From Matthew 25:14-30 comes a story about those who choose to use the gifts they have wisely, and those who do not. As you read this story, consider which of these people you are.
The Parable of the Investors
“A man going on an extended trip called his servants together and delegated responsibilities. To one, he gave five thousand dollars; to another two thousand and a third one thousand based on their abilities. Then he left. Right off, the first servant went to work and doubled his master's investment. The second did the same. But the man with the single thousand dug a hole and carefully buried his master's money.
“After a long absence, the master of those three servants came back and settled up with them. The one given five thousand dollars showed him how he had doubled his investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.'”
“The servant with the two thousand showed how he also had doubled his master's investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.'”
“The servant given one thousand 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 thousand 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.'”
Food for Thought
This parable is also called the story of the talents because the currency of the time was the “talent.” Whether we are talking about our skills or our money, there is a tendency to play it safe in an attempt to avoid losing what we already have.
But playing it safe is an illusion.
There is speculation that the master in this story is time because that's how time treats our finances if we aren't wise with how we invest.
When I started working, the minimum wage in my area was $4.25/hr. In the next five years, that will go to $15/hr, more than triple what I used to make. The side effect of wages going up, of course, is driving up the price of goods and services (i.e. inflation).
If I had buried what I earned back then rather than investing it into things that allowed me to increase my income, master time would have robbed me of over 70% of my hard-earned money.
Are you burying your skills and resources out of fear of losing what you already have? Or are you taking a few risks for the opportunity to live in abundance?