Taking Risks

For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.

And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.

Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.

And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.

But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.

After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.

And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.

His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.

His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:

And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.

His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:

Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.

Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.

For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.

And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

~ Mt 25:14-30

Well, the Steelers won the Super Bowl! For a while, though, I thought that the Cardinals were going to just hand them a win via penalties! But, you know, it’s just like one of the announcers said that if you don’t risk the penalty, then you don’t stop the play and might allow the opposing team to get into a better position or even score. They were willing to risk it. And, what about the Steelers? What if they gave up and weren’t willing to risk it for another touchdown after that safety? They wouldn’t have won!

In these days of financial crisis, have you become risk adverse? It makes a lot of sense right now to move to safer investments. Even if the banks are somewhat shaky, at least they are backed by the FDIC. You will at least gain “usury” or “interest” on your money. It pays to shop around for better interest rates, though.

There has been speculation about how many might go back to “mattress stuffing”. There have always been people who horde money and hide it in mattresses, walls, safes, etc. Now, there may be a good reason to keep some cash on hand. In fact, it is probably a good idea to keep a small stash of money for emergencies (better than credit cards, anyhow). However, keeping the majority of your money this way will not earn you interest and will not keep inflation from eroding the value of your money. Your money might be “safe” (and even that’s debatable), but it earns nothing. Money is just a tool. It can purchase you things you need or desire, or it can be used to earn more money. Mattress stuffing provides you with neither.

Of course, you probably realize I’m speaking in a metaphorical sense, even as Jesus often used money to bring home spiritual lessons. The one oft overlooked principle in this parable, it seems, is that the man with 1 talent “was afraid”. He was not willing to take even the calculated risk of putting his money in a savings account! As a result, what he was put in charge of did not grow! Jesus demands growth (Mt 3:10; 7:16-20; Lk 13:9; Jn 15:1-6)!

Both teams had their ups and downs during the Super Bowl. Both teams had their share of penalties. However, both teams were willing to endure, put forward effort and deal with risk. That’s because it was “The Game”. How much more important is the Christian walk? What are we willing to risk for the Kingdom?

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