Parable of the Risk

MT 24:13-30


14-18“It’s also like a man going off on an extended trip. He called his servants together and delegated responsibilities. To one he gave five thousand dollars, to another two thousand, to a third one thousand, depending on their abilities. Then he left. Right off, the first servant went to work and doubled his master’s investment. The second did the same. But the man with the single thousand dug a hole and carefully buried his master’s money.

 19-21“After a long absence, the master of those three servants came back and settled up with them. The one given five thousand dollars showed him how he had doubled his investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’

 22-23“The servant with the two thousand showed how he also had doubled his master’s investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’

 24-25“The servant given one thousand said, ‘Master, I know you have high standards and hate careless ways, that you demand the best and make no allowances for error. I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound down to the last cent.’

 26-27“The master was furious. ‘That’s a terrible way to live! It’s criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least? The least you could have done would have been to invest the sum with the bankers, where at least I would have gotten a little interest.

 28-30“‘Take the thousand and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this “play-it-safe” who won’t go out on a limb. Throw him out into utter darkness.’

This parable is one that is a bit confusing because of two things: one is the term “talent” which was a unit of money but which most of us associate with ability or giftedness. That’s why I read the parable from “The Message” because I liked the way it took that problem right out of the picture. The other thing is that this parable turns upside down the way Jesus usually taught about the poor. In this parable the rich are rewarded and the poor guy is punished – or so it can seem at first. But upon examination we find that this parable isn’t about the rich and the poor it is about risk taking versus playing it safe. It is about pleasing our Lord by showing a return on His investment in us.

Jesus commended the two servants who doubled their investment. How do you make $5,000 become $10,000? How do you make $2,000 become $4,000? You have to take risks. You have to put your money to work. They took risks and it paid off, they doubled his investment, and their master praised them. But the servant given $1,000 decided to play it safe. He buried his money in the ground (the savings and loan of the day), and the master was displeased because he got no return on his investment. A fair application of this parable is that our Lord expects us to give Him a return on whatever he entrusts us with. In other words, Jesus us rewards risk takers!

The $5,000 man doubled his master’s money, he put it to work, and grew it to $10,000. Some of you are $5k people. Everything about you is more: more money, more responsibility, more expectations, more pressure, more opportunity, more scrutiny, and more temptations. $5k people know how to make money!

If you are a $5k person; if you’re not afraid to risk your capital to make money this parable should be a source of encouragement to you, because in this story the rich guy is the hero! The master said to the servant who had doubled his $5k and now had $10k. “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into your master’s happiness.”

God gives the $5k person more money because he trusts the $5k servant to put his wealth to work for His Kingdom. I am in process of retiring and last week I talked to the administrator of my IRA about my investments, reminding him that I would very much like not to have to be a Wal-Mart greeter after I retire! He encouraged me to just keep: “Weighing the risk against the reward.” That’s what $5k do so well. I doubt the $5k servant in the parable took a wild investment in wheat futures or took his $5k to a casino and say, “Put everything on red and spin that Roulette wheel.” No I think he used his God given money management abilities and took calculated risks and increased his masters $5k to $10k!
“Well done, good, faithful servant.”

I am amazed at what $5k people can do with money. I know a $5k guy whose son went to Georgia Tech the same time my girls were in college. Rather than putting his son in a dormitory, this man bought a large house in Atlanta and made part of it an apartment for his son. He rented other rooms to other students. The rental fees paid for the mortgage payments and when his son’s college was over, the man sold the house for almost double what he had invested in it. He paid for his son’s education with that house. At the same time my daughters and I took loans to pay for their college educations. It took us years to pay them off while the $5k guy instead made money and got his son a college education! That’s the difference between a $5k person and one who isn’t.

$5k people can be a tremendous blessing to the kingdom of God.

Acts 4:26
tells us about a $5k guy named Joseph who sold a field he owned and brought the money to the apostles’ feet to be used as they saw best. You may know him better by his nickname “Barnabas”. This $5k man enabled the church to minister to the poor because he gave his money to God. No wonder they called Joe “Barnabas” which means “Son of encouragement.”

The Beeson family (who made their money in insurance) gave $40 million to Asbury Seminary because of its faithfulness in training preachers. The Phillips family (who made their money in oil) paid for the classroom building and library at Emanuel School of Religion because they believed there should be a Christian Church seminary in the south. $5k people can be a tremendous encouragement to God’s kingdom if they realize their wealth is a gift from God and give it back to Him.

If you are a $5k person I challenge you to take the step of faith giving away to a godly cause a large enough gift that it is a real risk.

More about the Parable of the Risk tomorrow.

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