If you’ve been in church for any length of time, you’ve likely heard the parable of the talents, found in Matthew 25. In this story, a man goes away and entrusts three of his servants with a bag of cash that was proportional to each of their abilities. When the man comes back after a long time, he meets with the servants to see what they have done with the master’s money. The first two servants double the man’s investments, leading to some pretty serious praise. He is so pleased with the first two!
But then his attention turns to the third man and the whole interaction takes an awkward turn. You see, the third man hasn’t increased his master’s money. He opted instead to just dig a hole and bury it. So the servant who started out with one talent only presents his master with that same one talent.
“He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’” Matthew 25:24-25 (ESV)
Then the servant is cast out and the one talent he was given is then given to the one with ten talents. What started as a great story, took a rather astonishing and sad turn! But instead of focusing on the outcome of the story, I want to hone in on what the servant thought of his master.
We can see from the way the man interacted with his servants throughout the story that he wasn’t wicked. He wasn’t mean or cruel, but was willing to entrust his servants with a great deal of wealth. He praised his servants and treated them well. And yet, this third servant saw him improperly, a view that influenced his behavior.
And the same thing is true for us.
If we see God as a cruel taskmaster who just wants to rain on our parade and ruin all of our fun, we’ll run from him. If we think he’s mad at us and seeking creative ways to punish us, we’ll hide from him. If we’ve come to believe that God only accepts us if we’re perfect, we’ll either give up or strive in futility for perfection.
But if we believe that God is our good and loving Father, we can choose to run to him and not away from him. We can trust God with our hearts, our minds, and our futures if we believe he always has the best in mind for us. If we trust that he is the true source of life, we’ll willingly give up our lives to follow him.
Before our behavior changes, our beliefs have to change because our actions always follow our beliefs.
So, my question for you today is: what do your actions show that you believe?
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