Steak Bites & Bacon Bits

Bite-sized Thoughts on Scripture

Lent Day 20: I Am Not Throwing Away My Shot!

“Again, here is what the kingdom of heaven will be like. A man was going on a journey. He sent for his servants and put them in charge of his property. He gave $10,000 to one. He gave $4,000 to another. And he gave $2,000 to the third. The man gave each servant the amount of money he knew the servant could take care of. Then he went on his journey.

“The servant who had received the $10,000 went at once and put his money to work. He earned $10,000 more. The one with the $4,000 earned $4,000 more. But the man who had received $2,000 went and dug a hole in the ground. He hid his master’s money in it.

“After a long time the master of those servants returned. He wanted to collect all the money they had earned. The man who had received $10,000 brought the other $10,000. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you trusted me with $10,000. See, I have earned $10,000 more.’

“His master replied, ‘You have done well, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things. I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

“The man with $4,000 also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you trusted me with $4,000. See, I have earned $4,000 more.’

“His master replied, ‘You have done well, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things. I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

“Then the man who had received $2,000 came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man. You harvest where you have not planted. You gather crops where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid. I went out and hid your $2,000 in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’

“His master replied, ‘You evil, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not planted? You knew that I gather crops where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money in the bank. When I returned, I would have received it back with interest.’

“Then his master commanded the other servants, ‘Take the $2,000 from him. Give it to the one who has $20,000. Everyone who has will be given more. He will have more than enough. And what about anyone who doesn’t have? Even what he has will be taken away from him. Throw that worthless servant outside. There in the darkness, people will sob and grind their teeth.’ – Matthew 25:14-30

I have always been the type of person who would rather quit something than fail something. I feel that way even now with this blog. I made a commitment to blog every day of Lent (excluding Sundays). Last week was extremely busy and I missed 4 days. With each passing day it became easier to not write. Oh well, I thought. I failed. I considered abandoning this project all together. I considered being like the third servant in this story.

Again, I am no Bible scholar, but I don’t think the point of this story is a lesson on aggressive investing strategies. It’s not about money at all. (Most translations use the word “Talents” rather than a U.S. dollar amount. A talent was a unit of money but, as we know, covers any gift or ability God has entrusted us with). The third servant’s problem wasn’t that he failed to turn a profit, but that he failed to even try. He did not trust God with what he had been given.

This story has kind of a scary ending. The servant is thrown outside in the darkness. Is this a metaphor for hell? Are we to be thrown into hell for squandering our talents? No. From a Christian standpoint, we know this cannot be true. Our works aren’t what save us. As N.T. Wright says about this story:

“When Jesus speaks of someone being thrown into the darkness outside, where people weep and grind their teeth, we must never forget that he was himself on the way into the darkness.”

Yes, Jesus came to redeem our failures, so we can use our gifts freely and take risks. But he also came to redeem the times when we failed to try failing, because we were afraid to even try.

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