risk taker (part 1)
Post by Pastor Jonathan Fox
I really like the idea of being a risk taker but the application of it, in my life, has been minimal. I think that Jesus was a man who took risks and calls us, to a degree, into risky situations and ways of living. I don't mean being careless or negligent, I mean that there are times where safety or caution are not the most relevant or even right things to do. I would like to take the next few posts and write about this perspective of risk taking that I am discovering through the Parable of the Talents in the book of Matthew. Check out the scripture below:
For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master's money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ - Matthew 25:14-30
Well then, that is a lot to think about, am I right? Instead of trying to get into all this today I want to break it up into sections and see if we might walk away with several things that impact our ability to take risks. So, with that in mind, let's dig into the first thing that I can see as important to us. This statement is massive, "to each according to his ability." This parable is not about a master, his servants and money (although it's a great story). It is about our place with God in his plan to reconcile the world back to himself. God sees our ability and then allows us to steward, manage and take care of, certain abilities and gifts. The first point worth mentioning is that God assesses your ability and gives you what you can handle. God's expectation is to give us something that can be built upon. To borrow the imagery from farmers, God gives seed, but we must plant it. God doesn't want to give seed and come back for his seed, he wants a harvest. So we can be clear, the parable infers that each servant knew the master was entrusting to them a sum of money and that they were to take risks to multiply what they had. All of this was factored into the above statement, "to each according to his ability."
Now this is where I want to preach from the keyboard! God gives the amount, your responsible for your ability. The risk comes in when you have to use your ability with God's amount. I am seeing, for the first time in my life, that I have really thought that I was responsible for the amount as much as the ability. When I start believing that I am responsible for the amount I will take less risk or I will not take any risks at all. Let's look at the last part of the parable to see what I am talking about more fully.
You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. - Matthew 25:26-27
The master in the parable did not reprimand the servant about an amount but what the amount alluded to. The servant did NOTHING with the amount given him even though the amount given was based on his ability. Hopefully you are tracking with me. The reason I am making a big deal about this is because of the master's reply. "You ought to have invested MY MONEY with the bankers..." His point being that the servant should have taken a risk even if the pay off wasn't that great. Can you see God in this? Sometimes God calls us to be a risk taker and go for broke. If the master in the parable could give away 5 talents (upwards of 20 years wages) to one of his servants do you really think he was that worried about the one talent he gave to this servant? The master did not want to come back and get back what he had given, he wanted something more. His remarks seem to indicate a disappointment not in how much he got back but that the servant took no risk in trying to get more out of what he had been given.
We will talk more in the upcoming posts about different aspects of Risk Taking but for now I think this question is great for summing up part one, "Do you see the instances in your life where God has asked you to be a 'Risk Taker'?" Maybe you have thought more about what would happen if you step out to take those risks or have even been so scared that you felt like doing nothing was better than failing. Where ever you are I want to encourage you that you have been given resources and opportunities that match your ability and God is calling you to be a Risk Taker.