Sunday, September 17, 2017

Try and Fear

Try and Fear
September 18, 2017
Matthew 25:25  "So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground...."

In the parable of the talents, when the Master gave the servants a portion of money to invest, the Bible says he gave to each one according to his own ability. The man who was given five talents to invest clearly had the ability to manage those five talents. The man who as given two had the ability to manage two. Obviously the man who was given only one talent had the ability to at least manage that one talent. So each went to work, according to his ability. I imagine, though, the one who was given five, when he put it to work, still had to work at it. Just because he had the ability to manage five talents, does not mean it was easy. In today's dollars some would estimate that five talents at just over $7 million. Managing $7 million is not an easy task, especially considering the man doubled it and turned it into $14 million. The stress of that much money, making sure it does not experience any loss, must have been great. The man had a healthy fear of the Master and had to work hard; he at least had to try. The story is the same for the man who was capable of managing two talents. He a healthy fear of the Master; he had to work hard and at least try to the best of his abilities.

The man who was given one talent, though, should not be looked upon as a basket case. He was given, by some estimates in today's dollars, $1.4 million to invest on behalf of the master. The man was still a business man, and knew how to invest wisely. He was capable of managing $1.4 million and turning it into almost $3 million dollars. I've never been given $1.4 million, but I doubt it is easy to double that into $3 million, at least not overnight. It still takes a degree of diligent work and even risk. But that man, he was so ruled by fear that he buried it. He did not even try. According to the Master, the man had the capability of succeeding. The Master was at least expecting effort, something, anything. The man was so afraid of the consequences of failure, that he didn't even try. The Master knew if the man tried, that failure wasn't likely; the man had skills to manage a large chunk of money still. The other men, with the five and two talents, surely had a healthy fear of failure, too, but they at least tried to the best of their abilities.

The point of the story is not about doubling money or making millions. The point is that we are supposed to do something, anything, with what we've been given. We are supposed to try, despite a fear of failure. Fear has the ability to paralyze people; that's what it did to the man who buried $1.4 million. Interesting to note in the story that the Master's response to the man who buried it was that the measure of success was not to see if he doubled it, just that he put it to work, just that he tried to the fullest extent of his ability. The man was afraid of the wrong thing. He should not have feared failure, he should have feared failing to try. If you don't even try, failure is already certain. The man feared an unknown end, so he submitted to it and failed instantly. The Master already knew the man given one talent could not have returned five. The Master had realistic expectations of the man's abilities.

You've been given much to work with in life, however little you think it is measured. But the Lord has given you something to manage, something to do on behalf of Him, and He is asking that you try. The Lord's expectations of you is realistic with regard to how He has equipped you. He does not compare you to anyone except you. You are different than me and everyone else in the world. The Lord does not require that you measure your success by the accomplishments of others, but only that you try to the best of your ability. If you are afraid to start, however, then you've already failed. Don't be afraid of failure, be afraid of not trying. If the Lord has faith in your abilities then it is OK to step out. Success is not measured in the outcome, but trying to the best of your abilities. Interesting to note the Master's response to the man who buried his effort. He called the man lazy. 

Don't take my word for it; look it up: Psalm 111:10, Proverbs 9:10, Jeremiah 18, Matthew 25:14-30, Luke 19:12-28, Romans 19:21 

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