“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. I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.’ Matthew 25:24-25 (NLT)
The story of the talents is the story of a Master who gave three servants an opportunity to use a gift he'd given them. To the first servant he gave 5 talents (375 pounds) of silver. To the second servant he gave two (150 pounds) and to the third servant he gave one (75 pounds).
When he returned, the first and second servants had worked the gift they were given and grown it. The third buried it. You have to wonder what he might have been thinking. Did he say "Well, they got so much and I got so little, whatever I do with it won't matter." or "I don't know much about this sort of thing, I'll just keep what I have." or "Man, this is scary and risky. I am afraid so I'll take the safe route." The Bible doesn't tell us all the things going through his mind but it does say he blamed it on his fear of the Master.
Made me wonder....what gift has God given me that I am not using because of fear? Really, most of the excuses we come up with have to do with fear. Here are some:
- That is not my strength (which is often heard as "That's not my gift.") That sounds like a fear of everything. What does that mean? If God has given you the opportunity, he will give you what it takes to do it.
- I don't know how. I have used this one. Not only did I not know how, I was not trying to know how either. Could this be the "lazy" Jesus calls out in the parable?
- It is too risky. This could be translated as "I am really comfortable with my life right now and I don't want to risk losing anything." Do we honestly think what we currently hold is better than what God has in mind?
I wish I could say I was beyond reproach when it comes to using the opportunities God has placed before me. I know I am not. What drives most of us is fear. Most of us have a healthy dose of it and it controls us. Each one of us could look at what we've been given, identify where we are not using it as God intended and be the servant with one talent.
I don't want to be that servant. I want to be the servant with the 5 talents that used them all! I want to hear Jesus say "You did good. I am proud of you." WOW! Can you imagine? But, in order to do that, I have to place my fear aside and say "Yes, Lord." whenever he calls. I need to remember that it's not my abilities that will make this successful, but his power.
How about you? What are you afraid of? Can you get past it and embrace the opportunity God is giving you so you too can hear "Well Done!"?