The Parable of the Talents 
For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money. After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 
(Matthew 25:14-30)
In those days, a talent was a form of money. This parable seems to teach about increasing money, not so? Until recently, this preconceived idea of money and usury (interest) blocked my understanding of the above parable to some extent and only with the leading of the Holy Spirit, while writing on another subject, was the knowledge of this teaching made clearer: and the key was the word talent
This parable does not teach about money, but about value. Money was only used as an example by Jesus. 
With this misinterpretation concerning earning money, came a further one, which was that once the servant had doubled the money he stopped working. The truth is that before the master left, his servants were working at serving him. They carried on serving him after he left, at the same time increasing the talents. 
Jesus, who was speaking only to his disciples before His departure to be with Father God, had already told them that He was leaving them. This parable was part of His instruction that His disciples would understand when He had gone. 

What did He say at an even later time? 
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. 
(Acts 1:8)
This is what He was talking about in the parable.
Christians are aware of the spiritual world and some of the power that emanates from God, so we should realise that the parable of the talents as told by the Son of God was a worldly example of a spiritual truth. 
Also, I recently wondered why the man who received two talents was included in the parable, because at first glance the teaching concerns that of the servant with five obtaining the talent from the servant who received only one. With this in mind, let's realise that the servant who received two talents was placed in the plot of the story for a reason. 
Another fact that only recently became clear, was that each servant was given items of value for the purpose of profiting their master. The two that used those items of value to double their worth for their master were allowed to keep all that value as a reward. In fact the one was actually given extra. 
Further, why did Jesus choose the numbers five, two and one, why not three, two and one? 

We see in the first verse that they were His goods - spiritual gifts. The message seems to be that one servant was given more than double the number of gifts than the next in line, and the next, double that of the third. This means, surely, that the master could see the worth of each servant before he left, believing that he would receive the most return for value by giving more to the best servant. 
Furthermore, we see that the one servant feared. He was more concerned about his fear than about his obedience. He was thinking of himself, not of what he could do for his master. 

You will also notice that he at least gave back the talent which he had received; he didn't spend it and run away. 
How does the parable start? For the kingdom of heaven is. . . . . 

So, we are dealing with a system of responsibility and reward that applies in God's kingdom, not so. 
Let's take it a bit further. What are the talents likely to be that we can receive from God for the furtherance of His kingdom, and what can we each build from what we receive? 
Presuming of course that we are born again, without which no one has any hope. 
Previously we understood that the master could see the difference in value of his servants as there must have been some signs showing. 

Here are some of the signs that God is looking for in us, His servants: 
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another. 
(Galatians 5:22-26)
According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: 
(2 Peter 1:3-10)
As a result, the Lord can give additional gifts to those servants showing such signs , because they will be able to handle the added responsibility of using them in His service. As time goes by more will be added as each servant learns to cope with more. 

Here are some of God's gifts: 
Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led. Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way. 
(1 Corinthians 12:1-31)
All the above is called Christianity and is used by us in varying degrees in actions and words to declare the Kingdom of God so that those who are made spiritually aware can have their lives changed by the anointing of the Holy Spirit. 
Blessed be God who loves us with such wondrous love.
Going back to the parable once again. 

Firstly we see that they were servants, not strangers. We claim to be servants of Christ, not so? So Jesus was referring to disciples, to born again Christians. 
Secondly, the talents were given according to their ability. The brown man of Africa is head and shoulders superior to his pink skinned brother of European stock as regarding knowledge of the spiritual world, but the other usually has more grasp of the efficient use of resources. In the light of this, it would seem that the talents (gifts of God) would be different for the two. 
As we have already seen, the one with more ability (potential or otherwise), receives more gifts and therefore more responsibility than the other. Of the first two described in the parable, they both doubled the value of what they received, but the one with more responsibility received a "bonus" so to say, because it's easier to double two talents than to double five. 
Nevertheless, both are promised what seems to be the same reward at a future date because they were faithful to what was expected of them. 
What is seldom realised, is that Jesus was talking to His disciples only, those whom the Father had given Him. If we go back to Matthew 24:3 we see that this parable is in fact an extension of a question put to Him privately. 

A servant labours for his master and a disciple does the same for his Lord. This must surely mean that those who don't labour are not disciples, nor do they have a Master that they respect. 
I don't wish to be brutal about this, only truthful according to God's word; however, if you are born again and believe in once born again always born again, and have the habit of sitting in your comfort zone watching television while you should be labouring for the kingdom of God, you are like the slothful servant who only gave back the talent that he received. 
In the light of this, we must each ask ourselves, "How real is the Kingdom of God to me; which servant am I?" 
The Parable of the Pounds 
The following parable is similar in many respects to that of the talents; but if we read the first ten verses of the chapter we see that Jesus was not talking to His disciples only, it was not so much a parable of service but of rewards. 
And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear. He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come. But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us. And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds. And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities. And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds. And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities. And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin: For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow. And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow: Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury? And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds. (And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.) For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him. But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me. 
(Luke 19:11-27)
We see here that there are both servants and citizens described. Also, that the servant who did nothing with his talent lost it, but the citizens who didn't want Him as king were destroyed. 
This is confirmed:
For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. 
(Matthew 16:27)
The scriptures show us that the saints will rule and reign with Jesus Christ for a thousand years when He returns: 
And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. 
(Revelation 20:1-6)
We also see that when the New Jerusalem comes, there will be no more labour: 
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. 
(Revelation 21:1-7)
So, the various cities mentioned in the parable of the pounds are awarded to us as a measure of responsibility, to rule over, seemingly in the thousand year reign of Jesus Christ on this present earth. We are accorded this responsibility and privilege because of our faithfulness in using the spiritual gifts that have been given while in our present earthly bodies. We have been found worthy. 
This teaching is a combination of two similar parables, told by two different disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, at different times, one who was an eyewitness and companion of Jesus of Nazareth, and which demonstrates the power of God in a small way to us modern-day disciples. God can use these two isolated incidents as reported by His servants of the time to give us a powerful message today as to what to expect once we leave our present sinful earthly bodies. 
You see, the stopover of the real "everlasting me" which are our souls, in the temporary houses of these blood-filled bodies, are used by our wills to direct the course that we shall take and be unable to change once we leave these earthly bodies behind at death. In other words, the course of our everlasting destiny is decided here and now by our willingness or otherwise to obey God to His satisfaction. 
The slothful servants (Christians) will not make the New Jerusalem!
All glory to the all-righteous Living God.
And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 
(Galatians 5:24)
And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: 
(2 Corinthians 9:8)