The Berean Expositor
Volume 7 - Page 52 of 133
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Peter and that given to himself a reflection of the words, "according to his several
ability". We can readily see that the Apostles who heard the Lord utter these parables
would seen their own place therein. To them perhaps were given the five talents, and
mighty works were done by the Apostles through the gift of the Spirit during the period
of their ministry. To others two talents were given. In I Cor. 12: various gifts of the
Spirit are enumerated, closing with the words, "But all these worketh that one and the
selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will" (verse 11). In the parable the
talents are divided "according to his several ability."
With this parable it is helpful to read that of the pounds in Luke 19: In this case one
pound is given to each servant instead of a different amount to each as in the parable of
the talents. Then, instead of saying, "Behold I have gained" so many talents, as in
Matthew 25:, the servants says, "Thy pound hath gained" ten or five pounds. In the case
of the evil servants of Matthew 25:, he digs in the earth and hides the Lord's money,
while in the parable of the pounds he keeps it laid up in a napkin. Again, in each case the
evil servant gives a similar excuse for his action. In Matt. 25: it is, "I knew thee that
thou wert an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast
not strawed; and I was afraid". In Luke it is, "I feared thee because thou art an austere
man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow".
In both parables the reply of the Lord is that the money ought to have been so used
that he would have received his own with interest. In both is emphasized the principle,
"Unto every one that hath shall be given, and from him that hath not, even that he hath
shall be taken away from him." The parable of the talents is followed by the judging of
the nations, whereas the parable of the pounds concludes with the judgment upon the
nation "which would not that I should reign over them."
Let us consider some of the points a little. First, the difference between the amounts
given. When the Lord divides his goods "according to their several ability", the servants
can say, "I have gained five talents," but when the Lord gives to each the same--one
pound, the servant says, "Thy pound hath gained." Here we have a twofold view that is
most important for us to see clearly. The principle is stated doctrinally, and in higher
connections, by Paul in Philippians 2: 12, 13, "Work out your own salvation"; this is the
talent aspect, the "several ability", the "I have gained" position. "For it is God which
worketh in you", that is the one pound aspect, the "Thy pound hath gained", with no
reference to the individual ability.  The reference to "gains" is not absent from
Philippians either, but is really a vital part of its teaching. "For me to live is Christ, and
to die gain"; "That I may win (have for my gain) Christ"; "What things were gain to me."
In both parables the unprofitable servant hides the money; the one in the earth, the
other in a napkin. Matt. 5: 14-16 says, "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on
a hill cannot be hid. . . . let your light so shine". This takes us again to Phil. 2:, for
there, immediately following the words already alluded to, "work out your own
salvation", the apostle says, "among whom shine ye a light in the world", this being
further connected with the wish, "that I may rejoice in the day of Christ". The Apostle
tells them that he "desired fruit that may abound to their account" (4: 17).