Look how safe a boat is stored at the marina. Free from the dangers of salt water, weather, or rust. I often wonder who owns these boats and how often they actually use them. Or Picture a pristine v12 super car never going above the speed limit. Worse yet, picture that car just sitting in the dealership showroom! What a great analogy of how we live our lives as Christians. Much like these images of protection and safety, we are also caught neglecting our given purpose and commission! Our purpose is to glorify God and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19).
Don’t waste your talents
Let’s look at this parable Jesus gave from Matthew 15,
“For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money.
Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’
And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’
He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’
But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents.
For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
When interpreting parables, we know that this literary device is not literal in meaning. God is not necessarily entrusting us with lump sums of money here (but it’s true he does give us money to steward), but rather, He is entrusting us with everything we have; our whole lives. Let’s invest our lives wisely: our time, money, devotion, relationships, hobbies, careers, houses, and our even our bodies. Just like in this parable, at the end of our lives we too will be judged for how we live (Romans 2:6–11). Let’s desire to live a fulfilling life that is worthy to hear the master say, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21). I don’t think any of us will look back on our lives and say, “Man, I just really wish I put more time into Netflix” or “I wish I would have stayed indoors on the couch more.”
Don’t give in to apathy
Read this thought provoking excerpt from theologian John Piper,
“I will tell you what a tragedy is. I will show you how to waste your life. Consider a story from the February 1998 edition of Reader’s Digest, which tells about a couple who “took early retirement from their jobs in the Northeast five years ago when he was 59 and she was 51. Now they live in Punta Gorda, Florida, where they cruise on their 30 foot trawler, play softball and collect shells.”
At first, when I read it I thought it might be a joke. A spoof on the American Dream. But it wasn’t. Tragically, this was the dream: Come to the end of your life — your one and only precious, God-given life — and let the last great work of your life, before you give an account to your Creator, be this: playing softball and collecting shells.
Picture them before Christ at the great day of judgment: ‘Look, Lord. See my shells.’ That is a tragedy. And people today are spending billions of dollars to persuade you to embrace that tragic dream. Over against that, I put my protest: Don’t buy it. Don’t waste your life.”
–John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway, 2003), 45–6
John Piper has written a lot on this topic. I really enjoy these two small books he wrote against apathy and safety.
If you’re shorter on time, check out this great sermon he preached on “Risk and the Cause of God,”
Risk and the Cause of God
Be of good courage and let us play the man for our people, and for the cities of our God; and may the Lord do what…
Don’t fear danger or death
Several times in scripture, we are encouraged to consider eternity, rather than the current world as our home. In reality, we have an illusion of safety here in the US. We think that things like security systems, insurance, and savings accounts can save us from danger. In reality, our lives are a vapor totally in the hand of our creator. If God wanted to smite you, he would need bolts of lightning, fire from Heaven, or a murderer to hunt you down, he would merely need to not give your your next breath. Look how the Bible tells us how to deal with fear and danger regarding our life,
“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”
“yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.”
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.”
1 Peter 4:12–14
Watch Pastor and Author Francis Chan describe our clinging to safety,
Risk because he’s required EVERY part of us
If you’ve ever read Matthew 1o, Mark 8, or Luke 14, you are familiar with Christ’s demands to be his disciple. This is bone chilling and undeniable. Try as we may, we cannot get around the fact that Christ has demanded his followers to “count the cost” and follow him with every fiber. This is not optional for disciples. I really feel we’ve over looked these demands today.
“And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
“Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.”
“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me.”
1 Phillipians 21–22
Listen to Pastor and Author Matt Chandler describe our apathy and our call,
Listen to how John Piper asks parents to give up their children for the sake of the gospel,
Risk because He is worth it
Even though Christ commands us to give our all, isn’t he worth anyways? Hasn’t he already given us more than we could ever pay Him back? Our lives are worth serving him in thanksgiving. Let’s “seek first the kingdom” (Matthew 6:33), trade in our luxuries, and trade in this “American dream.” This dream presented to us is a worldly lie, and is more like a nightmare in foresight of the end of our lives and judgement day.
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world — the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life— is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”
1 John 2:15–17
“For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.”
1 Thessalonians 5:2–3