Jesus liked to teach by telling stories. One such lesson was about a wealthy man who gave three of his servants money for investing on his behalf while he was away. The first servant he gave five talents; the second two talents, and the last received one talent. What’s a talent? A talent of silver weighed nearly 94 and a half pounds; if it was of gold, it would be double that. The passage does not specify which sort of talent is involved, but of course that doesn’t really affect the point of the story. The first servant took the five talents and doubled his investment. Likewise, the man with two doubled his. But the third servant simply took the single talent and buried it for safekeeping.
Not surprisingly, when the wealthy man returned, he praised the first two servants and rewarded them, commenting, “You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 5:23) But the last servant, who had merely buried the talent, was condemned without mercy: “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. For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 25:26-30)
How often are we afraid to make use of what God has given us? Do we think negatively about our abilities? Do we find a way to talk ourselves out of grabbing an opportunity? I can’t count the number of Christians who wish they had more chances to share their faith with someone–but when the Jehovah’s Witnesses show up at their door, they pretend they’re not home. How much easier does God have to make it? Like a Dominoes Pizza, God has delivered a pair of people to your very door who want nothing more than to have a conversation about God. Talk about an easy opportunity! But too often, for whatever excuse we dream up, we’d rather bury whatever God offers us than invest it.