Afraid to FailRachel Olsen
"To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance." Matthew 25:29a (NLT)
In Matthew 25 Jesus tells a story of a master who divided his money (unequally) into the care of three servants while he went on a 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" (Matthew 25:16-18, NLT). When the master returned, he praised and rewarded the two servants who had multiplied his money.
Jesus continues the story:
"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." (vs. 24-30)
I was surprised when I first read this parable that the master called that servant "wicked and lazy." After all, it doesn't say he was an axe murderer or a freeloader, right? It seems he just played it extra safe with his portion of money. Does that really make him "wicked and lazy?"
Maybe I could understand the "lazy" label because he just buried it and left it there. That doesn't take much effort compared to opening a savings account or investing in stocks, mutual funds or real estate. Plus, if you invest it, you need to manage it to minimize your losses should there be a stock market crash, or mortgage loan crisis. Yes, it is easier to stash money under a mattress than try to navigate the financial world of investments.
However, what really threw me was the label "wicked" applied to him. I don't know much about investing, and I've made some financial mistakes before, but does that make me wicked in God's eyes? Since I trust whatever Jesus says is true, I asked Him to show me why this man was deemed wicked.
I realized the overall topic of this parable is personal responsibility for use of our assets. By "assets," I refer to the things God has entrusted to us like our money, time, talents, mind, body, family, etc. The clear message is that God wants us to manage these things with excellence, and if we do, we will be rewarded. If we fail to, we may be penalized.
The master, who represents God in this parable, was chastising this servant because his "asset management style" required little effort, and even less faith. What made him "wicked" was believing the whispers of the Wicked One telling him that his master was too fickle to please and would surely punish him if he tries and fails.
What displeased the master was the servant's failure to bother to try when given the assignment.
Taking responsibility for, and seeking to be productive with our assets feels risky -- much like navigating the world of finance can -- but that should not cause us to bury our heads in the sand. I now see that this servant let Satan back him into a corner, with fear of failure and skewed notions of God, and immobilized what could've been used to glorify God and increase His Kingdom.
So today, I purpose to use my all in service of God when He gives me an assignment, no matter how risky it feels. Otherwise, I am denying the amazing grace of God available to me, and rendering useless the gifts my Master has given me. So let's learn from this servant by refusing to remain immobilized when we're afraid to fail.
Dear Lord, help me manage my time, talent, money, body and relationships in ways that please You, and grow Your Kingdom. Deliver me from fearing of failure. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Monday, May 21, 2007
There are times throughout the day that I realize how selfish of a person I truly am. I say this because I have people in my life that do out of the ordinary things to help others and it just comes naturally for them. Unknowingly, they just constantly remind me how unbelievably lucky I am to have had the privilege of having them in my life. I have always said it doesn't come naturally for me to think of others. (Or so it seems). It always seems that I am self consumed with my own problems--my own needs. That is so not the person I want to be.
I want all the people in my life to know that everyday I become a better person because of their influence. That even though it seems I am stubborn and do not hear a word they say--that I hear EVERY word that they say. The good and the bad.
It is so ironic--I can't remember a single thing about my childhood (good memories or bad memories) because of all the painful things that were done to me during those years, but I can tell you specifically what row I was sitting in when I sang at my best friend's mother's funeral--everyone always tells me that I have the worst memory--LOL--There is no denying--it is true--but I spent the 1st 15 years of my life making sure that I didn't remember a single thing just so I could make it through the day. It tears my heart to know now--the one "tool" that I used to help me make it through something so awful--has now become something automatic that I can't turn off.
Now that I have good memories, memories that I have made with people that I love, I have complete masses of time that are literally just blank canvases. That is why now, I take as many pictures that I can, things that I hear people say that just touch my soul and that I want to remember--I write them down--. It isn't that I am getting old and forgetting things--LOL-- it is because this "coping mechanism" (yeah--I know a Dr Phil term) is just ingrained in me--
Sunday, May 20, 2007
I am completely worn out tonight so this one is going to be quick--I so need to learn patience. Patience in love--patience in life.I will get the hang of it--All I know is there is a reason why good things come to those who wait--I think it is because it causes them to appreciate it even more whenever the right time does come around...makes it sweeter. Hurts like hell at times--but wouldn't be worth it unless it took a while to get there while learning a couple of lessons along the way--
Friday, May 18, 2007
I think I am addicted to sunshine--rainy days just suppress all the good things (well not literally--figuratively speaking). Today was a day that began with an encounter with a person that ended up being an hour long heart to heart talk. It was one those encounters where you hang on every word they are saying because from somewhere deep inside you know that every word they are speaking is coming from their heart and meant for you. It completely came out of the blue. I went in as a "prelim" interview for a new career opportunity and it became a life-changing moment in time.
The next step in the journey is what I choose to do with the words that were spoken to me. Changes in my life need to be made. I need to make them. Funny thing is, they aren't changes that need to be made in my work life, but in my personal life. If you read my post from yesterday, I have already started making those changes and they are bringing me endless joy everyday-but I still have some roadblocks--well i like to refer to them as speed bumps--left to remove.
I always go back to the analogy someone explained to me once--comparing things that hinder us in our lives to weeds in a garden. If you do not periodically pull the weeds out of the garden, they will eventually "take over" and smother the flowers--and after a while, their beauty will no longer be visible. I already have the sunshine (Eh) now I just need to remove the "weeds" to reveal the beauty of the garden.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
I can honestly say I am beginning another chapter in my life that right at this moment is very uncertain, but nontheless, very sweet.
Not many people get the opportunity to have someone come back into their life after several years and be able to just pick back up--like they never were apart. I call it a "lucky" do-over. You always here people say "If only I could go back and do things differently" or "have the chance to tell someone from long ago something that I never was able to tell them back then". Let me tell you--if you ever are given that opportunity for a "lucky" do-over do not let it pass you by.
Even though people change or begin a new chapter in their life, it never erases the chapter that they shared with you. Things are more then likely not the same for either person as they were years before, but who knows what the "unwritten" chapters of our lives hold. A new chapter...a new storyline...a new ending...possibilities are endless...