In this lesson, we will learn about the Parable of the Talents. This lesson relates to pre-teens and teens and by the end of this lesson, they should have learnt about the following:
- The importance of using our talents
- What it means to be a steward.
- God gives us everything we need.
BIBLE PASSAGE: Matthew 25:14-30
MEMORY VERSE: “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ Matthew 25:23
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Watch the study – THE PARABLE OF THE TALENTS
BIBLE STUDY NOTES FOR TEENS
The Parable of the Talents is found in Matthew and Luke. The parable is located as Jesus teaches His disciples to endure through difficult times as they wait for His return. Like the other parables in this section (Matthew 24:1-25:46), it demonstrates the certainty that Jesus will return and remind the disciples to live accordingly.
Jesus used the parable to highlight how we should make the most of the gifts and opportunities God has given us as we wait for Jesus’ return.
The parable begins when a master entrusts some ‘talents’ to his servants before leaving on a long journey. One servant receives five talents, another two talents, and the last servant one talent.
A ‘talent’ in this parable, was something of significant worth. A ‘talent’ was a unit of measurement for weighing precious metals like silver and gold and weighed about 75 pounds. Other experts say it was the alternative to 6,000 days’ pay. Either way, it was a large amount to be given.
When the master returns home, he calls the servants back to see what they did with the talents. The first and second servants used their talents and doubled its value. The master rewards them. Then the third servant appears. He didn’t invest his talent, rather he buried it.
The third servant admits that he was afraid to lose the master’s money. To protect himself, he buried the talent in the ground (Which was a common way to hide treasure before banks).
The master is furious with the third servant for being lazy, and casts him out. He had entrusted the servant with a portion of his property so that the servant would use his abilities as he would have if the master had been present.
Jesus tells this story to His disciples (24:3) to remind them to keep serving as they await His return. They are called to continue Jesus’ work on the earth.
KEY POINTS FROM THE PASSAGE
- WE MUST PUT OUR TALENTS INTO ACTION (V 21-27)
The Parable of the Talents teaches us that God has a purpose and plan for our lives on Earth. Ephesians 2:10 says “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
Beyond our individual gifts and abilities, we are all called to make disciples of all nations. We are not saved just to wait for heaven. God has a purpose for us now.
We must be careful not to waste the opportunities God has granted us. Like the first and second servant, we should recognize the opportunities we receive, and make the most of them. Sometime is seems like hiding is the sensible option, especially in today’s anti-Christian culture. How often have we failed to speak up for Jesus? How often have we stayed silent to avoid judgement? How often have we not used our gifts for an easier life?
God has blessed us with so much to be His hands and feet on the earth. It’s our job to be faithful with all God has given us, which means we seize all the opportunities He provides us. We are to work faithfully and use our talents to glorify God.
2. GOD GIVES US EVERYTHING WE NEED (V15)
Jesus says in the parable that each man was given talents “according to his own ability.” The servant who received five talents had everything he needed to produce five more. The servant who received two talents had everything he needed. As did the servant who received one talent. But the third servant chose to do nothing.
Too often, we are more concerned with what others have than what God has given us. We might read the parable and think that it doesn’t seem fair that each servant received a different amount. But God has given each of us different gifts for the benefit of the church and His kingdom.
Many people say they don’t have the skills necessary to serve God. “I can’t teach. I can’t sing. I can’t play an instrument. I can’t do missionary work. I don’t have money to give” and the list goes on. The problem is we become more focused on the perceived value of our talent than on what we can do with that talent. This parable reminds us: God doesn’t care about what you couldn’t do.; He cares about what you can do.
We are not all called to be great preachers, wonderful worship leaders, gifted musicians, or professional sports people. Rather, we are all given what we need to make a difference where God has placed us.
The master didn’t expect the servant with three talents to produce five more. He only wanted him to be faithful with what he had been given. We need to think less about what we would do if we were in someone else’s shoes and more about how we can serve God with what He has blessed us with.
Zig Ziglar wrote, “You are the only person on earth who can use your ability.”
3. OUR TALENTS BELONG TO THE MASTER (V19)
The wealth that master gave to the servants was not their own. The servants were only stewards of what belonged to the master. Furthermore, any profit they made was not theirs to keep. They were to use what the master had given them for the master.
The Bible clearly teaches that we are stewards of everything we have. 1 Corinthians 4:2 says, “Now it is required that those who have been given a trust (literally, stewards) must prove faithful”
Stewardship is defined as, “The careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care.” In other words, stewardship is managing and caring for things that belong to someone else.
The Bible teaches us that we must recognize that everything we have (talents, time, money, relationships, health, etc,) is a gift from God and to selflessly use them for God’s glory. We should use our talents not for our own selfish purposes, but to honour God.
4. DON’T WASTE THE OPPORTUNITIES GOD GIVES YOU (V26)
The third and unfaithful servant in the parable did not waste the master’s money, but he wasted the opportunity he was given.
I am sure we have all felt what it is like to waste an opportunity from time to time. We have the chance to share the gospel with someone, but we let it pass. We are asked to serve in a ministry, but we fear we might make a mistake, so we don’t get involved.
We are responsible for what we have been given, and one day we will be held responsible. Two of the servants used the talents they were given and doubled them. The master said, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” Matthew 25:23
But the third servant saw the talent not as an opportunity but as a burden. He missed the opportunity to serve the master.
Colossians 3:23-24 teaches, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
Jesus is teaching His disciples to keep serving as they wait for His return and to use the talents they have been given. As believers, we are to be productive and seize the opportunities God grants us for His glory.
YOUTH GAMES AND ACTIVITIES FOR THE PARABLE OF THE TALENTS
THE FIND TREASURE
- Make a grid outdoors or on a tray covered with rice.
- Hide a treasure or coin in one of the grids.
- Say that the servant hid the treasure and then players must try to find it.
- Take turns to guess one grid square until the treasure is found.
- Create a stage area to hold a talent show.
- There are two options for this activity – the first would be for children to use their talents.
- The second is for a funny talent show.
- Write some tasks on bits of paper (tell a joke, do a funny dance, perform a magic trick, sing a songs etc), and place in a hat.
- Children will then pick a random talent to perform.
- For this game, you will need twelve objects for each team plus a dice.
- Have players line up in teams. Place twelve items for each team on the other side of the room
- A leader then rolls the dice and calls out the number.
- The player must run and collect double the number of objects and return to their team.
- The first team back with the correct number wins a point.
BEFORE THE MASTER RETURNS
- You will need at least two people for this activity. It can also be played as teams.
- One player is the master. The other is a servant.
- The servant should have a simple challenge to complete, but they must do it before the master returns. On go, the master must walk around the outside of the room and return before the servant complete the challenge. The first one back wins a point.