Summary: A sermon about sharing God's love with others.
“Stop Digging Holes”
A wealthy man who goes away on a long journey.
Before he leaves, he entrusts his property to his servants.
The first servant takes the money to the market, to a wealth management firm, we might say and invests in high-risk ventures.
The second servant does the same thing, puts the money to work at high risk.
And both these guys do very well.
When their master returns, he is very happy.
“Well done,” he says.
Then he promises them that they will receive more responsibility in the future.
The third servant takes a very different approach with the money entrusted to him.
He digs a hole in the ground and puts all the money in the hole for safe-keeping.
He is a careful and cautious investor.
He is not about to take chances with the money.
It is all there, every penny of it, when the master returns.
He is proud of himself.
“Here it is. All of it, safe and sound.”
And for his efforts he is treated as harshly as anyone in the whole Bible.
What is going on here?
First thing I’d like to say is that although Jesus uses these bags of money to tell the story—this parable, I don’t think is about money—except for the fact that we are to give our whole selves—our whole lives to God and that does include money.
Otherwise, the bags of gold are a metaphor for something else.
Just as the seed in the parable of the sower isn’t about seed and the parable of the vine and the branches isn’t about horticulture this parable isn’t about bags of gold.
I can’t help but wonder how this parable would have turned out if the first two servants had put the money entrusted to them into high risk ventures, only to lose all of it.
Jesus doesn’t tell the parable this way, but I can’t help but imagine that the master would not have been harsh toward them, and he might even have applauded them for their efforts.
The point here is not about doubling your money and getting rich.
It’s about investing.
It’s about taking risks.
It’s about Jesus Himself and what is going to happen to Him.
Mostly it’s about what Jesus calls us to do while He is gone.
It’s about being a follower of Jesus and what it means to be faithful to Him, and so, finally, it is about you and me.
And the greatest risk of all, it turns out, is not to risk anything, not to care deeply and profoundly, not to invest in the lives of others, not to give our heart and thus our entire lives to Christ.
John of the Cross wrote that “In the evening of life we will be judged on love alone.”
In Jesus’ parable the third servant says to the master, “I knew that you are a hard man…
…so, I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground.”
How did he know he was a hard man?
He didn’t know he was a hard man; he just knew he was a powerful man who was able to do many amazing things.
He took it for granted that he was a hard man, but he was wrong.
And so, the master in the story is like: “You knew I was a hard man, huh?”
Obviously, the master in this parable represents God.
And it’s a shame when we think of God as a hard man.
In reality God is merciful, forgiving and loves us beyond all imagining, and He calls us to be the same.
Still, so many of us think of God differently.
One person shares: “My grandma gave me a Bible when I was 10 or 11, and I sat in my room and I read it, because I’m a nerd, from cover to cover.
I wasn’t going to church regularly, I just read the Scriptures.
From reading it, I formed the idea that God was loving and loved me unconditionally, and that He was inviting me into relationship with Him, into the family of God, so to speak.
It wasn’t until much later, that I started hearing how mad God was, and hearing how much God hated sinners.
That was some of the language I heard, and it was perplexing to me.
If the Gospel for people is simply a ‘get out of hell’ card versus an invitation to the beauty of God’s kingdom, no wonder they have a short-sided view of their responsibility in the Kingdom.”
Could it be that our image of God dictates how much we love and how we decide to live our lives?
What is your image of God?
Is God a horrid task-master just waiting for you to make a mistake.