August 25

Do Something

By Tom Willey

Luke 19:11-27


Our recent sermon series has been on the subject of tension in scripture, and this passage exemplifies that state.

There are specific problematic portions of this section that theologians have struggled with for years, but I will choose to focus on that which is the clearest: The king gave each of his servants something, and he expected them to do something with it – he specifically said, “Invest this while I’m gone.”

One thing I noticed is, that while he rewarded his servants in proportion to the level they had grown their investment, there was no negative comparison between the first and second servants. He didn’t say, “My first servant did double what you did with the same amount – why didn’t you do the same?” He simply said, “Well done!”

The tough words were for the servant that did nothing – the one who didn’t even try.

It was not out of ignorance – the servant said, essentially, “I know you had high expectations, so rather than disappoint you with my failure I chose to risk nothing and give you back exactly what I started with.”

I may be wrong about this, but I bet if the last servant had even tried and failed – the king would have had kinder words. It was the complete unwillingness to take a risk and obey that landed the servant in hot water.

To apply this passage, the first question to ask is, “what has God given me to invest?” This parable states that each servant was given something; unlike the parable, not all of our “somethings” are the same. Some have the talent to teach, others to worship through music, others to show hospitality. I had a niece who was grappling with her calling a few years ago and felt that what she felt being called to do wasn’t “big enough”. She told her mom, “I just want to love on orphans.” WOW. That’s a HUGE gift!

The next question is to ask God, “show me how to do this – show me where to invest.” Unlike the parable, God the Father has given us the Holy Spirit as a kind of “investment adviser” to guide us on how to be obedient and follow his plan.

Once He shows you how to invest your gift, then do it. Start small if you have to, and if you fail at first, that’s OK. Learn from your mistakes and move forward. Sometimes it is the trying and failing that God sets you up for your next and more successful task.

The point is: do something – put the “talent” to work. God knows your heart and wants you to try your best regardless of the apparent outcome. While you may think what you’re doing is small and perhaps underwhelming in the world’s eyes, you may be pleasantly surprised in heaven to see how God grew your investment in the kingdom.

But doing nothing – that isn’t an option.


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