So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’
How many of our life decisions do we make based out of fear? For me, it’s been a lot.
The parable of the talents is not just about money… in fact far from it. The call of God, the Redemption of Christ, and the Power of the Holy Spirit is not bestowed upon people just so they can get a comfortable, easy life. Again, quite the opposite.
In God’s economy, everyone must pull their own weight. We are given the power and authority to do the things He has called us to do.
Hebrews 13:20-21 Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
Does that mean we are to quit our jobs and move overseas?
For some maybe, but for most, it just means do everything you do for the Glory of God.
If you aren’t familiar with this parable – in short, a man entrusts 3 servants with different sums of money. To each, he only gives what they are capable of handling (God will not call us to do what He hasn’t equipped us for). One he gives 5, another 3, and the last only one.
The man with 5 doubled his money through investments, the man with 3 doubled his money through hard work, but the man with one buried the bag in the dirt until the master’s return.
Why? Because he was afraid
A Warning: Taking the path of least resistance is the quickest way to pop up on The Enemy’s radar. Satan loves to pile on when he see’s us letting fear, laziness or selfishness choose our path.
An example in my own life that just happened recently: a group of employees (men in 30’s and 40’s) was engaged in (sadly typical) water cooler talk. How hot this girl was, making crude jokes. It was not ok but these are not self-professed Christians and Jesus doesn’t tell us to admonish the world, only other Christians.
“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.
I noticed however that I (a Christian man in my 50’s) and a young college student were the only two that weren’t jumping on the bandwagon, but I also noticed the young man was actively listening.
I was OK with just ignoring the conversation but I felt a pang of responsibility to model what a real man looks like to the college kid and speak up. It didn’t have to be a preachy “your going to hell” fire and brimstone stuff, just a simple “guys, tone it down or take the conversation elsewhere, this isn’t appropriate for inside the office”.
But I didn’t say anything. Instead, I just prayed that God would run the conversation dry quickly so the ears of those being held hostage by the crude conversation would be set free.
Why didn’t I speak up? Fear of ridicule? Fear of being judged as a prude, for of not looking like a “real” man, being seen as a Bible-thumping Jesus freak?
In light of this passage, if we are burdened in a social situation is that not because the Holy Spirit has placed us in that situation then given us the discernment, authority, and strength to overcome fear and uncomfortableness and step in to offer alternative ways of relating to and loving others?
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
And how many times in a day does stuff like this happen?
You get too much change back at the fast-food drive-through and keep it
You see a rude customer harassing an employee and just wait your turn
You let anger (fear and pride combined) get the best of you and say hurtful things to your spouse or other family members in the heat of the moment
You engage in water cooler gossip or immature banter or as I did choose to stay silent
You see bullies at school picking on weaker kids and turn the other way or worse grab your cell-phone to record it to paste on your facebook page in hopes of going viral (whole different sermon on that topic!)
God has blessed you with an income but you don’t tithe or support some kind of charity or community outreach
You love God’s word and the people at your church but leading a life-group or volunteering at church seems like “too much hassle” or “way out of the comfort zone”.
I would challenge anyone reading this to make that list personal. Spend a few minutes and think about the times when the decision to “not get involved” is justified by (typically weak) excuses fueled by fear, laziness or selfishness.
26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 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. 28 “‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. 29 For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ [empashis added]
Clearly, there is a warning here: We are to step in, step up, get involved, use the talents and treasures our Lord has given us for the Glory of God. We are called to make our bodies a living sacrifice, Holy and Pleasing to God.
WE ARE CALLED TO LOVE SACRIFICIALLY.
Fear is nothing more than an overly active sense of self-preservation. To avoid conflict is to condone the status-quo. Being a peace-keeper does not mean avoid righteous conflict.
What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?
Am I truly making a difference in the life of those God divinely appoints me too; whether it be my family, workplace, community, or the whole world?
Father God – as much as the double-edged sword stings, my prayer is that you let it cut deeply. Sanctification is Yours to purvey on our fearful and selfish souls and I want to be counted as a good and faithful servant. I thank You for the conviction that no matter how much I think I may be righteous there is always the flesh, fear and an Enemy whispering lies in an attempt to silence and sideline those whom You’ve called and equipped for the battles of the heart. Let not Your word fall on deaf ears, mine above all Father. Give me the courage to press boldly into a broken world not out of conviction or in condemnation but out of Love. Show us how to courageously shower the world with the love, mercy, kindness, and Grace that You heap on us Lord. May You be glorified here on earth as You are in heaven. In Jesus’ precious name I pray…