High risk, high reward - 25 March 2022

By Xanthe Hancox

Whether it’s cryptocurrency, stocks, or real estate, high-risk investments are commonplace today. But in ancient Palestine, safe and secure investments were far more likely. In a culture based on honour and shame, the loss of fortune meant the loss of dignity. While we might think it foolish, hiding one’s wealth in the ground was, in Jesus’s day, the approved way to preserve it. But Jesus challenged that way of thinking in the light of building up God’s kingdom.

The servant with one bag of gold was given plenty of time to use his gift. Unfortunately, he saw the master only as mean rather than generous. He chose what he saw as the “safe way” rather than trying to do something, anything, to bring God glory.

Jesus used strong language in assessing the servants in this story. He called them “good and faithful servant” or “wicked, lazy servant.” There is no third option. Either we use our gifts to expand God’s kingdom for his glory, or we hide our gifts, not really wishing to serve our Lord.

Living as a follower of Jesus can be frustrating. We want to give to the poor, but we worry about putting food on our own table. We desire to forgive people, but those same people keep punching us in the face. We want to use our God-given skills to better the world, but the world keeps asking for more.

In hard times, self-preservation becomes the highest value for many of us. But Jesus reminds us of the security of the kingdom of God. Give, and it will be given to you. Invest your resources in kingdom causes, and they will multiply.

Prayer: Generous God, remove self-preservation from my mind-set. May the realities of investing in your kingdom be more important to me than the worries of this life. Amen