When I consider how my light is spent
E're half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one Talent which is death to hide,
Lodg'd with me useless, though my Soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, least he returning chide,
Doth God exact day-labour, light deny'd,
I fondly ask; But patience to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, God doth not need
Either man's work or his own gifts, who best
Bear his milde yoak, they serve him best, his State
Is Kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed
And post o're Land and Ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and waite.
John Miton, "On His Blindness".
The one who had received five talents went off right away and put his money to work
Matthew 25:16, NET.
The face meaning of the parable of the talents is surely "Use what you have, don't bury it" and Milton alludes to that in his sonnet. Milton is saying that God gave him gifts and now, due to blindness, he can't use them. Someone like Jenkins would, it seems, be totally clueless why that would matter.
Since sola fide adherents say that actual good deeds don't matter (and sometimes, in extreme cases, seem to strongly imply that doing good deeds is actually a bad thing), how do they interpret the parable of the talents?
(Question inspired by a discussion of the Left Behind books by Tim LaHay and Jerry Jenkins, both the main post by Fred Clark (which discusses how the doctrine of sola fide affects the writing of the books), and the comment by Mary Kaye (which brings up the parable of the talents).)