And as they heard these things, he added and spoke a parable, because he was near to Jerusalem…
Notice the following points:
1. The "pound" had been kept in a napkin — to show sometimes, as people keep a Bible in their house to let us see how religious they are. But the very brightness of the Book proves how little it is read. It is kept for the respectability of it, not used for the love of it. The anxious faithless keeper of the pound had perhaps sometimes talked of his fellow-servants "risking their pounds in that way"; adding "I take care of mine." But spending is better than hoarding; and the risks of a trade sure to be on the whole gainful are better than the formal guardianship of that which, kept to the last, is then lost, and which, while kept, is of no use.
2. The pound is taken away from the unfaithful servant, and given to the ablest of the group. Let the man who is ablest have what has been wasted. Let all, in their proportion, receive to their care the advantages which have been neglected, and employ these for themselves and for us.
3. Notice next, how it fares with the different servants when the king and the master return. Those who had been faithful are all commended and rewarded. The king shares his kingdom with those who had been faithful to him in his poverty. They have gained pounds, and they receive cities. The master receives those into happiest intimacy with himself, who, in his absence, have been faithfully industrious for him. These good men enter into his joy. He delayed his coming; but they continued their labours. They said not, "He will never come to reckon with us; let us make his goods our own; we have been busy, let us now be merry." "Outer darkness!" How expressively do the words represent both the state of man before his soul's good is gained, and his state when that good has been lost! Who that has gained shelter, and is one of the many whose hope, whose interests are one, who have light and warmth and sometimes festive music, would be cast forth again into the cold, dark, lonely night?
4. There are for each man two ways of gain — the direct and the indirect, increase and interest. How comes increase? It comes by the plenty of nature, which enables us to add one thing to another, as gold to iron and wood; by the productiveness of nature, which out of one seed yields many; by the application of skill to nature, through which we extract, connect, and adapt nature's gifts, and, first fashioning took, then fashion many things. But all were to little purpose without combination. And whatever of ours another uses, paying us for the use, yields us interest. We depend for the increase of our possessions on our connection with others, our combination with them. And we can always employ our "talent" indirectly, if we cannot directly; usually, we can do both. We can both sow a field and lend money to a farmer. We can attend to work of our own, and sustain the work of others. We can teach, and help, and comfort; and we can subscribe in aid of those who do such work of this kind as we cannot ourselves perform.
(T. T. Lynch.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.