October 23, 2012

The Foolish Path of Safety

Matthew 25:14-30

“I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.”
—Matthew 25:25


If you live in a capitalistic society, it’s not surprising to hear of people investing with some amount of risk. But in ancient Palestine safe and secure investments were the norm. In a culture based on honor and shame, the loss of fortune meant the loss of dignity. To hide a treasure in the ground was the approved way to preserve your wealth. But Jesus challenged that way of thinking in the light of building up God’s kingdom.

In Western countries lately, a noticeable change has occurred in people’s spending habits. In response to economic slumps, people are more hesitant to spend and to give. Worried people are saying, “I’m going to protect my financial resources, no matter what it takes.” But that sounds like the person in the parable who hides his money in the ground to protect himself from loss and shame.

In hard times, self-preservation becomes the highest value for many of us. But Jesus reminds us of the security of the kingdom of God. Give, and it will be given to you. Invest your resources in kingdom causes, and they will multiply. Miserly, tightfisted people do not inherit the kingdom of God. Instead we must become generous toward God, who gives lavishly to us. That’s God’s Word to us when we have lost a spirit of openhanded benevolence.

Generous God, remove self-preservation from my mind-set. May the realities of investing in your kingdom be more important to me than the worries of this life. Amen.

About the author — Dean Deppe

Dean Deppe has been a pastor in inner-city, suburban, and rural ­churches. Currently he teaches New Testament theology at Calvin Theological Seminary. His courses include one on the parables of Jesus. He and his wife have four grown children.

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