Math in the Parable of the Talents

A universal desire of a Christian is to hear those wonderful words of affirmation, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Master.”

This well known and highly coveted reward is found in Matthew 25, where Jesus shared the parable of three stewards. To one Jesus gave 5 talents, which the steward increased to 10; to another Jesus gave 2 talents, which increased to 4; the last steward received 1 talent, which, well…it remained 1.

Who is rewarded?

Essentially, the reward was given to those who doubled their original talents. Punishment and rebuke awaited the one who gained no increase on his talent. Jesus even told him that he should have at least entrusted the 1 talent with a banker so it would have gained some interest!

I think it is appropriate to overlay this parable with the Parable of the Sower. There Jesus says that the seeds that fall on fertile hearts will multiply 30, 60, or 100 fold!

Did you catch that math? The Lord rewards those who simply get a 1-fold increase in their talents, or double it. But if we are faithful to sow His Word, there is likely to be a 30, 60 or 100 fold increase in his Kingdom!


Here’s my point: Jesus set a standard, but the bar is low! He rewards those who make an effort to be productive with their time, talent, and money to have an impact on His kingdom. The math is tilted in our favor.

The Parable of the Talents should not be viewed as a high threshold over which to despair, but rather a motivating standard that should be achievable by all who are faithful. Notice, the standard is not to be successful, but faithful!