Lately I have been battling with a decision about my future (next year to be exact). I have been stressing about what choice to make and even how to make it. I say I trust God, but my actions and fear say differently. I am trying not to be a Prideful Christian (see Day 12 post), but the deeper I get in God the more He requires of me. The more faith, the more trust, the more of everything. It becomes harder, but the Holy Spirit is steadily convicting me and reminding me of the God that I serve.
So once again, the Holy Spirit woke me up this morning and pointed me to another parable. The parable of the talents or the parable of the bags of gold which tells a story about a man going on a journey and entrusts his servants with various amounts of wealth each according to their ability. I hope to break down this text as the Holy Spirit leads me and share all that I have learned about taking God-sized risks!
In Matthew 25 starting in verse 14 Jesus tells of the man who leaves for a long journey and gives each of his servants money. To one servant he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags of gold, and to another only one. It is important to note that the reason each received different amounts is due to their varying abilities. You may be wondering why did each servant receive a different amount? Was this fair? Perhaps the servants that received more were better equipped with handling more. This is certainly evident by what they do next.
In verses 16 and 17:
“The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work, and gained five bags more. So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more.”
The man did not give specific instructions on what to do with the gold, but the two with the most gold (the most risk involved) went out immediately and invested the money their master entrusted to them. Because of their brave risk, it paid off! Big time! They made double what they received.
Then in verse 18:
“…the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.”
Wow! The servant that received the smallest amount of gold (the one with the smallest risk, less to loose) went and hid the master’s money. This servant did not even try to do anything with the money, but hid it away. Because of that he received no return.
So the master comes back to see what the servants did with his money. The two who went and invested the money were able to show the master the great return on their investment. Each time the master said to them:
“Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”
Both servants, the one who received five bags of gold and the one who received two bags of gold, were entrusted with even more! They took a God-risk and it paid off big time!
Then there was the one who received the least and hid the little that he had. Too afraid to take a risk even though he had the least to loose. This servant came to the master and said:
“I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.”
This servant was so afraid of letting his master down; he was so afraid of failing that he hid his gold not willing to risk anything. He even says that the master expects the best because he harvests where he has not sown and gathers where he has not scattered seed. Why are we sometimes like the servant who received the least? We know that the gift is from God, but we are too afraid of failing or losing that we do nothing. We hide it. It is like someone gave you a present, but instead of opening the gift and seeing what is inside you keep it up on a shelf. Too afraid to open it and use it because you might break it. We risk nothing.
We would rather be safe and secure with what we have then going after what God has put in front of us. At least in our comfort zone nothing is unexpected. Everything is predictable. There is little to no risk involved. The unknown is too scary, so we rather go with the sure thing then take a risk that God is leading us to take.
Where is our faith?! We say we have faith in God, but when asked to step out on that faith we fall short. We retreat into our little box where everything is sure, safe, and easy. We may say we have faith but we fail to ever exercise that faith! What good is having faith if you never test it out? It is like buying a super expensive car, but it just sits in your garage because you are too afraid to drive it in fear of an accident. I have been there (currently there) and the Holy Spirit has convicted me. I have put forth faith in the past and acted on that faith and every time God has provided for me! Not once has He let me down. So why now that the task is greater do I doubt? Is my faith only good for certain situations? Or does God’s power and authority only extend so far? Time to check ourselves! Our words may say we have faith, but our actions say otherwise.
So the last servant was too afraid to invest his master’s money, but instead hid it away. So the master rebukes him in verses 26 and 27 saying:
“You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.”
Wow! Conviction! The least the servant could have done was put the money in the bank, so the master could at least collect on the interest! But he did not have sense enough to do that! Then the master took the bag of gold away and gave it to the one who had five bags, and threw the servant out into darkness.
I don’t want to be that servant. I don’t want to squander God’s blessings away because I am too afraid to take a risk. I don’t want God to look at me as ‘wicked and lazy’ because I fail to act on the faith I say I have. Yes He may be asking a lot. Yes it may be hard. Yes it is a big risk, but we serve a bigger God. Why do we worry? If God gives food to the birds, clothes the grass of the fields, how much more will He do for His children?
We must place all of our trust in Him. He is faithful and honors those who are faithful to Him. The Holy Spirit will be our guide, so take a leap of faith! Get outside of your comfort zone. Put actions with your faith! Sow into your future by taking a God-sized risk!