So today I started out studying about the salt and the light in Matthew 5. As I read, I noticed that the lamp was not merely shining but was placed on a stand to maximize its usefulness. I started thinking about maximizing what God has given me.
This led me to the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30. The modern meaning of the word talent, denoting a natural ability, stems from the application of this passage to the stewardship of one’s natural gifts.
There’s a master who goes off on a trip and calls his servants to him. To one he gives five talents, to another two and the last one. Both the servant with five talents and the servant with two talents went out and doubled them. But, the one with the single talent dug a hole in the ground to preserve it. When the master came back, he was pleased with the ones who doubled their talents and angry with the one whom merely hid his money in the ground.
When the servants who doubled their talents present them to the master, he says, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.”
To the other, the master takes his talent away and casts him into the outer darkness.
Concerning the reception of five talents against two talents, this parable shows that the reward is based on faithfulness, not results. Salvation is found in faith in Jesus, not in how much we can do, which is so cool. I don’t deserve salvation and I definitely don’t deserve not to work hard for it.
After reading it in my Bible, I decided to look it up in the Message. I like the way this translation describes the servant who received the one talent. This is what he said to his master. “Master, I know you have high standards and hate careless ways, that you demand the best and make no allowances for error. I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound.” That sounds a whole lot like me. My biggest fear is failure. I would rather play it safe than walk out on a limb and try something. I am such a people pleaser and I forget who I am living for sometimes. Galatians 1:10 is a good reminder in those times. “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”
Back in the parable, when the master hears this, his response is solid. “That’s a terrible way to live! It’s criminal to live cautiously like that! if you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least?…And get rid of this ‘play-it-safe’ who won’t go out on a limb.”
Alright. God has blessed me with many talents, yet it’s sad how often I am complacent with using them casually. I should work hard and use them for His glory. If there is a talent He has given me that I don’t use, that is wickedness.
Go hard or go home. This brings me to March Madness. Each game is win or go home. There is no double elimination. If I were to live life like tomorrow was not promised (which is isn’t) how radical would that be? What is stopping me from going that hard on a day-to-day basis? A fear of failure. But, God has clothed me in His righteousness and placed me feet firmly on His grace. Nothing can shake me, so why not go for it?
“For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.” -Psalm 62:1-2