“For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ Matthew 25:14-23
Have you ever had someone tell you they believe in you? If you haven’t, I suspect just the questions elicit some emotion of sadness or longing. If you have, you know how powerful an affirming word from a respected leader can be. We all want to be seen as valuable or good. In this parable we have a leader doing just that for three different people. The sum of money that each one was given was large. It was a huge investment on the part of the master. There are two responses to this offering of trust and responsibility. The faithful men see this as the voice of a respected leader telling them that he believes in them. The unfaithful man sees the responsibility as a burden. Today I want to focus on the perspective of the faithful servants.
What we believe about God (our master) will significantly shape how we experience his commands. If it is difficult for you to see the invitation to goodness in scripture then you may need to evaluate your perspective on what God is like. Look at what the two faithful servants do. They receive a massive sum of money from their master. They each invest the money so as to return more than they were entrusted. In our day, that sounds like a wise use of the money. In the days that Jesus told this story it would have been more advisable to do what the unfaithful servant did. That means the two heroes in our story were risk takers. Do you trust the goodness of God enough to take risks? Jesus affirms their risk. Isn’t that interesting? The economy of Jesus is not one of fear or hesitation. It is an economy of trust and it’s an environment of love where risking failure is allowed.
What resources has God entrusted you with? Is it your health? Is it your skill at a specific trade or some leadership ability? Are you naturally wired to be hospitable and welcoming to others? Do you have extra time to offer? Each one of these is an investment on God’s part in you. It isn’t a burden. It’s a statement that God believes in you. He thinks that you have what it takes to participate in bringing his goodness more and more into the world. Take a moment to thank God for the various investments he has made in you. Ask him to show you what those investments are. Now, remember, God isn’t up in heaven waiting for you to fail so he can punish you for your foolishness. He is for you, he believes in you and that is why he gave you gifts to use for his kingdom. Let’s step into the space of trust and risk a little with his investment.
By Aaron Bjorklund