The Parable of the Talents

TITLE: The Parable of the Talents

SUBJECT: Parables

PROPOSITION: In the parable of the talents we see 1) Ability, 2) Responsibility, 3) Accountability

OBJECTIVE: Each person should be able to understand the parable of the talents and how it relates to his/her life.


1. Read: Matthew 25:14-19

2. About the Text:

1) This is one of the judgment parables Jesus told in his last week.

2) It is a kingdom of heaven parable – it is saying something about the church!

3. Ref. to S, T, P, O, and A.

DISCUSSION: The parable of the talent teaches us about . . .

I.   Ability – Matthew 25:15

1. What is ability?

1) It is what one is able to do.

2) Everyone has the ability to do something.

3) Some have the ability to do more than others.

4) Green Thumb, Touch of the Blarney, The Midas Touch

5) Abilities come through learning and growth.

2. God knows our abilities.

1) We are entrusted with the gospel – “But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts” (1 Thessalonians 2:4).

2) Elders are entrusted with the flock – “nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock” (1 Peter 5:3).

3) We are stewards of the abilities God has given us. “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10).

3. Do we know our abilities?

1) We begin in the world with limited abilities.

2) As we grow, we gain abilities.

3) “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food” (Hebrews 5:12).

4) “but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen” (2 Peter 3:18).

5) “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

6) What are your abilities? How can they be used to glorify God?

II.  Responsibility – Matthew 25:16-18

1. What is responsibility?

1) It includes what we can do with our abilities.

2) It also includes what we are capable of doing by learning and growing.

3) Living up to our potential.

2. We are responsible when we act on our abilities.

1) God exhorts us to be responsible by being diligent.

2) Romans 12:11 – “not lagging in diligence.”

3) 2 Peter 1:5 – “giving all diligence.”

4) “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does” (James 1:22-25).

5) “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them” (John 13:17).

6) “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ” (Colossians 3:23-24).

3. We are irresponsible when we do not act on our abilities.

1) “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:17).

2) “And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes” (Luke 12:47).

3) There are many ways that people try to avoid responsibility.

4) Many sins are simply things we do to avoid responsibility.

a. Lying

b. Laziness

c. Procrastination

d. Entertainment

4. Are we being responsible?

III. Accountability – Matthew 25:20-25

1. What is accountability?

1) It is when we give an account to another of what we have done with our abilities.

2) Sometimes we use the word responsible to mean accountable. Eg, “You are responsible for your words and actions.”

3) Sometimes, we can account for ourselves.

4) At other times, others may hold us accountable.

2. The Bible tells us that we are accountable for our behavior.

1) “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment” (Matthew 12:36).

2) Elders have a special role – “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you” (Hebrews 13:17).

3. All will give an account of their life to God.

1) “So then each of us shall give account of himself to God” (Romans 14:12).

2) “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13).

4. How conscious are we of our words and actions?

1) We need to take ownership of our lives, our words and our actions.

2) The five talent and two talent stewards took ownership of their lives.

3) The one talent man refused to do that.


1. The parable of the talent teaches us about . . .

1) Ability

2) Responsibility

3) Accountability

2. Invitation

1) God knows your abilities.

2) You are responsible in relationship to His Word.

3) You will be held accountable one day.

4) Why not become a Christian?