Why am I doing this . . . .
Why am I doing this? I heard Chuck Missler discuss The Parable of the Ten Talents, and it hit home with me. Here is the parable:
What do you see?
We have before us a parable. A parable is a short fictitious story that illustrates a moral attitude or a religious principle. In this case we have a man going on a long journey. The man entrusts some money to his servants. The first servant was a trader. He traded his five talents, and doubled it. We donít know how the second servant used or invested the two talents, but he managed to double his as well. The last servant is the interesting one. He is the one that makes some of us nervous. This servant took the talent and hid it. This servant didnít risk the money. Some might say he took the more prudent route.
When the master returned, and the servants gave account for the talents entrusted to them. The first servant told the master that he had turned the five talents into ten talents. Likewise, the second servant had the same rate of return on the two talents, and turned it into four talents. The master was happy with both of them. Lastly, the third servant approached the master. He explained that he knew the master was a tough guy, and he was afraid, so he hid the money. It sounds like a reasonable story. The servant was afraid of losing his masterís money, so he hid it. He took the most cautious route available. We have to assume the other guys took some risk with their investments. There is no such thing as a "risk free" investment, and since the other two had 100% returns on their talents, it is reasonable to assume their risks to have been sizable. What was the masterís reaction to the last servantís choice? The master told him he made a poor choice, told him what the better choice would have been, and then the master had the servant "cast into outer darkness where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth". The term "outer darkness" appears three times in the Bible, and "gnashing of teeth" appears seven times. These two expressions are only found in the New Testament, and it never sounds like a happy time for the person experiencing it. Based on that, Iíd say this last servant didnít fare very well. If this were a grade school project, I would think the last servant might get a barely passing grade. Something like a "D-". He may have been misguided, but at least he put in some effort. Unfortunately for him, he was treated much more harshly. Have you ever wondered why was his punishment so severe?
Let look at that. The servant was trusted with this thing called a talent. Most people assume that a talent was a certain denomination of money, and they are correct. At the time, a talent was a coin with a value of approximately a yearís salary. The servant was given a heavy responsibility. We all have similar responsibilities. Responsibilities that call for us to be aware, perceptive, and take action. It is a rare time when doing absolutely nothing is the prudent thing. During times of inflation, cash is the last thing you want. In 2002, I read a report in the Wall Street Journal that stated home prices in San Diego increased an average of 29% over the previous 12 months. If you were entrusted with a $100,000 down payment to buy a house in the San Diego area, and did nothing during that time period, your $100,000 would have decreased in value to the equivalent of $71,000. During times of deflation, just the opposite can occur. You could buy a house for $400,000, and have it go down to $280,000. With the money comes responsibility.
Is this story really talking about money? I donít think so. In the English, the word talent, as it is used in this story, is a pun. It is money, but the story can also be referring to a personís "talents". The God given gifts, skills, and abilities that He has given. Instead of talents, think of these things as opportunities. How does that apply to you and I? All of us are given opportunities in life. We may be held accountable for the opportunities that we did nothing with. The third servant refused to put to use that which his lord had entrusted him with. His crime was doing nothing with something of great value that was placed at his disposal. Hiding it for safekeeping is not using it. What assets do you have, which the Lord has given you to put to use?
Opportunities, professional skills, your position in the community, these all can be viewed the same. They are resources the Lord has put at your disposal. Just giving money to some organization is the easy part. How about taking a chance on that money? The first two servants in the story took chances. They stuck their necks out. Apparently they did so in a prudent manner, but they still took a risk. The third servant didnít take a risk. He had no vision, or if he did, he refused to take any responsibility. Am I being overly hard on the third servant? I donít think so. His master referred to him as a "wicked and slothful servant". What does the word slothful mean? My dictionary defines it as a disinclination to action or labor; sluggishness; habitual indolence; laziness; idleness; slowness; delay. Aside from not doing the things a person shouldnít do, there are things a person should do. Think about how often we fail to act.
That is why I'm doing this. I'm not a church or a religious organization. I just a guy. Things that I read or hear, which are of Biblical significance, I try to put down and post here. It's a use of the "talent" that I have. Hopefully I am putting it to good use.