This pastoral passage was written for LRBC for 23 October 2022
Imagine this scenario. Your boss gives you a million dollars (or a hundred mil if you’re business savvy) and assigns you the task of using it to make more money. You can make your own game plan on how you will use and grow the capital, but he expects you to put the money to work. For the sake of the scenario let’s say he offers you 50% of the profits too.
This is the scenario Jesus presents to his disciples in the “Parable of the Talents” (Matt. 25:14-30). “Talents” back then were a massive unit of currency that most people would never actually see for themselves—the proverbial “million dollars”. In the parable, a wealthy master entrusts huge sums of money to three of his trusted servants—from “modest-large” to “colossal-large”, depending on the ability of the servant. Two of the servants get right to work, but one hides the money safely in the ground—which in those days was safer than the banks.
When the time came to settle accounts, two of the servants have doubled the capital entrusted to them and are praised and invited to share in their master’s joy. However, the third servant had failed to grow his capital at all. Perhaps he was too scared to take risks, too lazy to work, resentful at receiving the smallest (huge) pile of money, or simply had no love for the master who had shown such trust in him.
Whatever it was, he had shirked the responsibility he was obligated to act upon.
This parable prompts Christians to be entrepreneurial with what God has entrusted to them. Through the circumstances of providence God has entrusted us with varying quantities of skills, abilities, money, connections, spiritual gifts, possessions, education, and so on. Most of all, he has entrusted us with the knowledge and privileges of the kingdom of heaven. We are expected to put these things to work for the sake of his kingdom. The entrepreneurial theme of the parable tells us we should try strategies, take risks, and work hard to succeed.
By nature, I myself am not entrepreneurial at all. But my work experience as a self-employed beekeeper, and more so as a honey retailer, has taught me to be (a bit). When one is self-employed one cannot simply turn up at work to do the job and then clock out at the end of the day. One must work hard to make it succeed when that is needed, or fail. One must try new ideas and take some risks if they are to get ahead. The responsibility lies on the shoulders of the entrepreneur. It’s a different kind of work to wage or salary earning.
Jesus has made every one of his people entrepreneurs for the kingdom. The million-dollar question is this: What is your “business plan” to grow our Master’s kingdom?