Fear and Faithfulness: The Parable of the Talents
Are you full of fear or faithfulness?
Mark Twain said, "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
I have loved that quote for a long time, but Jesus laid out the concept in Matthew 25, long before Mark Twain.
Remember the Parable of the Talents?
““It’s also like a man going off on an extended trip. He called his servants together and delegated responsibilities. To one he gave five thousand dollars, to another two thousand, to a third one thousand, depending on their abilities. Then he left. Right off, the first servant went to work and doubled his master’s investment. The second did the same. But the man with the single thousand dug a hole and carefully buried his master’s money.
“After a long absence, the master of those three servants came back and settled up with them. The one given five thousand dollars showed him how he had doubled his investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’
“The servant with the two thousand showed how he also had doubled his master’s investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’
“The servant given one thousand said, ‘Master, I know you have high standards and hate careless ways, that you demand the best and make no allowances for error. I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound down to the last cent.’
“The master was furious. ‘That’s a terrible way to live! It’s criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least? The least you could have done would have been to invest the sum with the bankers, where at least I would have gotten a little interest.
“‘Take the thousand and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this “play-it-safe” who won’t go out on a limb. Throw him out into utter darkness.’” Matthew 25:14-30 MSG
A few lessons...
1) It wasn't their money to begin with. It was the Master's. He had loaned each servant a unique amount.
2) It wasn't about the investment and return. It was about their faithfulness.
3) It was a lesson in fear. Fear caused the one who buried the money to play it safe. He was afraid that even the small amount he had been given would be stolen.
God has given each of us unique talents, dreams, ideas, opportunities, and time.
- Maybe it's a business idea.
- Is it a ministry opportunity?
- A way to serve your church...or your next-door neighbor?
- The ability to care for an elderly or ill family member?
- Or spending more time with your children?
Whatever the case, while fear makes us shrink, faithfulness makes us grow.
Fear says, "Play it safe! Be careful! Let's think this through again! That will never work! She doesn't want to spend time with you! You're too busy! They'd never listen! Who do you think you are?"
But faithfulness takes a step. Faithfulness recognizes that God is alive in each of us. And if we are willing, God can enable us to do what seems impossible.
Changing the whole world today isn't called faithfulness. That's insanity. Faithfulness isn't trying to get from Point A to Point Z in one big jump. Faithfulness takes one step, from Point A to Point B and recognizes God's faithfulness in each step of the journey.
So when fear causes you to tremble, remember God's great faithfulness and just take the first step.
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