Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Parable of the Talents - Is it only temporal?

I was reading the scriptures and I happened upon the parable of the talents (or the pounds, whichever you prefer), and it struck me that not only was it talking about temporal stewardship, but also a spiritual stewardship of doctrine, because the Lord has told us to seek for wisdom.
He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.
And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.
But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.
And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.
Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds.
And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.
And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds.
And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities.
And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin:
For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow.
And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow:
Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury?
And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds.
(And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.)
For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him.
But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.
(Luke 19:12-27)
The servants who took their talents and increased them by 10 and by 5 were doing their best to learn about the gospel and they did their business by trading knowledge with people so that they could obtain what they didn’t yet have and learn to do what they couldn’t already do.

The fellow who buried his talent in the sand didn’t search for more wisdom or share what he had already acquired, and when his master called him to account, he said he didn’t know how to gain more, because he thought his master gained everything he had by magic and didn’t have to work for it. This shows us that there are people who think that knowledge comes magically without work or study or searching.

The master actually doesn’t remove his servant’s false notions, but merely upbraids him for not putting his talent in the bank so that it could at least acquire interest. The spiritual counterpart of the bank is the church. Christ wants us to at least “deposit” what wisdom and testimony we have in church meetings and classes by sharing them so that at least other people will learn and perhaps we will learn something new in the exchange of ideas that takes place there, even if we are unwilling to do it anywhere else. This is the absolute minimum for increasing our store of wisdom.

In the past I've been a little bit perplexed by how the master didn't educate the unfaithful servant about the real source of gains, but recently I realized that if the servant had had the least bit of curiosity to know how the master got his gains, he had plenty of time to make inquiries, but he didn't.

Then the chilling conclusion: the talent is taken from the unfaithful servant and given to someone with more. This shows us that if we don’t use what we know, we lose it.

And an even more frightening epilogue: the master commands his enemies--those who would not have him to rule over them--to be brought before him and be slain. This shows us that there are also people who just plain do not want to be obedient to gospel principles and follow Christ and the end of that course is spiritual death.

I want to be like that servant who increased their talents ten fold. This is another reason why I am putting these things I’ve learned on a blog. I'm looking for an exchange of knowledge.