Before we get started, let’s remember our context, Jesus is still giving His answer to this question: “what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” (24:3). Also, please don’t forget this is a parable, and they are not meant to be understood literally.
OK, so here we have a master, three servants, various amounts of money and a trip. The master gives each servant a certain amount of money, according to their ability, and leaves on an extended trip. While he is gone, the servants are to protect the master’s interests, and so the first two put the money to work for the master, and by the time he returns, they have each doubled his money. The third is fearful and cautious; he buries the money out back, and returns it intact, if damp and muddy, to his master. The master’s reactions to the three were different. For the first two, who had brought him a very nice return on his cash, he rewarded them generously, but the master was furious with the third servant and had him cast out into the darkness.
The master is the Lord Jesus, who has left us with talents, abilities, spiritual gifts and manifold blessings, and who has now gone away from us. We are the servants. Our Lord will soon return, although we don’t know quite when. When He returns, He expects that we will have put out talents, abilities, spiritual gifts and manifold blessing to good use in the furtherance of His Kingdom.
When He settles our accounts, what will His reaction be? Will we be ready?
Up to this time, Jesus has focused on lack of a sign of His coming, when He spoke about the days of Noah. He has also made it quite clear that no one, not even He knows when He will return; only the Father knows. He has focused on our need to be ready when He does return, as with the parable of the 10 virgins, and here He kicks the whole thing up a notch, for being ready means that we have produced something for the Kingdom.
When we think about this, our minds might race all over the place, worrying about what it is that we are supposed to be doing with all of those abilities, talents, spiritual gifts and blessings that we have received… you mean I’m supposed to DO something?
So let’s consider… here, I’ll give you a hint: What commands has Jesus given to His followers? I don’t mean teachings, parables and the like, I mean imperative voice commands? If you are a “regular” here, you have a big advantage, because I’ve gone through this many times before…
If you can think of what He actually commanded then you will have the answer. Hint: don’t overlook the obvious.