Matthew 25: 14-30
For even as a man
going into a far country, called his servants, and delivered to them his
goods; And to one he gave five talents, and to another two, and to another
one, to every one according to his proper ability: and immediately he took
And he that had received the five talents, went his way, and traded with
the same, and gained other five. And in like manner he that had received
the two, gained other two. But he that had received the one, going his way
digged into the earth, and hid his lord's money. But after a long time the
lord of those servants came, and reckoned with them. And he that had received
the five talents coming, brought other five talents, saying: Lord, thou didst
deliver to me five talents, behold I have gained other five over and above.
His lord said to him: Well done, good and faithful servant, because thou
hast been faithful over a few things, I will place thee over many things:
enter thou into the joy of thy lord. And he also that had received the two
talents came and said: Lord, thou deliveredst two talents to me: behold I
have gained other two. His lord said to him: Well done, good and faithful
servant: because thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will place
thee over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. But he that had
received the one talent, came and said: Lord, I know that thou art a hard
man; thou reapest where thou hast not sown, and gatherest where thou hast
not strewed. And being afraid I went and hid thy talent in the earth: behold
here thou hast that which is thine.
And his lord answering, said to him: Wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest
that I reap where I sow not, and gather where I have not strewed: Thou oughtest
therefore to have committed my money to the bankers, and at my coming I should
have received my own with usury. Take ye away therefore the talent from him,
and give it to him that hath ten talents. For to every one that hath shall
be given, and he shall abound: but from him that hath not, that also which
he seemeth to have shall be taken away. And the unprofitable servant cast
ye out into the exterior darkness. There shall be weeping and gnashing of
By St. John Chryostom
And if in Luke
the parable of the talents is otherwise put, this is to be said, that the
one is really different from the other. For in that, from the one capital
different degrees of increase were made, for from one pound one brought five,
another ten; wherefore neither did they obtain the same recompense; but here,
it is the contrary, and the crown is accordingly equal. For he that received
two gave two, and he that had received the five again in like manner; but
there since from the same beginning one made the greater, one the less, increase;
as might be expected, in the rewards also, they do not enjoy the same.
But see Him everywhere, not requiring it again immediately. For in the case
of the vineyard, He let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country;
and here He committed to them the talents, and took His journey, that thou
mightest learn His long-suffering. And to me He seems to say these things,
to intimate the resurrection. But here it is no more a vineyard and husbandmen,
but all servants. For not to rulers only, nor to Jews, but to all, doth He
address His discourse. And they who bring a return unto Him confess frankly,
both what is their own, and what their Master's. And the one saith, Lord,
"Thou gavest me five talents;" and the other saith, "two," indicating that
from Him they received the source of their gain, and they are very thankful,
and reckon all to Him.
What then saith the Master? "Well done, thou good" (for this is goodness
to look to one's neighbor) "and faithful servant; thou wast faithful over
few things, I will set thee over many things: enter thou into the joy of
thy Lord,"meaning by this expression all blessedness.
But not so that other one, but how? "I knew that thou art a hard man, reaping
where thou sowedst not, and gathering where thou strawedst not: and I was
afraid, and hid thy talent: lo, there thou hast that is thine."What then
the Master? "Thou oughtest to have put my money to the exchangers," that
is, "that oughtest to have spoken, to have admonished, to have advised."
But are they disobedient? Yet this is nought to thee.
What could be more gentle than this? For men indeed do not so, but him that
hath put out the money at usury, even him do they make also responsible to
require it again. But He not so; but, Thou oughtest, He saith, to have put
it out, and to have committed the requiring of it again to me. And I should
have required it with increase; by increase upon the hearing, meaning the
showing forth of the works. Thou oughtest to have done that which is easier,
and to have left to me what is more difficult. Forasmuch then as he did not
"Take," saith He, "the talent from him, and give it to him that hath ten
talents? For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have
abundance; but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which
he hath."What then is this? He that hath a gift of word and teaching to profit
thereby, and useth it not, will lose the gift also; but he that giveth diligence,
will gain to himself the gift in more abundance; even as the other loseth
what he had received.
