Many of Jesus’ stories reference power, money, debt and investment. All of these things have moral implications. The rich man and the beggar story teach about compassion for the poor. The prodigal son story teaches about valuing people over the cost associated. The man forgiven a great debt story teaches about forgiving others who are indebted to us. The lost coin story speaks to the celebratory, redemptive act of recovering what has been lost.

One of the moral tales of Jesus speaks to the importance of investing our lives into the work of God’s Kingdom and the consequence of living in fear and reluctance.

Luke 19:
12-13 “There was once a man descended from a royal house who needed to make a long trip back to headquarters to get authorization for his rule and then return. But first he called ten servants together, gave them each a sum of money, and instructed them, ‘Operate with this until I return.’
14 “But the citizens there hated him. So they sent a commission with a signed petition to oppose his rule: ‘We don’t want this man to rule us.’
15 “When he came back bringing the authorization of his rule, he called those ten servants to whom he had given the money to find out how they had done.
16 “The first said, ‘Master, I doubled your money.’
17 “He said, ‘Good servant! Great work! Because you’ve been trustworthy in this small job, I’m making you governor of ten towns.’
18 “The second said, ‘Master, I made a fifty percent profit on your money.’
19 “He said, ‘I’m putting you in charge of five towns.’
20-21 “The next servant said, ‘Master, here’s your money safe and sound. I kept it hidden in the cellar. To tell you the truth, I was a little afraid. I know you have high standards and hate sloppiness, and don’t suffer fools gladly.’
22-23 “He said, ‘You’re right that I don’t suffer fools gladly—and you’ve acted the fool! Why didn’t you at least invest the money in securities so I would have gotten a little interest on it?’
24 “Then he said to those standing there, ‘Take the money from him and give it to the servant who doubled my stake.’
25 “They said, ‘But Master, he already has double . . .’
26 “He said, ‘That’s what I mean: Risk your life and get more than you ever dreamed of. Play it safe and end up holding the bag.
27 “‘As for these enemies of mine who petitioned against my rule, clear them out of here. I don’t want to see their faces around here again.’”

It’s a simple enough story. The ‘almost king’ is a man of substance who entrusts some of his wealth to servants. The people of the region do not like the man and oppose the idea of him ruling them. But, the servants still have a responsibility because they work for their master.

The first servant doubles the money. The second has a 50% increase and the third does nothing but return the original amount. Clearly there are varying degrees of ability when it comes to investment, but the fearful reluctance to do anything is not an option. The master expects an attempt to be made. He rewards those who learn to multiply what they have been given.

I think we can draw an application to how we understand our role as servants of Jesus. The Lord is being given the crown to rule over the world, but many are opposed to him. We may find ourselves caught between the will of Christ and the fearful, reluctance of a world that does not want to be disturbed. What do we do with the goods that God gives us responsibility for?

How do we as a local church multiply the love, mercy, grace and wisdom that we have been entrusted with? How do we use our finances in ways that have multiplying effects? We do in fact have a moral responsibility to be investors for God’s Kingdom.

John Fischer said,
Fear deceives us into thinking we are not capable of doing more with our lives. Fear turns us into little, insignificant people. After a while we grow into liking not having the responsibility of being bigger people, making more of our lives, being givers instead of takers, so that our fear actually maintains a sort of comfort zone of inactivity around a huddle of unclaimed riches. We have a bag of gold but it’s buried in the ground and we buried it. As long as we don’t do anything, we can at least assure ourselves of not doing the wrong thing.[1]

I want to challenge you to go to the basement and bring up the bag of gold that God has given you. Take courage as you step out in faith to invest and multiply the goodness you have received. You need to reach beyond what you have safely grasped. Everything you have and are is a seed that can be grown into much more than currently is in your hand.

Start to dream about being more of a giver and less of a hoarder. Understand that you have the authority and freedom to move forward as a builder in God’s Kingdom. I cannot wait to see what you will do as you walk in the Spirit and are entrusted with more.

Do not run from your true significance. With God’s help you will have a great return on investment.