Matthew 25:26

ESV But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed?
NIV His master replied, 'You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed?
NASB But his master answered and said to him, ‘You worthless, lazy slave! Did you know that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter seed?
CSB "His master replied to him, 'You evil, lazy servant! If you knew that I reap where I haven't sown and gather where I haven't scattered,
NLT But the master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy servant! If you knew I harvested crops I didn’t plant and gathered crops I didn’t cultivate,
KJV His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:

What does Matthew 25:26 mean?

Two servants pleased their master greatly: doubling the investment he left with them while he went away on a long journey (Matthew 25:19–23). The third servant didn't even try. He buried the money his master entrusted to him in the ground and returned it to his master untouched (Matthew 25:18). His excuse for this was a combination of fear and contempt: seeing his master as harsh and unfair, he chose to do literally nothing with his given talent (Matthew 25:24–25).

The master responds with anger, calling the servant both immoral and lazy. The servant claimed to have been afraid of earning his master's wrath if he lost the money. He described the master as someone who takes advantage of other people's labor. That master's response here is logical. It's meant to call out the servant's dishonesty. If the servant honestly thought the master was so harsh and demanding, he should have been motivated to do something with the money (Matthew 25:27).

The point of Jesus' parable relates to the modern use of the term "talent." In the ancient world, this was a weight measure for precious metals. In English, it's become a reference to God-given ability. God blesses His servants on earth with "talents" such as skills, abilities, assets, and money while He is away. Those who truly trust in Him will see these gifts as opportunities to invest in increasing Christ's glory. They will passionately use those entrusted resources, growing the faith of and/or the number of people who belong to Him. They will go to work on behalf of Christ and earn His favor and rewards when He returns.

Those who choose to fear or resent Christ, though, may choose to do nothing, at all. They may be bitter that others were given more talents than they were. Jesus labels this refusal to participate in what He has commanded as evil laziness. That refusal to serve, implies something crucial about the real relationship this person has with the master. It comes with enormous consequences (Matthew 25:30).
What is the Gospel?
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