In Luke 19, Jesus tells a story. He explained that after a soon-to-be king entrusted his servants with large sums of money, he left for another country and come back to inquire what they had gained with his investment. Two of the servants invested the king’s money. He was pleased by their faithfulness to put his money to work and he entrusted them with authority over cities in his kingdom.
However, one servant decided that instead of investing the king’s money while he was gone, he would hide it away. This servant told the king,
“I was afraid of you because you are a hard man. You take out what you did not put in and reap what you did not sow (Luke 19:21).”
Driven by an unjustified fear, this servant failed to prove himself as faithful and suffered because of it.
This parable teaches us a number of truths—two of them being that God has made an investment in you and that he expects you to use it. But the third servant teaches us an equally important truth: what we fear determines how we act. To prove ourselves faithful in the end, we must fight the fear to hide God’s investment in us.
Maybe you feel God has spoken to you and you’ve identified the investment he wants you to leverage. At this point, you’re probably experiencing one of these fears:
What if I’m wrong?
“Is this really what you want me to do God?” you might ask yourself. There’s always the possibility that we might perceive that God has invested a certain gift or talent in us that He actually didn’t. Look no further than “American Idol” for evidence. However, we often use this fear as an excuse not to make the first step. If this is your fear, ask a few honest friends if they also think God has invested that gift or talent in you. Listen to their feedback and have them keep you accountable to take the next step to leverage your gifts.
What if I fail?
This fear isn’t unreasonable because we want to act with wisdom and not proceed rashly. However, we’re never going to be perfect and God is well aware of that fact. Not a single person in the Bible or in church history whom God used to do incredible work—besides Jesus—got it all right. Christians tend to gravitate towards inaction instead of action, despite the fact that we profess to follow a God who is gracious even as we fail. Maybe you will fail, but God won’t abandon you in your failure and He will also use it for your good.
What will people think?
This fear is likely the root of all other fears. We must remember that when we stand before God and give him an account of our lives, we’ll be very alone. Accordingly, He is the only one we will need to justify ourselves before. To stay faithful to God’s mission we need to learn, as Paul did, to say, “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ (Galatians 1:10).”
One day, we will all stand before God and give an account for our time on Earth. Let’s start today taking risks and acting on God’s investments in us so that each of us can say to Him, “I used everything you gave me.”