It seems like everywhere these days, I see or hear about some financial advisor who wants to give advice on medicare, retirement, or buying gold with an IRA. . .
Some are well known companies with lots of branches and employees. Others are individuals who say they have some expertise who want us to trust them with our assets.
Now I’m not certain that this explosion of financial advisors means that everyone has a lot of disposable income - or that the current generation is awash in money in ways previous generations weren’t.
But it most likely means the days of stashing money in shoe boxes in closets and in envelopes under mattresses or –
in very basic bank accounts that earn little or no interests – are all things of the past.
Rather it seems that people really don’t want their money just sitting there – they want their money to earn even more money – they want their money to grow and want a greater return on their hard work and investments.
So maybe I’m just imagining this is a bigger deal now than it once was – case in point – the parable we just heard Jesus tell.
It’s a long one – but one that can be summed up pretty simply:
2 servants who were entrusted with their master’s money used it to make even more money - pleasing their master.
The other servant, out of fear - did nothing with the money and simply returned the same amount to the master – and this left the master NOT happy at all.
He wanted a return on his investment – and from the one servant he got no such thing. . .
Most everyone wants good returns on their investments. Bosses want employees to be worth more to the company than the salary they are being paid.
Sports teams want their draftees to not simply tread water in the minors - but to excel - eventually making a great contribution to the team.
No one wants to sell a house for less than what they bought it - and people who invest hours at the gym want their bodies to show it.
Yes, most of us, probably all of us – want good returns on our investments.
But have we given God a good return on God’s investment in us??
That may sound crass, using that sort of expression to talk about God. It sounds beneath God.
But what if we simply replaced the word investment –with blessing?? Isn’t that what a blessing is –a kind of investment in you and me??
Doesn’t God shower good things upon us NOT simply so we can exclusively enjoy the fruits of those blessings – clinging to them as if they were our own personal possessions – but so we can turn around and BE A BLESSING to others? To turn what our loving God has given us into something even greater – something more than it was before??
It’s NOT always easy to believe that God has and is investing in us – to believe that God continually provides for us in ways we really don’t deserve - in abundant ways, in extravagant ways – trusting and hoping that we will respond in faith and become those very same things for those we come into contact with.
We may wonder: does God really love us this much? Believe in us this much? Trust us this much?? AND THE ANSWER IS YES!
Our God forgives us, and then expects us to become even more forgiving - multiplying God’s mercy to those in need.
God understands our faults and expects us to be more tolerant of the faults of others.
God dries our tears and understands our pain, and expects us to be a shoulder to cry on for those who are filled with sorrow and brokenness.
God picks us up when we have fallen, and expects us to do the same for others.
Put simply – God loves us unconditionally, and expects us to multiply that love and spread it throughout the earth in abundant and extravagant ways – for God’s grace can never run out.
And so it needs to be asked again: has God gotten a good return on God’s investment in us??
I would hate to think that I might be sort of just treading water when it comes to God’s blessings – sort of staying in the same place - barely afloat - somewhat aware of what God is doing in my life – but not doing anything about increasing those blessings to be able to touch other people’s lives with them. . . . But I am from time to time. . .
And I don’t think if is out of fear, like the third servant in the story that I don’t act on those gifts.
Rather, it’s most likely a kind of spiritual laziness or indifference - an “I’ll get to it tomorrow” kind of attitude. But then one day becomes two, then becomes a week, and all of a sudden God’s investment in me is buried safely in the ground. . .
Is God then angry with me? Disappointed in me? Sad for me?
Perhaps all three.
And so maybe today is a good day for all of us to reflect on our many blessings. Especially those we like to take all the credit for. And then ask ourselves honestly – what are we doing with the good things God showers upon us?
Are we hoarding them – or multiplying them?
And if the answer is hoarding them and hiding them away – then we’ve got some work to do. . .
Moments in time...