Again, the Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. He called together his servants and entrusted his money to them while he was gone.
Many times when we hear, “kingdom of God” we think of something beyond this world, high above us. The truth is that the kingdom of God is all around us, and every day we get to choose whether we invest in it or whether we withhold ourselves. Each of us has gifts that carry value, and the people we meet on mission as we move out in ever widening circles are hungry and thirsty to experience those gifts.
He gave five bags of silver to one, two bags of silver to another, and one bag of silver to the last—dividing it in proportion to their abilities. He then left on his trip.
Here we see a glimpse of how God equips us, and where He places us in the world. God has had the deepest understanding of who we are since we were being woven together as a human being. He knows our abilities and what potential we hold. God gives to us in many different ways whether it’s spiritual gifts, material gifts, or physical gifts. He also understands that what He gives us is more than enough to accomplish His will when we partner with Him. Then he places us in the world, and gives us freedom to use those gifts as we see fit. In this we are allowed to explore the beauty God has created around us and in us with the talents we have been gifted. As we follow the story we see what can happen when we choose to fiercely pursue His will, or refuse to act and stand still.
The servant who received the five bags of silver began to invest the money and earned five more. The servant with two bags of silver also went to work and earned two more. But the servant who received the one bag of silver dug a hole in the ground and hid the master’s money.
At any point in our lives we can see ourselves in all three servants’ shoes. Sometimes we are given plenty and we use it to make great things, even if the risk is great. Sometimes we are given less than others, but we are still happy and willing to make due and increase what has been given to us. Other times we find ourselves terrified to lose what little we have, and we rob ourselves and the world of our gifts by sitting still and holding on to them out of fear.
“After a long time their master returned from his trip and called them to give an account of how they had used his money. The servant to whom he had entrusted the five bags of silver came forward with five more and said, ‘Master, you gave me five bags of silver to invest, and I have earned five more.’
“The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’
“The servant who had received the two bags of silver came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two bags of silver to invest, and I have earned two more.’
“The master said, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’
“Then the servant with the one bag of silver came and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.’
“But the master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy servant! If you knew I harvested crops I didn’t plant and gathered crops I didn’t cultivate, why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.’
“Then he ordered, ‘Take the money from this servant, and give it to the one with the ten bags of silver. To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away. Now throw this useless servant into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
Each of us is beyond lucky to be the son or daughter of a God that gives generously. We are given much, and our impact can be great in the world if we choose to act and utilize what we know we have. Even if it’s being able to make people laugh, make people feel comfortable where they are, or being able to really listen to someone when they speak. These are riches that we can invest, and the return on our investment can end up being priceless.
So this week go out with the gifts God has given you, and act boldly knowing that you carry the name of God on your heart, and that His Spirit fills you up. Invest in the people you do life with, and watch as God works and grows in them. Reflect God’s light into the world and see it reflected back, even if it’s just a glimmer from a person you never expected it from. The ultimate return on the investments you make for God is a warm embrace, a smile from the Father of Lights, and to hear “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”