Matthew 25:16-18, 24-28 The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money…
Then the man who had received the one talent 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. So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.”
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? 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. Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents…”
The sentences above come from the lines of a story Jesus told about three guys who were given amounts of money to invest by their boss (a talent was a huge sum of silver or gold). The boss commends the two guys who go out and double their money, but condemns the one who took no risks at all with it. The main point of the story is not about investing, even though Jesus uses a financial example here. (It does appear, however, that Jesus is okay with people making money with their money.)
That may come as a shock to some. If He were to tell the story today, Jesus may well make the guys in the story stockbrokers or business entrepreneurs. Conversely, a lot of people at Scum of the Earth are artists, writers, poets, actors, dancers, musicians, designers—you know, the kind who often don’t think much about money and investing it. One could say that’s because they don’t have much; but in this parable, even the guy who got only one talent was expected to trust his master and do something with it.
I think this story’s all about trusting God. It’s about gambling the possibility of failure (investing the talents and losing them) because we know the loving heart of the Master (unlike the one guy who called him a “hard man”). How many of us trust the goodness of God in money matters? How about matters of the heart (friends, spouses, family)? How about church and ministry matters? Is God expecting us to venture the resources he has given us? Is he looking for returns on the money, the love, the relationships, plus everything else he has entrusted to us? Is he looking to profit from all that he has conferred upon humanity? Looks like the answer is, “Yes.”
The Kingdom of God is about expanding God’s goodness in the earth, not retracting it—and thus we must risk losing what He has so freely given. He wants there to be more hope, more faith, and more love. Therefore, let us presume upon his grace, let’s count upon his mercy, hazard a guess, tempt fate, lay holy odds, and take a chance for the Kingdom of God. We shall see what happens! (Even if we lose, we can trust in the integrity of the heart of God.)