One day Jesus told His disciples this parable or story.
A certain nobleman was called away to a far country to be appointed king of it, and to return after a time. And he called his servants unto him, and charged them with the care of his goods and treasure, giving to each man according to his ability to use the same. To one servant he gave five talents, to another two, and to another only one. And straightway he left them, and departed upon his journey. Then the man that had five talents went and traded with them, and did so well that in time the profits amounted to five talents more, making ten altogether. And he that had received two talents, also traded with his, and added two other talents to them by way of profit. But he that had had but one talent went away and covered it up in a cloth and hit it away.
After a long time the nobleman came back and called his servants to him, and asked them for the treasure he had entrusted to their keeping. And he that had received five talents, brought ten, and said, “Lord, behold, I have gained five other talents beside them.” And his lord said, “Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things. Enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” And to him that had two talents, and brought back four, the lord said the same words. Then came he that had received but one talent and had hid it; and he said, “Lord, I knew thee that thou art a hard man, reaping where thou hast now sown, and I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent, and lo, here thou hast that which is thine.” His lord said unto him, “Thou wicked and slothful servant. Thou knewest that I reaped where I had not sown; thou oughtest therefore to have put my money in the bank, that I might have received mine own with interest for its use. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him that hath ten; and take the unprofitable servant and cast him into the outer darkness.”
Now the talent here mentioned was an eastern sum of money (nearly one thousand dollars), but it really means the powers and opportunities for doing good that God had given to all of us. One day we shall all be called upon to give an account of the talents entrusted to our keeping, and woe be to those who have abused their stewardship by hiding their talent away. But those who have done good, according to the power and opportunity given to them, shall be received into everlasting joy by Christ the Lord.