At the beginning of this year I signed up for the daily Instagram challenge (it’s not something you actually have to sign up for you just agree to do it.) the deal is; you take one picture everyday for the whole year that encompasses what happened that day. Then, after 365 days you can scroll through and see how you spent your year. I thought a picture journal that’s the definition of carpe diem was an awesome idea, at least for the first 80 days, now I’m sort of annoyed with having to post a picture every single day. I don’t even want to take pictures half the time, let alone post them for everyone to see. Nevertheless, I have not missed a day (not even when my Insta app wasn’t working) so I’ll keep at it, plus come January 1st 2016 it’ll be a cool review. Today’s post was #212 (the feature photo for this post) while I enjoy a good Tattoosday post, this one’s not about my tattoos and I, it’s about the scripture that inspired the ink on my arm.
Freedom Haus is a ministry in New Lenox, Illinois they run a college ministry program called Rooted and a teen recovery program called The Landing. You can look up Freedom Haus on facebook and read more about the teen ministry in Things I Learned From Drug Addicts. I’m involved with both ministries and I love them. Wednesday is the night I get to spent volunteers to help out the teenagers. Each week we have worship, a message, and small group discussion. This past week was about risk and the bible verses Matthew 25:14-30. I’ve been carrying around the half sheet of paper the verses were printed on for us to read in my pocket, folded in a square, I can’t help but continue to read it over and over. Here’s the story (parable) in full:
The Parable of the Bags of Gold (NIV version)
14 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. 15 To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag,[a] each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. 17 So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. 18 But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
19 “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’
21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
22 “The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’
23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
24 “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’
26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.
28 “‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. 29 For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
I couldn’t help but mentally highlight the parts that stick out to me. There’s so much to these verses but currently this is how I read it:
1) “entrusted His wealth to them.” God entrusts His wealth to us.
2) “each according to his own ability.” All of us are in different places in life, both literally and metaphorically. We all have a different skill set and different personalities. God gives us what is best for us.
3) “five bags…went at once” this servant immediately went to work. He took what he had been given and he put it to use, and it paid off. As it did with man who was given two bags, he got double for his investament.
4) “hid his master’s money.” “The servant with only one bag dug a hole and buried the Master’s gold in the ground.
5) “After a long time” it was awhile before the Master returned, maybe even longer than the three servants expected, but he did return.
6) “settled accounts with them.” It’s not if the Master is going to come back, it’s when, and when that time occurs it will be to settle things once and for all.
7) Verse 21 is what my tattoo is based on. The servants that invested what had been given to them were rewarded with praise from the Master, whether or not the got the gold that was never theirs to begin with I don’t know.
8) The servant who did nothing but hide away the gold he was given did so knowing the Master did not operate in a fearful withholding manner.
9) “For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance.” There is great reward for those who are faithful.
10) “worthless servant” “into the darkness” “weeping and gnashing of teeth” things will not go well for those who do not serve. Honestly, things will literally go to Hell.
To summarize these 10 points; we have all been entrusted with, we all have different abilities, we each have our own set of cards that we’re dealt. Sometimes, taking risks pays off. Fear is what keeps us from trying. The reward may not come for a while but it will come. In the end we all have God to answer to. Servants who dare to risk wisely will in fact reap grand rewards. God risks His blessings on us, but He is not afraid, and if God has no fear why should we? If we know God, we know that when it comes to risk it will be worth it.
What are the gifts and talents you have? Don’t kid yourself we all have plenty. What do you enjoy? What are you good at? What bothers you the most? Are you distracted by the silver and bronze of others? Focus on your own bags of gold. Each according to their own ability, remember? Is there more you could be doing with what you’ve been given? There’s always more, don’t feel bad instead push yourself to reap greater rewards. What are the risks? Are they worth it? It could be the worst thing ever or it could be the best thing. Pray, know God’s character, use wisdom and roll the dice. Faith is an assurance but it does require a willing leap.