Summary: God does not want his servants to be paralyzed by fear of making mistakes, but to use everything they have been given for His Kingdom.
Let me throw a question at you and get some responses from you as I get started. What are you afraid of?
I’m amazed at some of the things people are really afraid of.
There’s things that are more common like…
• Claustrophobia: fear of enclosed spaces.
• Coulrophobia: fear of clowns.
• Ophidiophobia: fear of snakes.
• Dentophobia: fear of dentists.
But there are also hundreds of lesser known phobias that actually affect some people:
• Peladophobia: fear of baldness and bald people.
• Chaetophobia: fear of hairy people.
• Globophobia: fear of balloons.
• Aerophobia: fear of drafts.
• Porphyrophobia: fear of the color purple.
• Levophobia: fear of objects on the left side of the body.
• Dextrophobia: fear of objects on the right side of the body.
• Phobophobia: fear of being afraid.
Today’s message is actually going to center on the subject of
• Atychiphobia: fear of failure.
Fear of failure is something that probably afflicts all of us at one time or another. We may have a dream to do something great – but we never act on that dream because we’re afraid of failing. We may have a great idea, but it never gets developed because we’re afraid to tell anyone about it.
Jesus told a story about the Kingdom of God in which he deals with this fear of failure and really gives us all a stark reminder of how God wants his servants to live (and NOT to live).
It’s found in the 25th chapter of Matthew, starting with verse 14. I’m going to paraphrase the story for you.
Let me tell you about the Kingdom of God. It’s like a business owner who was going to leave on an extended trip. So he called his employees together and gave them certain responsibilities to cover while he was away. Included in these responsibilities was the turning over of some capital for them to grow his business. He gave different amounts to different employees.
To one employee he gave $10,000, to another he gave $5000, and to another he gave $1000. Then he left on his trip.
Right away, the first employee took a chance and invested his $10,000 in the stock of an up and coming company. The second employee also immediately found a way to put her $5000 to work through a turnkey business she could purchase. The third employee took his $1000 and hid it under his mattress.
After a long time, the business owner came back, and was excited to learn what had happened with his business while he was away. The first employee came to him telling him about the startup business he had invested in , and how it had grown like crazy. He then presented the business owner with a report showing how the $10,000 had now become $20,000. The owner said, “Wow! Great job – I think I’ll make you a partner in this business!”
The second employee came up and told him about the turnkey business he had purchased with his $5000 and how it had created a great way to make more money for her boss. She showed how that original $5000 investment had no turned into $5000 of additional profit. Again the owner said, “Wow! Great job – I think I’ll make you a partner in this business!”
The business owner was eager to hear about the third employee’s work, but he noticed right away something was wrong. The man would hardly lift his eyes and started mumbling, “Well sir, you know how you’re so wise with your money. And I know you’re a hard businessman to please….and that you can be unpredictable at times….so I was afraid I might disappoint you and actually I kept your $1000 safe and sound under my mattress. Here it is – nice and flat, too.”
At this the business owner became furious. “What – you didn’t do ANYTHING with what I gave you? That’s a terrible way to live! If you really thought I was so hard to please, the least you could have done was put my money in the bank and get a little interest – but as it was you’ve lost the opportunity to work for me any more.” Then, to his assistant, “Take this guy’s $1000 and give it to the one who risked the most. Now, get rid of this “play it safe” employee who won’t go out on a limb. There’s no room for him here.”
What’s Jesus point? How does this unpredictable, tragic story teach us about the ways of the Kingdom?
Well, let’s take a look at the differences between the first two servants and the third one. What set them apart? (get some responses)
• First two willing to take risks. Third one paralyzed by fear of failure.