I don’t have much time to carefully craft this post, but this scripture story keeps popping into my head and I’ve got to write about it before I lose my thoughts.
14 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.
15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.
17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.
18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.
19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.
21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.
23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:
25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.
26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:
27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.
28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.
29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.
30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Work With What You’ve Been Given
All three servants were given talents according to his ability. Some are more naturally capable than others, but HOW MANY they were given didn’t matter. What mattered was what they did with what they were given. Two doubled their money and were given the same great reward. One hid his away and lost it entirely. When I am wishing I’d been given different abilities, I devalue what I do have, and tend to hide it away. When I confidently work with what I’ve got, the Lord blesses my efforts in a ‘Loaves and Fishes’ sort of way. My small efforts yield greater rewards than they deserve because I’m consecrating them to the Lord.
You Find What You Look For
The ‘slothful’ servant perceived the master to be harsh and punitive. That is what he experienced. The other servants perceived the master as generous, and that is what they experienced. In our interactions with God and our vast universe, when we look for and magnify the good things, the good things multiply. When we are grateful for the blessings we currently have, we become magnets for EVEN MORE BLESSINGS. In a grateful state, we enjoy life more and see God’s hand in all things. We also bring positivity and blessings to those around us. But when we are focused on what we don’t have, we easily succumb to negative thinking and see God and the world through a limited lens that is clouded with envy, fear, and pessimism. Not only do we rob ourselves of joy, we likely take others down with us.
The importance of RISK
The slothful servant didn’t dare take chances. He lived in fear rather than faith. He was so sure of failure that he didn’t even TRY. And of course, it became a self-fulfilling prophecy. In order to make a profit, the two wise servants had to take a risk. They had to invest with a chance of failure. We don’t know from the scripture, but perhaps there were ups and downs in their profits before the master came back for the reckoning. Perhaps they lost a little, gained a little in a predictable rate, or perhaps there were even huge swings in their losses and gains. I’m sure there was uncertainty. But they worked, they risked, and they ultimately came out on top. How much have we missed out on joy and growth because we acted out of fear, not faith? Ups and downs are inevitable when we try. By not taking risks, we guarantee we never experience the ups.
The Burden of Success
The slothful servant lost his only talent to the servant with ten. When you do a good job, you end up getting more responsibility put upon you. Why is it always the same few people who carry the bulk of the workload in an organization? Why is there the adage “If you want something done, give it to a busy person.”? Being successful rarely provides you with more leisure, but rather, more responsibility. The more we give of ourselves, the more seems to be required of us. But with that responsibility comes increased capacities, increased perspective, increased experiences. Sure, it’s more work. But I’ve learned time and again that the blessings come to those that SHOW UP.
I see myself as much in the slothful servant as I do in the wise. Some days I act in faith, and others in fear. But I’m trying. I’m risking. And I believe in a master who is generous. And you know what? Day by day, thats what I find.