I can talk myself out of anything. I have almost zero will power when it comes to things that are good for me. I constantly tell myself I can do it later, and then, of course, it never gets done. That’s why I adopted the motto “Some beats none every time.”
Washing some of the dishes is better than washing none of the dishes.
Doing some house cleaning is better than doing none of the house cleaning.
Completing some of my workout is better than completing none of it.
Writing some of a blog post is better than writing none of it!
I might sound a tad pathetic and sound it might sound like I have a slacker attitude; however, according to God’s economy of gifts, talents, and work, “some beats none every time” actually works.
In Matthew 25:14-30, Jesus offers the parable of the talents to explain just how God’s economy of gifts, talents, and work, well, works.
Go ahead and read it. I’ll wait right here.
Your back! Before I begin, we need to look at context which actually starts in Chapter 24.
In chapter 24 of Matthew, Jesus and His disciples are leaving the temple and chatting about the temple buildings. Jesus finds this as a perfect teaching opportunity. In Chapter 25 of Matthew, Jesus uses 3 parables to explain 1) the importance of being ready when Jesus returns, 2) being found responsible with what God has entrusted to you, and 3) being prepared to give an account of your life at the final judgement. From this context, we can assume that the master represents God and the servants are those who profess to be believers.
This chapter is directed, point blank, at believers.
Anyone in an ongoing ministry, full time or volunteer, will say that one of the biggest problems is getting other believers to help. However, if believers would trust God’s economy instead of their own, there would be no shortage of workers!
Every believer is asked to something in the Kingdom. So what is keeping many from participating? They don’t feel like they have anything to offer, or they scare themselves into thinking they will fail somehow.
What if Jesus has already told us that both of those fears are unfounded?
Look again at Matthew 25:15. Jesus says, the master “gave five bags of silver to one, two bags of silver to another, and one bag of silver to the last—dividing it in proportion to their abilities. He then left on his trip” (emphasis added).
Here are a few amazing insights we gain from these two sentences:
- The master trusted all three of his servants regardless of their abilities. He gave the servant with the most abilities the most bags of silver, and the newbie with the least abilities received one bag. Although the last servant was inexperienced, the master still trusted him.
- The master knew each servant possessed the ability to do what was asked regardless of how each man felt about his own ability. The master did not ask the servants to do anything they were not capable of doing. The master saw something in the third servant that the third servant didn’t see in himself – the ability to invest wisely.
- The master did not set an expectation for the servants. In this version of the parable, the master hands the servants bags and then leaves on his trip without further direction. One could argue that the master indeed set an expectation (see Luke 19:11-26); however, even in that version, the master only tells the servants to invest. He doesn’t tell them how much to gain.
The take away from these insights:
- Regardless of your abilities, God trusts you. He trusts you in proportion to your abilities.
- God sees something in you that you don’t see in yourself – the ability to help the Kingdom. Just because you can’t see it in yourself doesn’t mean it is not there.
- Many times we put undue pressure on ourselves that Jesus never intended. We scare ourselves into inaction.
The lack of a set expectation and the negative response to the last servant doing nothing (Matthew 25:24-30), leads to the moral of the parable is that something is better nothing every time.
The point is that the lazy servant didn’t gain anything. The point is that the master wanted the man to invest, and he didn’t. The master wanted the man to make an effort – to TRY.
The master’s negative response to the lazy servant leads me to believe that failure as a result of even minimal effort is an option and is, therefore, a risk worth taking. I truly believe that had the servant TRIED to invest, even if he had come back with nothing, the master would have said “Well done, my good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of the Lord.” Why? Because he TRIED. He put forth an effort to invest and get more. (Side note: do I believe that if the man had invested the money he would have returned empty handed? No. I don’t believe he would because that’s not how God’s economy works. He would have gotten at the very least as much back as he had invested, not less.)
The point to that parable is that we try, we take the risk of failure instead of accepting failure before we start. Just TRY!
Do something because SOMETHING BEATS NOTHING EVERY TIME!
You don’t know where to start in ministry? Pick something and do it. If it doesn’t fit, try something else, but try something!
Volunteer in the nursery on Sunday or Wednesday for one month.
Cut the grass around the church for a month.
Offer your labor (car care, plumbing, painting, tutoring, budgeting, etc.) to the elderly, single parent families, or financially strapped for free (by appointment of course).
Try something! Why? Because something beats nothing every time.
It’s God’s economy.
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