But not to this is the penalty limited for him that is slothful, but even
intolerable is the punishment, and with the punishment the sentence, which
is full of a heavy accusation. For "cast ye," saith He, "the unprofitable
servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."Seest
thou how not only the spoiler, and the covetous, nor only the doer of evil
things, but also he that doeth not good things, is punished with extreme
Let us hearken then to these words. As we have opportunity, let us help on
our salvation, let us get oil for our lamps, let us labor to add to our talent.
For if we be backward, and spend our time in sloth here, no one will pity
us any more hereafter, though we should wail ten thousand times. He also
that had on the filthy garments condemned himself, and profited nothing.
He also that had the one talent restored that which was committed to his
charge, and yet was condemned. The virgins again entreated, and came unto
Him and knocked, and all in vain, and without effect.
Knowing then these things, let us contribute alike wealth, and diligence,
and protection,and all things for our neighbor's advantage. For the talents
here are each person's ability, whether in the way of protection, or in money,
or in teaching, or in what thing soever of the kind. Let no man say, I have
but one talent, and can do nothing; for thou canal even by one approve thyself.
For thou art not poorer than that widow; thou art not more uninstructed than
Peter and John. who were both "unlearned and ignorant men;"but nevertheless,
since they showed forth a zeal, and did all things for the common good, they
attained to Heaven. For nothing is so pleasing to God, as to live for the
For this end God gave us speech, and hands, and feet, and strength of body,
and mind, and understanding, that we might use all these things, both for
our own salvation, and for our neighbor's advantage. For not for hymns only
and thanksgivings is our speech serviceable to us, but it is profitable also
for instruction and admonition. And if indeed we used it to this end, we
should be imitating our Master; but if for the opposite ends, the devil.
Since Peter also, when he confessed the Christ, was blessed, as having spoken
the words of the Father; but when he refused the cross, and dissuaded it,
he was severely reproved, as savoring the things of the devil. But if where
the saying was of ignorance, so heavy is the blame, when we of our own will
commit many sins, what favor shall we have?
Such things then let us speak, that of themselves they may be evidently the
words of Christ. For not only if I should say, "Arise, and walk; "neither
if I should say, "Tabitha, arise," then only do I speak Christ's words, but
much more if being reviled I bless, if being despitefully used I pray for
him that doeth despite to me. Lately indeed I said, that our tongue is a
hand laying hold on the feet of God; but now much more do I say, that our
tongue is a tongue imitating the tongue of Christ, if it show forth the
strictness that becometh us, if we speak those things which He wills.
But what are the things which He wills us to speak? Words full of gentleness
and meekness, even as also He Himself used to speak, saying to them that
were insulting Him, "I have not a devil;"and again, "If I have spoken evil,
bear witness of the evil." If thou also speak in this way; if thou speak
for thy neighbor's amendment, thou wilt obtain a tongue like that tongue.
And these things God Himself saith; "For he that bringeth out the precious
from the vile, shall be as my mouth;" such are His words.
When therefore thy tongue is as Christ's tongue, and thy mouth is become
the mouth of the Father, and thou art a temple of the Holy Ghost, then what
kind of honor could be equal to this? For not even if thy mouth were made
of gold, no nor even of precious stones, would it shine like as now, when
lit up with the ornament of meekness. For what is more lovely than a mouth
that knoweth not how to insult, but is used to bless and give good words?
But if thou canst not bear to bless him that curses thee, hold thy peace,
and accomplish but this for the time; and proceeding in order, and striving
as thou oughtest, thou wilt attain to that other point also, and wilt acquire
such a mouth, as we have spoken of.
And do not account the saying to be rash. For the Lord is loving to man,
and the gift cometh of His goodness. It is rash to have a mouth like the
devil, to have a tongue resembling that of an evil demon, especially for
him that partakes of such mysteries, and communicates of the very flesh of
the Lord. Reflecting then on these things, become like Him, to the utmost
of thy power. No longer then will the devil be able so much as to look thee
in the face, when thou art become such a one as this.
