“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. He called together his servants and entrusted his money to them while he was gone. He gave five bags of silver to one, two bags of silver to another, and one bag of silver to the last - dividing it in proportion to their abilities. He then left on his trip.
“The servant who received the five bags of silver began to invest the money and earned five more. The servant with two bags of silver also went to work and earned two more. But the servant who received the one bag of silver dug a hole in the ground and hid the master’s money.
“After a long time their master returned from his trip and called them to give an account of how they had used his money. The servant to whom he had entrusted the five bags of silver came forward with five more and said, ‘Master, you gave me five bags of silver to invest, and I have earned five more.’
“The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’
“The servant who had received the two bags of silver came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two bags of silver to invest, and I have earned two more.’
“The master said, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’
“Then the servant with the one bag of silver came and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.’
“But the master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy servant! If you knew I harvested crops I didn’t plant and gathered crops I didn’t cultivate, why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.’
“Then he ordered, ‘Take the money from this servant, and give it to the one with the ten bags of silver. To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away. Now throw this useless servant into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ Matthew 25:14-30
When she was younger, my daughter Madison loved to help my wife "clean." She'd get a damp rag out and mimic Jenn by wiping down anything she could get her hands on; unfortunately, one day she dusted my laptop, making it go haywire. It was already on its last leg, but thanks to her thorough cleaning, it was a goner. From that point forward every time I booted it up, the computer would only enter Safe Mode.
The typical goal of Safe Mode is to help fix problems with the computer's operating system. Once the bugs get worked out, it returns to normal. But this wasn't your run of the mill issue. Safe mode became the only mode it recognized.
If I'm being honest, I'm guilty of spending the majority of my life operating much like my laptop in safe mode. I rarely venture out of my comfort zone. I avoid opportunities that will stretch me. I settle for the familiar instead of taking a step of faith. Rather than risk, I play it safe.
When I read today's passage, I realize I'm not alone in this tendency. A master divvies up and entrusts bags of silver to three different workers. What they did with the money was up to them, but they all knew their master would return and require an account on how they stewarded their resources. Two seized the opportunity and made a move while one played it safe. By hiding the money, he was burying his shot.
The others utilized their resources to their advantage and received a return on their investment. They also were greeted with praise from their grateful master. On the other hand, rebuke and punishment met Mr. Safe Mode when he handed over the same bag of money just now covered in dirt.
We foolishly believe that playing it safe will keep us from danger. But, as it relates to our soul, it's just the opposite. By choosing security, comfort, and convenience, we indirectly put our heart on the line. The longer we operate in safe mode, the more it becomes hardened and calloused. Our view of God's greatness wanes and shrinks. We settle for a mundane faith of going through the motions.
But, by putting ourselves out, our heart expands, and our soul grows. We catch glimpse after glimpse of God showing up and using us in ways, both big and small. We begin to understand that our generous God has equipped us with talents, provided us with resources, and wired us uniquely. And, it brings Him joy when we're willing to quit playing it safe and start putting it on the line for His glory.
· Where are you "playing it safe" with your life?
· How can you use the gifts God has given you to serve and love others?
God, rather than compare my gifts and talents to others, may I realize that You have wired me in unique ways. I will take what I have and use it for Your glory. I desire to be a good steward of my time, abilities, and relationships. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.