A man went on a journey, and entrusted his three servants with five talents, two talents, and one talent, respectively. "To each according to his ability." Then he went away and when he came back, the servant who had received the five talents had doubled his investment. Likewise, the servant who had received the two talents had doubled his investment. The servant who had received the one talent said, "I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth." But his master answered him, "You wicked and slothful servant!"
This passage has come up in my study and prayer more in the last few weeks more than it has in a long time. Maybe because I see fear-mongering among many who follow the Presidential election. Maybe it is because I am helping many people invest their money in ways they never have before. Maybe it is because I now have a friend who buries his money in a coffee can (yeah, I'm talking about you, Diamondo). While I really am not completely sure why, I do think this is a parable to seriously consider.
I find the funny thing in this story to be the rebuke is not, as is so often the case, results-driven. The rebuke in this story is based completely on what was attempted. To me, I would have really liked one of the servant-investors to be a poor chooser and have chosen to invest in something that completely bombed. Five years ago, we would have had people lauding that as "out of touch," but the truth is while we like to easily join in the rebuke of the dude given just one talent, most of us today are often right there with him, pinching our money, rather than working hard to invest it properly.
I guess I wonder if we will be more rebuked for choosing an investment that bombed or for not investing at all. And I keep coming back to the line, "to each according to his ability." As I unpack that text, I see that we are given what we are able to handle and then it is our responsibility to invest it as best we can. It seems as if Jesus is, in this parable, saying that the absolute bare minimum is to merely put the money in an interest-bearing checking account.
In the recent past, I have assisted people in purchasing homes. Of course, there is nothing new there, as I have had a real estate license since 1995. However, with prices at an all time low and interest rates as low as they've been since I've seen anything recorded, there has never been a better time to invest in homes. I've also been helping people purchase radio stations. As a guy who is looking to get a job with one, I am hoping I can parlay that assistance into getting a gig. But since people think radio stations are fast becoming a thing of the past (they probably are to some degree, but we still have time), they are selling stations for the value of the real estate only. And as long as they bring in any positive cash flow, you can make money on it.
I have spoken with more people about investing recently than I previously did. Many are scared. Many are misinformed. Many just aren't willing to take the risk. A quote I heard a long time ago was “A ship is safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for.” We can hold on to our money (and also our time, talent, talk, and testimony), but that is not why we were entrusted with that (according to our abilities).
Quit attempting to hoard your money (or other gifts) and attempt to make something of it. "When you look back on your life, you'll regret the things you didn't do more!" It is my belief that the greater rebukes will be for not trying. Contact someone who can help you and attempt to make your money, time, talent, talk, and testimony have an ever stronger impact than you could possibly imagine!