Investments, Risks and Rewards
In Matthew 25, we find a parable about three servants and some bags of gold. What’s the end of the story? Hearing the Words, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (25:23)
But what’s the metaphor here? What’s this story really about?
Well, these servants were given money to invest for their master. We too have been given many things to which we must invest for our Master.
Let’s unpack this parable.
These may in fact include money, but perhaps other possessions, resources or commodities. Maybe you have been blessed with a particular skill or ability.
What have you been given? What has God blessed you with?
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
Everything we have, everything we own, every ability we have; all of it is from the Lord and belongs to the Lord. However, we have the choice to look at them as ours and keep it all for ourselves, or we can use it wisely and invest it in God’s work, when we have the opportunity.
With any investment, there are risks. “What if we lose all the money?” The first two servants accepted the risks, invested wisely and it paid off. The third servant concentrated on the risks.
In verse 25 we read that the servants reason for not investing: The servant said, “…I was afraid…” (25:25). Fear was the basis for his lack of motivation. He was afraid, so he decided to hide the money he had been given until the Master returned.
We can slip into that same mindset.
Initially, we openly declare that everything we have is from the Lord, saying “We’ve been so blessed.” And yet, when God requires some sort of sacrifice, fear and doubt slip in.
Even though we fully believe the blessing is from the Lord, we struggle believing that He will pour out His blessing again if we need it. Sometimes, this is because we know that being in need is sometimes exactly the blessing that we need.
How does the Master view the servant’s fear?
In verse 26, the Master replies with, “…You wicked, lazy servant!” (Vs. 26) But wait a second? How did fear and doubt move to wickedness and laziness?
The point here is that fear is never an excuse to do nothing. In verse 27 we read, “…you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.” (25:27).
How would this look in our day?
In our day, it would be like the mater saying, “The least you could have done was put the money into a basic savings account and earned minimal interest, if you were too afraid to put it in high risk investments. Instead, you just hid it under your mattress!”
Our money, possessions, gifts and abilities can be invested in a similar way, with no risk, low risk, moderate risk or high risk.
Here’s an example.
Let’s pretend I was a mechanic. As a mechanic I have been given the knowledge, ability and hopefully the tools to repair engines. I could keep all my skills and abilities to myself which is no risk. This would be the easiest way to live.
However, I could decide to help my friends and family out once in a while, which is fairly low risk. Alternately, God may call me to help my neighbours and community members out, which increases cost and time and in turn, moves me up to moderate risk.
Lastly, God may place a huge call on my life. He may ask me to start a mechanics ministry for seniors and single moms, where I fix their vehicles for free. With no idea where I am going to get the people or resources for this ministry, I have definitely moved up to high risk.
High risk is optional.
I’m definitely not saying that we all have to choose high risk all the time. What I am saying is that we need to come to our Master, willing to take the risks that He asks us to take.
We choose to accept the risk that He calls us to. And why should we take these risks? For the reward of course.
In verses 21 and 23 we read the Master’s response to the two good servants who were not afraid and took the risk of investing: “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (25:21 & 23)
It would be nice to be promised that we’re going to receive fame and fortune for investing what God has given us, but that’s just not the case. This is where our faith is strengthened (and where those outside the church think we’re nuts).
You see, we’ve already been given the greatest reward the world will ever know; eternal life in heaven with our Master. Now, we just want to hear those words, “Well done! You took what I gave you and use invested it wisely! Well done!”
We have choices every day.
With every day we live, with every dollar we earn, with every deed we do; we have a choice. How will we invest that day, that dollar or that deed?
Are we looking forward to that reward of hearing, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (25:23)
Join the Conversation, Leave Your Thoughts
Describe how it feels once we’ve answered God’s call to invest time, money or possessions? What does it feel like to join in the Master’s happiness?