For indeed he recognizes the image of the King, he knows the weapons of Christ,
whereby he was worsted. And what are these? Gentleness and meekness. For
when on the mountain Christ overthrew and laid low the devil who was assaulting
him, it was not by making it known that He was Christ, but He entrapped him
by these sayings, He took him by gentleness, he turned him to flight by meekness.
Thou also must do this; shouldest thou see a man become a devil, and coming
against thee, even so do thou likewise overcome. Christ gave thee also power
to become like Him, so far as thy ability extends. Be not afraid at hearing
this. The fear is not to be like Him. Speak then after His manner, and thou
art become in this respect such as He, so far as it is possible for one who
is a man to become so.
Wherefore greater is he that thus speaks, than he that prophecies. For this
is entirely a gift, but in the other is also thy labor and toil. Teach thy
soul to frame thee a mouth like to Christ's mouth. For it can create such
things, if it will; it knows the art, if it be not remiss. And how is such
a mouth made? one may ask. By what kind of colorings? by what kind of material?
By no colorings, indeed, or material; but by virtue only, and meekness, and
Let us see also how a devil's mouth is made; that we may never frame that.
How then is it made? By curses, by insults, by envy, by perjury. For when
any one speaks his words, he takes his tongue. What kind of excuse then shall
we have; or rather, what manner of punishment shall we not undergo; when
this our tongue, wherewith we are allowed to taste of the Lord's flesh, when
this, I say, we overlook, speaking the devil's words?
Let us not overlook it, but let us use all diligence, in order to train it
to imitate its Lord. For if we train it to this, it will place us with great
confidence at Christ's judgment seat. Unless any one know how to speak thus,
the judge will not so much as hear him. For like as when the judge chances
to be a Roman, he will not hear the defense of one who knows not how to speak
thus; so likewise Christ, unless thou speak after His fashion, will not hear
thee, nor give heed.
Let us learn therefore to speak in such wise as our Judge is wont to hear;
let it be our endeavor to imitate that tongue. And shouldest thou fall into
grief, take heed lest the tyranny of despondency pervert thy tongue, but
that thou speak like Christ. For He too mourned for Lazarus and Judas. Shouldest
thou fall into fear, seek again to speak even as He. For He Himself fell
into fear for thy sake, with regard to His manhood. Do thou also say,
"Nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt."
And if thou shouldest lament, weep calmly as He. Shouldest thou fall into
plots and sorrows, treat these too as Christ. For indeed He had plots laid
against Him, and was in sorrow, and saith, "My soul is exceeding sorrowful,
even unto death." And all the examples He presented to thee. in order that
thou shouldest continually observe the same measures, and not destroy the
rules that have been given thee. So shalt thou be able to have a mouth like
His mouth, so while treading on the earth, thou wilt show forth a tongue
like to that of Him who sits on high; thou wilt maintain the limits He observed
in despondency, in anger, in suffering, in agony.
How many are they of you that desire to see His form? Behold, it is possible,
not to see Him only, but also to become like Him; if we are in earnest.
Let us not delay then. He doth not so readily accept prophets' lips, as those
of meek and forbearing men. "For many will say unto me," He saith, "Have
we not prophesied in Thy name? And I will say unto them, I know you not."
But the lips of Moses, because he was exceeding gentle and meek ("for Moses,"
it is said, "was a meek man above all the men which were upon the face of
the earth"), He so accepted and loved, as to say, "Face to face, mouth to
mouth did He speak, as a man speaketh unto his friend."
Thou wilt not command devils now, but thou shalt then command the fire of
hell, if thou keep thy mouth like to Christ's mouth. Thou shalt command the
abyss of fire, and shalt say unto it, "Peace, be still," and with great
confidence shalt set foot in the Heavens, and enjoy the kingdom; unto which
God grant all of us to attain, by the grace and love towards man of our Lord
Jesus Christ, with whom, be unto the Father, together with the Holy Ghost,
glory, might, honor, now and always, and world without end. Amen.
1 In this parable, the word "talent" refers to
"seven hundred and fifty ounces of silver, which at the rate of five shillings
to the ounce is a hundred and eighty-seven pounds ten shillings sterling."