The background behind this journal entry is that I had an idea for a new method of studying the scriptures:
When studying a chapter, a really simple way to take some notes would to be just to write down, record, or summarize the doctrine or lesson being taught - even if it is plain and simple. It's not so important to document the easy stuff as much as it is to form the habit of recording your own perceptions on the scriptures, and seeing where that can lead.
With that, here's what I came up with for this parable, found in Matthew 25:14-30.
14. The man travelling into a far country is the Lord. The doctrine is that while He is not physically with us for a time (or, we with Him), we are still subject until His rule.
They are servants, meaning both parties have reached an agreement of terms – they know the master.
The master delivers unto them his own goods, he imparts of his own treasure and responsibility to those who have elected to be subservient to him.
15. The last thing he did before leaving was to give them their talents, their charge and their instructions.
He gave every servant that which he knew they could bear. He was aware of their capacity, and how much of a responsibility one could carry.
16. The one with the five talents went first and with them made five more. I'm not sure what "traded with the same" means, if it refers to the people or the talents.
17. The servant with two talents went and did the same.
Regardless of the number of talents given, the path to making more is the same.
18. The servant with one talent not only failed to trade with the same, but he went out of his way to hide it from his own sight, where it would not be a nagging reminder of his duty.
19. After a long time, the Lord returns to make an accounting, and to see what the servants did.
20. Again, the one with the five talents is first (I think there's some significance here in the order). He acknowledges his Lord's hand in what has been given him, and he not only retained the talents given unto him [his capacity for holding did not decrease], but managed to gain more from his work.
21. The master, pleased with the first servant's diligence, acknowledges that the servant has indeed been faithful, and promises him that he will be made a ruler. He has secured his salvation, and may rest forever in the joy of his Lord (also worth nothing that it is the master who makes this judgment and admission available). I love that the fact that him being made a ruler is in the future (though no longer conditional). You can gain salvation through the final judgment, but exaltation will take a great long time to acquire.
22. The servant with the two talents comes next, and he reports his progress as well.
23. The Lord is also pleased with this servant, and the blessings are the same regardless of how many talents were given. Where much is given, much is required. Also, where little is given, little is required in return. Ultimately, the price for every servant is the same: to give it all.
24. The servants came to him to be reckoned with.
I love that the servant spoke the truth at this point, and does not hide it from his master.
The third servant also confesses that he understood the character of his master, that his nature and methods were to delegate responsibilities and to collect the rewards. He knew what the master had expected of him.
The servant claims he was afraid, and I'm not sure how to read into that one: the master calls him both wicked and slothful.
He admits the actions he took, and then returns the talent to the master. There's no indication that the other servants [were the ones who] returned the talents, or that he received them back unto himself (though it does say that the one with five brought them with him).
He seems almost glad to be rid of this responsibility, or at least relieved, and returns it unto him acknowledging the true ownership.
26. The master agrees with his assessment of his own character, or in other words, he confirms that the servant knew he was acting against his wishes.
27. I'm not sure if the master is saying "you should have .. at least" or if he's just describing what the other two servants did.
28. I think this part is interesting because it illustrates that there is a third party here at work. I think that maybe this says something about the character of the master, since if the wicked remain in his sight, it would be painful and terrible for them. Therefore, someone, some other servant acts as an intermediary (that is, there is someone who has power to distribute and collect talents in the name of the master).
29. This is a celestial law. I don't know what it means, though. [See also Matthew 13:10-13, where the Lord is actually talking about parables. It seems to me that perhaps it means that people who are going in a specific direction will reap their rewards for that dedication. That is, those that have, and move forward, will have more, while those who have not, and persist in not looking, will have the little they have taken from them. For example they have the ability to hear, but do not listen. That ability will also diminish over time if it is continued to not be used – apathy will set in. Alma 12:11. It seems like Alma 12:9 is the conditions of that law – something I would normally read as a method of teaching, but it is more than that. Read Alma 12:10 for more context.]
30. Finally, the reward for the unprofitable servant is to be cast out (again, by a third party), again indicating that he was under covenant, and broke the law.