“For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.” Matthew 25 vs. 29
The biblical Parable of the Talents, from which the above quotation is derived, is a simple but meaningful story about a businessman and the workers whom he entrusts to make money for him. The essence of the parable is as follows:
‘A man went on a journey and called his workers and assigned some money to them. One got five talents (a talent was worth more than a thousand dollars), another got two talents and the other got one talent. The money was distributed according to each worker’s ability. The man with five talents put the money to work and gained five more. Similarly the one with two talents doubled his money. The worker who had received one talent buried it away in the ground.
When the business man returned, he called up his employees to see what they had accomplished with his money. He was very pleased with the efforts of the first two workers and entrusted them with even greater riches. However, the last worker, who had made no effort to build his wealth, received the wrath of his boss. He took the money away and gave it to the worker who had made the most of the funds he had been given.’
This was a tough lesson for the worker who refused to try to make his money multiply! Though some might look at this tale as just one of the many interesting stories that abound in the Bible, it provides a meaning that might apply to our financial lives today. Are many of us really much different than worker #3 who missed out on more riches because he didn’t try to manage and grow the little money that he had been blessed with?
How many times have we received a salary increase and promised that the raise would go only into saving for the house or retirement fund? Then a few months later we discover that we’re not sure how that new money is being spent, and that we actually have more credit card debt than before! How many times have we heard it said (or perhaps said it to ourselves), “If only I could get my hands on a million dollars, then I would never be broke again!” Famous last words of many lottery winners, who despite coming into huge fortunes, are as poor, or even more in debt after their winnings have dried up.
Do you think that a man who wins several million dollars and squanders it in a short time, will ever have the chance to receive permanent wealth which will pass down in his family from generation to generation? Definitely not! It is one of the universal laws of the world that ensures that people who are not good stewards of money will never see great riches. Even if they inherit wealth, it will pass through their hands like water through a sieve.
The lesson of the parable of the talents is that we must be responsible with whatever amount of money we receive, whether small or large. Being accountable with our money means learning how to control our spending, save for emergencies, invest wisely, plan for the future and protect our wealth for our heirs. It’s only when we can demonstrate that we are financially savvy that we will be entrusted with much more money.
Here’s a true story of someone who understands that the way to great fortune is to be responsible and wise with the money you have received:
There was a lady who was in financial difficulties and prayed for a lump sum of money to give her a start in life. Her employers, being very charitable people, were inspired to give her this money without knowing of her prayers. She thought about many options for her money- buying new furniture which she desperately needed; giving it to her cousin who promised to double it in a year; or simply placing it in the bank earning a low but secure interest rate.
She considered her goal, which was to have the money multiply so that one day she could stop working. She decided that she needed to go into a business that she could understand and control, which would provide a steady income stream. She looked around her community and saw many other people like her, who needed a little money to get a start in life. She decided give small loans to acquaintances with viable business ideas, and collected her returns every week. In no time, the original sum had multiplied, and her community was also greatly blessed from her good stewardship with her money.
Take a look at the money you have today. Have you been squandering it, or have you been a good steward?
© Cherryl Hanson Simpson