Updated: Mar 17, 2020
He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, "Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours." 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? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest." So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. (Matthew 25:24-28)
We are now to the point that two faithful servants have turned in the profits of their work, which led to overwhelming joy and great rewards for the master and themselves. Unfortunately, this is not what happened with the third servant. The third servant had not duplicated his talent, therefore, his hands were empty. He didn’t have a tangible profit, but he had lots of WORDS!
This man’s explanation implies that he dug his talent in the ground because of fear. When we see a person in fear of anything, we feel compassion, but this is not what the master felt when hearing him. Instead, the master said to him, “You wicked and slothful servant.”
These words mean the direct opposite of what he called the other two servants, “Good and faithful.” So, there was no compassion shown, but judgement.
The word “wicked” means evil, depravity, or iniquity. Wickedness is everything opposed to what is good. “Slothful” means lazy. Slothfulness or laziness is the inclination to inactivity resulting from a dislike of work, despite having the ability to do so. It is also apathy or inactivity in the practice of virtue.
The fact that the Word of God puts “wicked and slothful” in the same line teaches us that slothfulness is as wicked as any other act of iniquity.
The unfaithful servant didn’t have a tangible fruit of his labors, but he had words and explanations to justify himself. This made him “wicked and slothful.”
Having WORDS in the absence of actions is a symptom of slothfulness, just as procrastination is a symptom of unfaithfulness, and as worry is a symptom of lack of trust in God. The faithful focuses on getting the work done because he knows that tangible profit needs no words to prove itself.