Lord Jesus, while explaining the concept of the Kingdom of God to his disciples used the analogy of hidden money in what has come to be known as the “Parable of the Talents.” (Matthew 25:14-30) In those days, a “talent” was like a large disc made of gold and was equal in value to what a labourer could earn as wages over many years.
Jesus’ parable was about a man, who while going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents. In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ And the one with the two talents also came forward, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me two talents; see, I have made two more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’
Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But his master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents. For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
In today’s language, the word “talent” used in Jesus’ parable could as well mean our personal talent or an individual resource that God has endowed us with. God does not want us to keep our tangible or intangible wealth hidden, but to put it to good use. We may have a talent for music, a flair for writing, or a keenness for social service. We may have a scientific mind, or a passion for art, or an inclination towards spiritual inquiry. Whatever we have, God tells us to use and build upon, else it will become worthless one fine day.