Todays parable takes up faithfulness. Different servants are given different amounts of money. A talent was a weight of gold or silver equal to perhaps 20 years wages. It did not matter how he used it. Those who used their talents well were praised by their master, who was overjoyed by their diligence during his absence. The servant who buried his talent was condemned as “wicked”, in the sense of being “Lazy and Useless”. The point is that we are to make full use of our talents (our resources and abilities) as we await the coming of Christ. That is what it means to be His faithful servants. Inaction counts as wickedness, and as not expecting Jesus to return.
Placing the parable within the larger context of the Gospel dispels a great deal of its harshness. The poor servant who received only one talent might be seen as a “little one” in Matthew’s community. As such those who had more gifts within the Church would be expected to assist him and show him special care. Nevertheless, even a “little one” is called to use what has been given. If he chooses to bury his gift, he will have to answer to the Master.