Sermons

Summary: Sometimes playing it safe is dangerous

Introduction

Are you a Risk-taker or a safety-seeker?

Responding to the increasing destructiveness of high winds in the Midwest, one developer in Tulsa, Oklahoma, offered an optional tornado-safe room in the new homes he was selling. It cost an additional $2,500 for the room—which can also be used as a closet, bathroom, or vault when not needed for safety.

What would you do if you were building your home there? I know what I would do – I would go for the tornado-safe room in a skinny minute. This New Englander is scared to death of tornadoes!

If you opted for the room, you were like Nine of the first ten buyers.

The tenth couple didn’t get the room. They chose to have a hot tub installed instead. Why do you think they did that? Were they foolish young folks?

Actually, they were 75 years old. I suppose they figured if the Good Lord had gotten them through 75 years without being killed by a tornado, he could get them through as many more as He chose and they’d rather enjoy the Jacuzzi than worry about tornadoes.

[from: Americans Are Facing More Disasters, USA Today (5-23-00)]

How about you? Are you a risk taker, or a safety seeker?

If you are familiar with this parable, you’ll recognize it as “The Parable of the Talents.”

A talent was a measure of weight, and so was often used as a measure for gold, silver or copper. We’re not sure what the actual amount was, but it was a sizable amount of money. The Good News probably does it justice by using 5,000, 2,000 & 1,000 gold coins.

The amount is not terribly significant, what is significant is that:

A very wealthy man goes on a very long journey and leaves 3 servants in charge of his money. What he did was very unusual

Some commentators feel the need to explain that they must have been in a different position than a regular “servant” to be given such an enormous responsibility

The master made these servants his business partners

They had complete control over large amounts of money for what was probably many years.

He determined who got how much on the basis of their abilities. He had a 5-talent guy; a 2-talent guy; and a 1-talent guy

But as I just said, it was an honor and a show of respect that the master gave them such control over any of his money, so don’t think he was slighting the 1-talent guy.

We’re not told of any instructions he gives them

They seem to have been given the right to do whatever they saw fit with the money.

Two of the servants go to work immediately with the money, and manage, over a long period of time, to double it. They’ve done quite well – 100% return on the master’s investment.

Again, we don’t know much about the details. There wasn’t a NY Stock Exchange or a NASDAQ back then

Perhaps they started businesses. We don’t know.

But we can be pretty sure they did two things:

They took risks

They worked hard with what they had

But the third servant decides that he isn’t going to take the risk, because if he loses it, he knows he’ll be in big trouble. So, he finds a safe spot, Digs a hole. and buries it.

He knows he won’t gain anything that way, But he also knows he can’t lose anything that way either.

Do you see the difference in the perspective of the servants?

The first two: Are determined to make a profit

The third:Is determined NOT to take a loss

The first two: are willing to work hard and take risks

The third:doesn’t want to risk or work

wants to hang on to what he’s got

The first two: Received the gift – which was not so much the money, (which remained the master’s), but the trust of and the partnership with the master

The third:Refuses the gift (“Here’s what’s yours”)

The first two: Recognize the partnership the master has offered them

The third:Rejects the partnership

The first two: Desire to advance the master’s domain

The third:Has no interest in or connection to the master’s domain

The first two: View the money/gift as an opportunity

The third:Views the money/gift as a problem

The first two: Allows the master’s gift to change their lives

The third:Refuses to let the master’s gift touch his life

The first two: Were given “real” responsibility

The third:Lost the responsibility his gift had given

The first two: Entered into the joy of the master

The third:Was cast out from the master into a place of darkness & regret

Here’s my question for you: Which of the servants “played it safe”?

The 5-talent guy and the 2-talent guy risked their money. It turned out well for them.

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David Holland

commented on Jan 23, 2009

Mary, this is a wonderful sermon. Thanks, and may God bless your ministry!

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