Accountability for What One is Given (Matt. 25:14-30)
Just as He taught that believing Jews and Gentiles in the Tribulation were to be ready for His Second Coming in the Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matt. 25:1-13), Jesus continued teaching about being ready in the Parable of the Talents (Matt. 25:14-30). Based upon three verses in the parable, we know that Jesus was using money to illustrate the measure of His servant's accountability as stewards while He was gone (v. 14, 18, 27). According to a note in the Scofield Bible, a talent was equal to 6000 denarii. A Roman denarius was a silver coin about two-thirds the size of an American quarter, and it was worth about a day's wages of an ordinary laborer. If that is true, the "traveling man" in the parable gave one of His servants over eighty-three years worth of wages; one was given over thirty-three years worth, and the last was given nearly seventeen years worth. The question is, what does the money represent?
I believe it represents "light," or the truth of the Gospel. The virgins who were faithful, in the previous parable, kept their "light" burning for all to see. Early in His ministry, Jesus had taught His disciples that they were to be "light," and that believers in Him should "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Matt. 5:16). If the "talents" in this parable represent "light" or understanding of the truth, then letting men "see" would result in God being glorified. The result would be the salvation of lost souls. There is a precedent for this interpretation, in that, men will be sentenced to differing degrees of punishment based upon their response to the amount of light they rejected (Matt. 11:20-24). The “works” of a believer do not save him, but a genuine believer will be a workman for God (Eph. 2:10; Titus 2:14; 3:1; Heb. 13:21; Jam. 2:17-26).
In this parable, a wealthy man takes a journey, and before he leaves, he distributes his goods to his servants. Notice the reward for faithfulness is not money, and is identical, regardless of the amount involved: “I will make thee ruler over many things” (Mt. 25:21, 23). This is consistent with several passages (II Tim. 2:12; Rev. 5:10; Rev. 20:4, 6; 22:5, etc.). So, even during the Tribulation, believers are to faithfully witness for Christ. Those who are truly His servants will share the Gospel with the lost, but those who only pretend to be His servants will hide because they care more about their own lives than they do for the souls of the lost. Just as we sing, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine,” pictures the Christian's responsibility for soul-winning before the Rapture, believers during the Tribulation, the Jews (and Gentiles) whose eyes been opened, having "seen the light," are to “let it shine!” Remember, this story tells us that the traveler has returned, and He is evaluating those who claim to have been His servants during the Tribulation.