What do I want to be known for? What do I want to make famous?
We all make something famous: a brand, our skill, a school—or God.
So that brings us to the question… *Dramatic pause*
Do I want to make Christ famous?
Hold that thought; we’re going to tackle a different subject for a second. ;) Fear.
Fear can be a good thing—it can prevent you from doing something stupid and being hurt. Fear is the reason you don’t swim with sharks or touch a hot stove. But dear can also be a bad thing. Fear of rejection, failure, etc.
So with those two things in mind, let’s take a look at the Parable of the Talents. (Matthew 25:14-30)
In that parable, I’d like to make a little point before we continue. :) Is that alright?
When they say “long journey,” it’s like LONG long. Like different country long. And they (pretty obviously) didn’t have modern technology. This journey might take a month or two or three just to get there. In this case, it’s likely the master could be gone a couple of years. So placing his assets in the charge of his servants is no small thing.
Thank you for the indulgence; we can move on now. :)
So as we’ve seen, this master trusts some of his servants with his assets: money. (Ooooo!) Talents, to be precise. (A talent equals roughly $20,000.) So this master, call him Mr. Mulah, gives five talents ($100k) to one servant, three talents ($40k) to another servant, and one talent ($20k) to the last servant.
Mr. Mulah is a businessman: he ain’t no dummy. It’s logical to assume that he gave the most responsiblity (i.e., entrusted money) to the most competent. Thus: he gave the money out according to the servants’ respective abilities. Kapeesh? ;)
A little point here (or, evidence to support my above one): Nobody says “I’ll share the ball evenly” in sports. It’s logical to give it to the one best capable for the job. And no one wants it a different way. Sure, others may want the ball, but they know that if they were in charge, they’d give it to the one best capable, too. That’s the way it was with the talents.
So, what would you do with a $100k account entrusted to you by your business owner?
Here’s what they did:
Our five talent friend immediately went to work making that money make money. He likely invested it. He grew hus $100k. That’s also what the 3 talent guy did.
But poor Mr. 1 Talent was afraid and thought of all the ways he could fail. He just sat on his talent in fear of wasting it. He rejected responsibility by burying the talent.
Here’s the results they got:
Mr. 5 Talent doubled his 5. His master told him he was faithful in the few things, (that’s right, he said $100k was “few” to our Mr. Mulah—a point we’ll emphasize later) and rewarded him with the responsibility of being faithful in much. “Go and enter into the joy of your master.”
The 2 talent guy doubled his entrustment, too! He was also faithful with the few things and rewarded with responsibility of much. (We don’t know what that is, but we know that it’s got to be enough to make $40k look like a little.)
Those two men were responsible. They were tested and proved themselves.
The third man was afraid, afraid of failure, and irresponsibility, so he told his master what he did. His master wasn’t happy. “You did what?” He could have done so much. But instead, he got fired for laziness. And he wasn’t just irresponsible and lazy: he was betting on his master dying. If he had put the talent in the bank, and if the master had died, the talent would have gone to the master’s family, according to his will. Right? But the servant saw to it that if his master died, he would be able to sneak the talent to himself. (If you secretly bury something, it’s easy to sneak it back with no one looking, yes?)
What can we learn from this?
One thing is to use what you have, start where you are, and do what you can. That’s what we learned from the two faithful servants.
But another is, sometimes fear of failure is the cause of failure. That’s what we learned trom the unfortunate, unfaithful servant.
How can this apply to my life?
What if, instead of talents, God was giving you five—two—or one person in your life to invest in and pour into? To handle His business? Am I taking hold of that responsibility?
God might seem silent—like He’s ln q long journey (like our Mr. Mulah)—but then you might have a “God moment,” where He puts on your heart the question of what you did with the relationships He gave you.
In that case, what would I say?
Would I make God joyful or sorrowful with what I’ve done?
You see, God loves blessing our life. He wants to make our life full of joy full of life so that we become like a magnet to others. And if He gave me another Christian friend to team up with (another hypothetical talent) to share His good news, would I be afraid of rejection and just stick with that friend instead of doing my mission or would I team up with them and share the gospel to others, Multiplying Him?
Because when you think of it, how impressed do you think God is when we only get along with other Christians? Our “one talent”? And do nothing with it?
Am I letting selfishness take me from God’s plan? How am I letting that get in the way of God’s plan for success in my life? Am I stuck in my comfort? In selfish pursuit of comfort instead of boldly sharing God’s good news and boldly living out His calling?
When it comes down to it:
God has a great plan for your life.
Only two things can get in the way.
Fear only controls us to the degree that I allow it to control our lives.
Don’t let yourself—myself, I’m speaking to me, too!—get in the way. When we think we’re more than we are, we become our own stumbling block, and prevent our own success.
Obedience brings blessing; disobedience brings consequence.
It’s simple, but it’s so true.