Jesus worked in stories.
He was truly the master storyteller. While the religious elite spoke in lofty prayers and set unreachable standards, Jesus met the people where they were in the wilderness and towns. And He told them stories.
This is brilliant because every one of us wants to find ourselves in a story. When we look back on our lives, we don’t want the narrative of our life to merely be a list of rules- do’s and don’ts– but an adventure. And that is exactly what Jesus has offered! He invites us into the greatest adventure the world has ever known!
Several of Jesus’ stories give us a warning. You can read one such story in Matthew 25:14-30. It goes something like this (my own paraphrase): A rich man needs to leave on business, so he places his 3 servants in charge of some of his finances. He gives each one a different amount from large to small, and then heads out of town. The first two servants go out and double their money! (Talk about pressure!) So, the last servant has a great idea… He buries it in the field. Then he knows he won’t lose it. Fast forward to the boss’s return. He, of course, asks for a report of the money. The first two servants report, very happily I assume, that they doubled what they had been given. (Good for you. Aren’t you special! Mom always said you were the perfect one!) Then the last man steps up and gives the money back, just as was asked. He didn’t lose a dime because it was buried safely in the field. Good job, right? Wrong. The master goes off! The servant is punished and kicked out into the darkness. The boss says, “Well, at least you could have put my money in the bank and earned interest!”
(Here’s the payoff. Wait for it….)
So, what does that have to do with our story? Is this just a story about money and budgeting? No. After reading this story this morning, I read some thoughts by N.T. Wright (smart guy. You should check him out). Listen to what he has to say on the matter…
Those who fail in their calling are writing themselves out of the picture. Privileges and vocations carry responsibilities; to avoid them is to forfeit the privilege. -N.T. Wright
Did you catch that! Man, that hit me hard this morning. For years, I have felt called to some pretty cool things, this blog being one of them. But I would drag my feet out of procrastination, doubt, laziness, or fear. Maybe you have struggled with one of those as well.
This is so hard to admit, but for years, I was writing myself out of my own story!
What a tragedy. What a waste. And my heart breaks for the tens of thousands of Christians across this country that sit in church every week, but are doing nothing more than burying money in the sand.
My prayer is that I have the strength to chase after the story that God has called me to live. I may fail. I may fall flat on my face at times. But as I read the story in Matthew 25, I have this feeling that even if the servant would have lost money trying to invest it, the boss wouldn’t have been mad. It was the lack of effort that sealed his fate.
So, let me pray for you, as well, that we will both have the courage to dive into God’s story for our lives and never look back!
Lord, I pray now both for myself and truly anyone that EVER reads this post. I pray that we will have the wisdom, strength, and courage to live out the story that you have called us to live. I pray for those of us that already know the role we are supposed to play, that we will stop with the excuses and live out that calling. And I pray for those who have not yet discovered the story that you have called them to, and that you would reveal their purpose to them this day. Lord, may we never write ourselves out of the story you have written. Let us live such a life that we will have the reward or hearing, “Well done, faithful servant!” In your glorious and precious name, Amen.