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February 2018 – Are you Playing it Safe?

Are you Playing it Safe?

Last November, I read Matthew 25, the Parable of the Talents. For years, I thought the thrust of this passage was all about investing money. Now I realize the real meaning of this parable is much more than what it appears.

In this passage, a “talent” represents what a general laborer would make in almost 20 years and it was used as a unit of measurement by weight, nearly 75 pounds. A talent corresponded to a large sum of money.

The master extends to his servants different amounts of his property and heads off for an extended trip. Upon his return, he calls his servants before him to see what they have accomplished.

To the man who received 5 talents (nearly 100 years of wages corresponding to about 375 lbs.

of money), he went to work immediately and garnered five more. The master congratulates him with high praise for investing these resources wisely.

To the individual who received two talents (nearly 40 years of wages and approximately 150 lbs. of money): This fellow also went to work with what was given and through good investing was able to receive double what was initially allocated. He was equally congratulated by the master for his wise investment strategy.

The third individual, given one talent (nearly 20 years of wages and approximately 75 lbs.of money), became paralyzed in fear as recorded in The Message translation

of Matthew 25:24-30.

“The servant given one talent said, ‘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 down to the last cent.’ “The master was furious. ‘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? The least you could have done would have been to invest the sum with the bankers, where at least I would have gotten a little interest.’ “Take the talent and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this ‘play-it-safe’ who won’t go out on a limb.

Throw him out into utter darkness.”

This passage has nothing to do with money. It has everything to do with our God-given gifts and how we use them to give glory to the Lord.

God’s gifts are given according to our abilities and are unique only to us.

The gifts cost us nothing.

God is generous with everyone He loves.

Jesus, in this parable, impressed upon His disciples to use their God-given gifts to serve others. Jesus wanted them to take risks to the extent of their ability for the Kingdom of God.

God never equips us with abilities that belong to someone else. We might be jealous of those who have certain gifts that we think we should have. Adopting this thinking is dangerous. My tasks and gifts in life are not yours. Yours are not mine.

The guy who was given the greatest amount of resources, had the greatest responsibility to protect and grow what was given.

No less important is the one with two talents or even the one with one talent.

Are we all using our gifts wisely? Are we risking them or do we tend to play it safe? Although risk management is important in many instances, playing with our abilities too tightly risks disappointing God.

… For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required… — Luke 12:48. By the way, what are you doing with the gift of today?