I know some folks who panicked recently and took their retirement money out of the stock market. They were rightfully concerned about what would happen to the markets in light of the dreadful ongoing crisis in Japan. I have also had the opportunity to spend some time with folks who have made substantial investments in their faith community, only to be seriously injured and betrayed by those they were serving. Their natural reaction was also to withdrawal.
This year, the season of Lent (for me) means learning to be more intentional about my faith. I have realized in my conversations with these friends, that often living a life of intention is synonymous with taking the risk to invest…in the lives of my neighbors, my community and my church. As I wrote several weeks back in a piece titled, “Intersections, Faith, and the Safety of Lions” (http://bit.ly/gJOXLZ), living with that purpose and serving others is definitely not the “safest” choice. Yet part of being faithful to art, life, and faith involves mustering the courage to move on when we are hurt and reengage ourselves in the story of the Gospel – the Story of loving our neighbors. I wrote in The Mockingbird Parables that loving your neighbor can be a dangerous proposition. Just ask Tom Robinson, whose onlymotivation was to help a lonely and pitiful young girl.
Isn’t the essence of faith truly found in the very act of picking ourselves up after we are bruised and walking with intention toward another investment? Grounding ourselves in the work of the Kingdom is always precarious. You know how I love parables. I thought I would share this one with you today from The Message, Matthew 25. It is one that has recently been an encouragement to me as I strive to reinvest areas of my own life and faith…
14-18“It’s also like a man going off on an extended trip. He called his servants together and delegated responsibilities. To one he gave five thousand dollars, to another two thousand, to a third one thousand, depending on their abilities. Then he left. Right off, the first servant went to work and doubled his master’s investment. The second did the same. But the man with the single thousand dug a hole and carefully buried his master’s money.
19-21“After a long absence, the master of those three servants came back and settled up with them. The one given five thousand dollars showed him how he had doubled his investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’
22-23“The servant with the two thousand showed how he also had doubled his master’s investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’
24-25“The servant given one thousand said, ‘Master, I know you have high standards and hate careless ways, that you demand the best and make no allowances for error. I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound down to the last cent.’
26-27“The master was furious. ‘That’s a terrible way to live! It’s criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least? The least you could have done would have been to invest the sum with the bankers, where at least I would have gotten a little interest.
28-30“‘Take the thousand and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this “play-it-safe” who won’t go out on a limb. Throw him out into utter darkness.’