This is a popular anecdote taken from Gospel of Matthew which tells a tale of wasted talent. Its one of the simpler stories from the gospel and talent here means a type of currency doled out in coins; but in context of the story it not just stands for money but also for skill and abilities.
The story is of a master who has 3 servants at his service. He wishes to go out of town on some personal agenda and he distributes a few talents to each of his servants and asks them to make best use of it as he will take account of it on his return.
The master gets back and questions his servants on usage of the talents given to them. The first servant was given 5 talents and he manages to double the amount. He hands over 10 talents to his master thereby pleasing him. The master is all praises for him. The second servant too doubles his talents and wins his master’s trust and faith in him by returning him 4 talents.
Now, the last servant digs into the earth and brings out the 1 talent that he was given. The master is unhappy with him because he has wasted his talent. The servant had no clue on how to use the talent to his advantage, he had hidden it.The last servant incurred the wrath of the master; he was stripped of his job and all responsibilities.
The story has the moral teaching for us that we ought to make use of whatever talent that has been bestowed upon us and not just let opportunities go abegging.
The same anecdote also appears in Gospel of Luke and its title Parable of Minas. Another interpretation of this parable is that the third servant did not take part in the vice of his master; he did not multiply the money thereby not giving himself into the hands of a capitalist. But the most accepted interpretation is of ‘wasted talent’ which also has a mention in John Milton’s sonnet On His Blindness.