the Lamb. That message to the people so highly favored was rejected. The next call was made to the poorer class—the poor, the halt, the maimed, the blind. These were not exalted by ambitious projects; if they would accept the invitation, they might come. This message was given, and the servants brought the report, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. Then the master said to his workers, Go and seek in the byways, for the most degraded and the helpless, and compel them to come in that my house may be filled. 14LtMs, Ms 81, 1899, par. 14

The talents of women can be used to the glory of God; women will take their place in the work at this crisis, and the Lord will work through them. They have just the thoughtful perception and self-possession required for the time. They are imbued with a sense of their duty, and under the influence of the Spirit of God, they will stand in their lot and place. And the Saviour will reflect upon these self-sacrificing women the light of His countenance, and this will give them a power which will exceed that of men. 14LtMs, Ms 81, 1899, par. 15

We recognize this work being accomplished in the medical missionary work. The net is being cast into the sea, and is gathering of all kinds both good and bad. This work among the lower classes is in God’s order. A large part of the Lord’s vineyard is yet unfenced, an open common, and He is calling men and women to act their part as coworkers with Christ. Those who have been rescued and brought to the feet of Jesus know how to labor for souls that are perishing. All the energies of their being are called forth to be ministers of mercy. 14LtMs, Ms 81, 1899, par. 16