I like the parable of the ten servants (Luke 19:11-27). At least I like it as long as I am the one that gets the most minas (money). Do you remember what he did with his? He doubled them. As a reward, the governor gave him ten cities. Not only that, the governor gave him all the money from the lazy guy. That’s who I am, right?
Truth is, we have to look at this story from the other angle. The story is not so fun when I become the lazy guy. He’s ruled by fear and lives in safety. Of course, that’s not me. Is it?
To answer that question, let’s first understand that Jesus is not talking about money here. He is talking about the kingdom of God. As such, God has invested in us. In fact, I quickly become overwhelmed when I think of all his benefits to me. I can start with bountiful earth. He gave it to us and commanded us to be fruitful and multiply. He wants us to fill the earth and subdue it, giving us dominion over the fish and birds and every living thing (Genesis 1:28). How’s that for an investment? But wait, there’s more.
To cover the crazy mess that humans were making, God went all in on his investment. He sent his son. Now, God promises you are guaranteed salvation. Now, he vows, you can have abundant life. Now, he asks gently, do you love me?
You don’t want me to respond, do you, God? I mean, yes, I appreciate all that you’ve done, and I know you to be an angry and vengeful God, so I’ve just been hanging out over here in the corner, trying to mind my own business. You know, over here where I can’t get into any trouble. I sure don’t want to make you mad.
And just like that, I’ve become the lazy guy. Choosing to rest on what I have been given for fear that I might say something offensive. Equally bad, I might do something that doesn’t work.
This isn’t the way God designed it. This is not why he invested in us. The Psalmist in Psalm 116 gets it right with one single question. He asks, “What can I offer to the Lord for all he’s done for me?” (v12). That is a good question for me to answer. Right now.
The Psalmist responds this way:
I will lift up the cup of salvation
and praise the Lord’s name for saving me.
I will keep my promises to the Lord
in the presence of all his people.