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 his journey.
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 teeth.
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 this,
"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 punishment.
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
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 canst 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 common advantage.
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 humility.
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
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
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
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."