The parable of the talents concludes by saying, “For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away” (Matthew 25:29). What is it that the servants had or didn’t have? What is it that determines a servant’s goodness or wickedness and his abundance or lack?
The servants had the ability, and the master entrusted property to them according to their ability (v. 14). Not only that, they all received talents. So, it seems no servant didn’t have anything contrary to what the conclusion indicates. A worldly standpoint may think of it as an ability. However, even the servant who received one talent had an ability because the master gave him one talent according to the ability. The master knows his servants’ abilities and doesn’t fail to entrust the right amount of talent. As he expected, the first two servants made as many talents as they received. In other words, the master’s knowledge of his servants was correct.
Interestingly, the master called the servants who made profits “good and faithful servants” (vs. 21, 23). On the other hand, he called the servant who didn’t make any profit “wicked and slothful servant” (v. 26). Here, “faithful” is understandable as the two servants worked and the other one didn’t; however, “good” and “wicked” are not. We know that the Bible doesn’t commend laziness. However, the Bible doesn’t indicate laziness as wickedness. So then, there must be something that determined the servants “good” or “wicked.”
We can get a hint about it from what the wicked and slothful servant said to the master. He said, “Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed” (v. 24). He is not talking about talent because he also received one. But, then, what is he talking about? He talks about ability. He thought the master didn’t sow or spread the seed in him, that is, the ability to grow the talent. Nevertheless, the master knew he had the ability and gave him one talent based on the knowledge.
The servant didn’t believe that the master gave him the ability to make a profit from talent. He didn’t believe the master knew his ability and gave him the talent based on the knowledge. The servant thought he knew of himself better than the master. As a result, the servant didn’t do what the master wanted but what was right in his eyes. It was wicked not to believe the master and to do what he thought was right. It was wicked to waste not only the talent but also the ability the master sowed in him by not believing in the master but in himself.
We must remember that if we have talents, as we all do, God gave them to us because He also gave us the ability for us to manage them to make profits. Therefore, if we don’t make the most of our talents, it is wicked not only because we waste God-given talents but also because we don’t believe His knowledge of us that we can profit from them. It is a matter of faith to make the most of our talents, which is why we can be wicked servants even with many God-given talents.