Investing Without Fear

Back to the story of the three servants and their investment strategies we were talking about on Friday. There’s one part of the story where I really need to sit up and pay attention–the part where the lazy servant justifies his laziness.

When the master returned home from his trip and asked the servants for an accounting of the property for which they were responsible while he was gone, the first two servants reported that they had doubled the master’s investment. The third servant came forward and showed the master his original coin, now dirty and old. He said he had buried the coin. But to make matters worse, he said he had buried it because he knew the master was a hard man, harvesting and gathering what he had not planted–in other words, taking other people’s stuff. He said he was afraid so he just did nothing with the master’s money.

Now, who knows whether the servant was telling the truth or not about the master. The point is, how often do we fail to make worship and work for God a high priority because we secretly think He is a hard God and likely to take things away from us? How often do we find ourselves thinking, “I can’t give money to the poor. How will I pay for the kids’ college?” “I can’t volunteer my time. I’ll lose my house if I don’t work overtime.” “If I give myself fully to God, He’ll send me to Appalachia, or India or Africa or wherever it is that I least want to go. He’ll take away my nice life, nice car and nice clothes.” The truth is, we often fail to go “all in” for God because we are afraid of what we’ll lose. We are afraid of what He will take.

When I recognize this attitude in myself I need to remember that I do not serve a God who takes. This is just a malicious lie. Maybe I made it up myself to justify my laziness or maybe I heard it from other people who were trying to justify their own failure to invest in the kingdom. Either way, it is a lie. I serve a God who gives and who, in fact, delights to give. I need not fear investing everything for Him.

“I tell you the truth,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and, in the age to come, eternal life.” Luke 18:29-30.