In Matthew 25, the gospel writer records the parable of the Talents. I want to draw our attention to the third servant who was given one talent, or as this version sets it up, one bag of silver. This servant buried his bag in the earth and, upon his master’s return, the servant presents the bag to his master. Here is how the text reads:
25:24 “Then the servant with the one bag of silver came and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. 25 I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.’
26 “But the master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy servant! If you knew I harvested crops I didn’t plant and gathered crops I didn’t cultivate, 27 why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.’
There are two things I want to point out to you from this passage. First, the servant knew his master well and knew that his master not only was successful in his work, but expected a certain level of success in the work of all his servants. Second, the servant acted in fear. He admits to being afraid.
The first servant presented his ten bags of silver with the statement, “You gave me five bags to invest…” thus the servant knew the purpose of the master and used his wisdom to invest the small amount he had been given.
The second servant presented his four bags of silver with the statement, “You gave me two bags to invest…” thus the servant knew the purpose of the master and used his wisdom to invest the small amount he had been given.
The third servant claims that he was afraid that he would lose the money. So often Christians choose to not invest—they choose to protect what the Master has given them. Do you know someone who claims to know God but is afraid that the work they might do might not be what God wants? Their fear prevents them from building the Kingdom of God. The Master calls this inaction “wicked” and not “faithful” as some may think.
Why? Well, because we need to trust that if God, our master, provides us with a part of his wealth, then we are to use that wealth to continue God’s investment in our world. To not participate in God’s investment is to not trust that God knew what he was doing when He put a portion of His wealth into our care. We can act within God purpose, or we can choose inaction because of fear. We can be faithful in God’s purpose, or we can be wicked in our inaction. James, another biblical writer, would say faith without WORKS is dead…and we need to take that to heart, get it through our heads, and then move our hands to action—investing in this world as Jesus did.
I want to share thoughts, insights, and scriptures that lead us in the direction of Christ.