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Matthew 25:14-30
Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together! (Matthew 25:21).

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Read a similar parable in Luke 19:11-27. How is it similar to the story in Matthew 25:14-30? How is it different?

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How have you been investing your life in God’s kingdom? Are you taking bold risks or have you been playing it safe? What do you need to do differently?

What’s one thing you hope to hear God say to you in heaven? I’m guessing it’s these words: “Well done, My good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21). This verse is quoted so often that it’s invaluable that we understand its meaning.

In this passage, Jesus is like the master who entrusted his money to his servants before he went away. Though he will be gone for a long time, he will eventually return and settle accounts with his servants (Matthew 25:19). Similarly, believers live between the times—that is, between the beginning of the end and the consummation of the end. Despite the seemingly long wait, we need to watch and be ready for our Lord’s return.

So, how can we be ready? The parable presents two positive examples and one negative. The obedient servants took the risk and invested their master’s money to bring the greatest possible return to him when he arrived. The wicked and lazy servant, on the other hand, played it safe and buried the money. His reasoning was deemed as an excuse. The master’s argument is that no matter what the servant’s opinion of him is, whether accurate or distorted, a true servant would act in accord with his master’s expectation.

Pastor Ray Stedman summarized the parable’s key lesson this way: “Opportunities to display abilities and gifts come to all kinds of people, Christian or not. We can play it safe and get what we can for ourselves—or we can risk reputation, possessions, and life itself so that God may have what He wants.”

Let’s get ready for Jesus’ return by learning to take bold risks for His sake. Then, when we meet Him, we can be sure He’ll say to us: “Well done, My good and faithful servant.”

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Genesis 49:1-33

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7 Responses to “risk it”

  1. Gene says:

    These passages make it clear how important it is to use our gifts, abilities, and resources to serve God and not oursleves. He takes care of the results, but we are to give all we have and not be afraid to take the risks. He will multiply our efforts and bless us. Thanks, Poh Fang, for sharing insight into these verses.

    • tom felten says:

      Good thoughts, Gene. I’m so glad God gives us key resources to size up the risks we take for Him—the wisdom of His Word, the counsel of the Holy Spirit, the insights from godly advisors. May we go when He says “Go!” today.

  2. deborah1 says:

    As soon as I read the title to this posting, my immediate thought was “Will I make it to heaven?”. I believe, of course, that Jesus died to atone for our sins. But when I consider Matthew 15:30, “Now throw this useless servant into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’”, I cannot help but wonder about God’s criteria for a “useless servant” and who will “pass the test”. I really want to believe that God will accept, besides or in addition to bold risks, everyday acts of love and forgiveness shown toward our brothers and sisters in Christ. I pray that will be enough.

  3. mike wittmer says:

    deborah1:

    I think that “everyday acts of love and forgiveness” are actually more difficult than bold risks. So you’re good there. But it’s also essential to keep in mind that it’s not our works or anything we do that will make us acceptable to God, but only by receiving the sacrifice of his dear Son. As long as we’re trusting in Jesus, we will make it to heaven. And we’ll be so grateful for our salvation that we will then practice everyday kindness and even be willing to take some risks, as the devotional explains.

    • deborah1 says:

      Thank you Mike. Your comment is comforting and re-assuring. Acts of love and forgiveness sure are hard to do; they need lots of grace from God and continuous effort on our part. I still have a way to go, but for me, initially demonstrating love and forgiveness toward another person is a bit easier when love means praying for God to bless that person and when forgiveness means wishing the best for someone. I can do those.

  4. dennmaci says:

    Our Pastor spoke about this parable in winding up a series on ‘the comparison trap’ that focused on how we have a tendecy to compare ourselves to others and strive to be better/ best – richer/richest, etc.
    In the end, what matters most, is that we will be held accountable, not for what we end up having, but for what we did with what we had.

  5. danielkclim says:

    Coincidence or God’s Hand?

    I was searching again today for your September 2011 posting “A part, or apart”, which you began with a startling quotation along the lines – “Members do not leave their church because they have lost their faith, but in order to preserve their faith.” My young church pastor in 2011 picked up your posting and the quotation for a memorable and brave sermon which i have summarized and retold several times since to church members who missed hearing it themselves – everytime eliciting the same amazed response to the quotation.

    2 weeks ago, i was searching on-line for what the Bible says about our being judged ‘according to the light given to us’, when i came across a great sermon/talk by the late Ray Stedman – the first time i’d read/ heard him. Wonderful, insightful and direct stuff. I added his website to my reading list immediately and included his words in an Essay i was writing for my church magazine then. i doubt if my Essay, perhaps the best i’ve written over more than 20 years, will be published because it, like many before, appears to be critical, now of the wider national leadership of my church. But I wouldn’t write it any other way. Unfortunately, the truth often hurts and offends people! Instead of being admonished and strengthened as Christians by the truth, some people feel threatened by it. But i believe the truth must always be told – in love, come what may.

    Now, you are quoting Ray Stedman today and on something which i’ve felt has been happening to me these past few days – when i’ve been “risking it”, perhaps more than ever before!

    I doubt if anyone could persuade me that this is not God’s hand at work. Where He’s currently leading is far from clear – that i must grasp His Hand tighly and allow Him to lead wherever He will is certain. As a Methodist, i reaffirmed a traditional covenant on New Year’s Eve which binds me to accept whatever role He may have for me this year. I am alive in Him, that is enough!

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