Last night in our missional community gathering we were reflecting on how we can use our time, talents and treasures to create space for people to belong. The context of this discussion was a story that Jesus tells in Matthew 25 about a master and three servants, each who have been given a rather large sum of money ( 1 talent equals about 15 years of wages) to steward while the master is away.
If you're not familiar with the story it goes something like this...The first servant is given 5 talents to watch over and is able to double it to 10. The second servant is given 2 talents and is able to double it to 4. And the third servant is given 1 talent and decides to bury it out of fear and concern for what may happen.
So when the master returns, two of the servants or lauded with praise and gratitude for being "good and faithful" (can you guess which two) for doing something with what they have been given. The last servant though (sorry I'm giving it away) is scolded, to put it mildly, for burying what that servant had been given and is actually called "wicked."
But wait, nobody lost any money. So, what's the deal with this story? As we reflected on these words of Jesus it's hard for me not to go a place of performance based Christianity as I picture a master returning to test me to see if I've performed well and depending on those measures I may or may not be rewarded. But everything that I see from Jesus' ministry seems to discount that idea. So there must be some other point.
As we discussed this I think Jesus had something much different to say. You see in the Old Testament Israel (the family of God) is constantly being reminded that they have been blessed to be a blessing to the rest of the world. They are suppose to be light to the rest of the world. But as we see their story play end they end up burying what they have been given instead. And it left me thinking...
What if everything I have (literally everything!) is not something or me to hold on to out of fear or worrying that there won't be enough, but instead has been given to to me so that in turn I could be a blessing to others and help them realize that they are part of a much bigger story. A story where they belong and can in turn extend that truth to others.
How would that change the way I view my time, treasures and talents and what kind of responsibility would I have to God and my local and global neighborhoods with respect to whatever I've been given? And what if the master is actually more enraged by the fact that I buried what I've been given rather than trying to do something, even if that means that things don't work out perfectly and/or I actually end up loosing what I've been given all-together?