In a post earlier this week, I wrote about the parable of the talents, focusing on the fact that Christ praised the servants who were faithful in just a few things.
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. – Matthew 25:21
What a relief it is to know that Jesus does not expect us to excel in many things – only to be faithful in the key tasks he has called us to do.
As the parable concluded, I also noted the excuse the unfaithful servant gave for not investing his master’s talent: fear.
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: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. – Matthew 25:24-25
The unfaithful servant explained that he was afraid of his master, whose god-like capabilities seem to have intimidated the servant. Because of the servant’s fear, he did not invest his talent, but instead hid it, rendering it of no use or value.
His master’s response was harsh.
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: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Matthew 25:26-27
To paraphrase, he said, “You knew who I am, and what I expected of you. At the least, you could have invested the money so that it could have earned interest.”
The meaning for us is clear. God has given us all gifts and talents, some more than others; but no matter what we are given, we are to invest those gifts and talents for his kingdom.
Though the servant said he was afraid of seeming an unskilled investor, compared to his wise and powerful master, perhaps his fear was instead of failing altogether.
The servant’s fear held him back from any attempt at investing his talent, and his inaction was judged by his master to be laziness.
How terrible it would be to disappoint Christ in this way, to fail him because we simply didn’t step out in faith! It’s easy to make excuses for not serving God – it’s not always convenient or easy, after all – but if he has called us to a mission, we must accept.
Have God ever called you to do a task for which you felt inadequate? He certainly has me! I’d love to hear from you.