July 27, 2012

Stealing From God

Matthew 25:14-30

“I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground.”
—Matthew 25:25


Living as a follower of Jesus can be frustrating. We want to give to the poor, but we worry about putting food on our own table. We desire to forgive people, but those same people keep punching us in the face. We want to use our God-given skills to better the world, but the world keeps asking for more.

The man with the one bag of gold decided to play it safe and bury his gift while his master went on a journey. He wanted to be safe rather than sorry. How can we blame him for that? Life is fragile, and it keeps slipping away from us. If we bury our gifts and talents, we won’t get hurt. Jesus would not get angry about that, right?

Jesus used strong language in assessing the servants in this story. He called them “good and faithful servant” or “wicked, lazy servant.” There is no third option. Either we use our gifts to expand God’s kingdom for his glory, or we hide our gifts, not really wishing to serve our Lord. The servant with one bag of gold was given plenty of time to use his gift. Unfortunately, he saw the master only as mean rather than generous. He chose what he saw as the “safe way” rather than trying to do something, anything, to bring God glory.

How about you? Are you burying your talent and “playing it safe” or using it to honor God’s extravagant generosity to you? It’s your choice.

Dear God, thank you for not giving us wiggle room in this teaching. Help us to please only you with our gifts, time, and talents, to bring glory to you alone. Amen.

About the author — Reginald Smith

Dr. Reginald Smith is senior pastor at Roosevelt Park Community Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he has served for seventeen years. He has also served as a pastor in Paterson, New Jersey. He and his wife, Sharon, have three daughters, Janelle, Katrina, and Mariah.

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