In your own life, do you take risks or play it safe? When it comes to living for God, do we take bold steps or do we protect ourselves by staying in a risk-free zone? In today’s passage, Jesus told a parable about a master who gave his servants money to invest. In the story, a man went on a journey and entrusted his financial resources to three servants. When he returned, he heard and evaluated their reports. Two servants had invested their bags of gold and earned more (vv. 19–23). The master praised them both, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” The third, however, explained that out of fear he’d hidden the gold and done nothing (vv. 24–30). He was rebuked and thrown out of the house.
This parable teaches important truths about failure and success from God’s perspective. If failure is anything we try to do without God, then what is a biblical definition of success? The answer in this parable is that both failure and success center on our faithfulness or obedience to God, which also means that failure consists largely in unfaithfulness or disobedience. The servant who failed made excuses and rationalized his inaction, instead of confessing his wickedness, laziness, and foolishness (vv. 26–27).
The principle in this parable is that we have all been entrusted with various resources, which we should actively invest for the benefit and glory of our heavenly Father. Our resources may differ according to God’s sovereign choice and each person’s ability (v. 15), but in any case, faith doesn’t play it safe. If we’re stewards of what we’ve been given, we’ll actively pursue the will of God, and receive the incredible reward of sharing in our master’s “happiness” or “joy” (ESV).
>> “Am I doing this out of fear or faith?” is a good decision-making question. The third servant was paralyzed by fear, while the first two stepped out in faith. If you’re feeling uncertain today, ask God for the wisdom to discern your own motives.
Faithfulness is an important theme in today’s Scripture passage. Let’s pray the Lord would show us how to use faithfully and wisely everything He gives us so that at the end we’ll hear from Him: “Well done, good and faithful servant!”