19 November 2023

Matthew 25: 14-30

'Well done, good and trustworthy slave……enter into the joy of your master.' (v. 23

Psalm 90


We’re coming close to the end of the Christian year. Advent Sunday, our Christian ‘New Year’s Day’, is just two weeks away. The themes of judgement and rendering account come to the fore at this time of year as today’s parable makes clear.

We might sum up the thrust of Jesus’ parable as the importance of taking risks for God’s kingdom.  The slaves who were given five and two talents, which were very substantial amounts of money, are applauded for the gains they made, but they could equally have made significant losses. The third slave who was clearly risk-averse, perhaps with good reason, is condemned for not being committed to the master’s business even to the extent of seeking to make some marginal profit.

If we seek to picture how the parable was first heard by early Christians we remember that Matthew’s fledgling church would have known criticism, and at times ostracism, from both Jewish and Gentile quarters. We can imagine that some members wished to keep their faith to themselves and simply coast along in the church community. The parable makes plain that this won’t do.

'Talents' nowadays are understood as the gifts, abilities and opportunities that God has given us. As God’s kingdom comes, so all will be summoned to render account. The saying “use it or lose it” seems to apply to our God-given abilities as to much else.


To Ponder:

  • What risks are you taking for God’s kingdom?
  • “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.” (v. 29) How do you react to this saying?


 “My talents, gifts and graces, Lord, into thy blessed hands receive.” (Charles Wesley)

Bible notes author

The Revd Donald Ker

Donald Ker is a supernumerary minister originally from the Methodist Church in Ireland. He now lives in Solihull, near Birmingham. He has served as a circuit minister, as a university chaplain, as Senior Tutor in Edgehill Theological College and as Superintendent Minister at Belfast Central Mission. Donald was also General Secretary of the Methodist Church in Ireland for some years and its President in 2009/2010.

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