Almost everyone has heard of the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-18). I heard the story so many times growing up that I didn’t pay much attention to the details. You probably know the story: A man was about to go on a journey, and before he left he gave his possessions to his slaves. He gave one slave five talents, one slave two talents, and the third slave one talent. And in Matt 25:15, it says he chose these amounts based on their “ability”.
So, did you ever stop to think how much a talent was worth back then? I always assumed it was a small or insignificant amount. In today’s economy, I guessed probably less than $100. And if you thought the same thing – you would be missing one of the key points also!
I looked in biblegateway.com and found that a talent was equal to ‘about 20 years of a day laborer’s wage‘. In today’s economy, if you assume that a day laborer (i.e., manual labor worker) makes about $20,ooo/year, then one talent was worth $400,000. Five talents back then would be the equivalent of $2,000,000 today. And these amounts were allocated based on their abilities – not on their interests, or on their personality styles, but on their skill sets!
It makes a big difference when we are helping our youth choose a career to help them using the best data available. If the guy in this parable had a total of $3,200,000, and allocated it according to their abilities, don’t you thing we should look at a student’s skills before sending them off to college and investing over $100,000 for them to get a college degree?