Your God is a Good God
by Max Lucado
Use your uniqueness to take great risks for God!
The only mistake is not to risk making one.
Such was the error of the one-talent servant. Did the master notice him? Indeed, he did. And from the third servant we learn a sobering lesson. “Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground’ ” (Matt. 25: 24–25).
Contrast the reaction of the third servant with that of the first two.
The faithful servants “went and traded” (v. 16). The fearful one “went and dug” (v. 18).
The first two invested. The last one buried.
The first two went out on a limb. The third hugged the trunk.
The master wouldn’t stand for it. Brace yourself for the force of his response. “You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest” (vv. 26–27).
Whoa. What just happened? Why the blowtorch? Find the answer in the missing phrase. The master repeated the assessment of the servant, word for word, with one exclusion. Did you note it? “I knew you to be a hard man” (v. 24). The master didn’t repeat the description he wouldn’t accept.
The servant levied a cruel judgment by calling the master a hard man. The servant used the exact word for “hard” that Christ used to describe stiff-necked and stubborn Pharisees (see Matt. 19:8; Acts 7:51). The writer of Hebrews employed the term to beg readers not to harden their hearts (3:8). The one-talent servant called his master stiff-necked, stubborn, and hard.
His sin was not mismanagement, but misunderstanding. Was his master hard? He gave multimillion-dollar gifts to undeserving servants; he honored the two-talent worker as much as the five; he stood face to face with both at homecoming and announced before the audiences of heaven and hell, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Was this a hard master? Infinitely good, graciously abundant, yes. But hard? No.
The one-talent servant never knew his master. He should have. He lived under his roof and shared his address. He knew his face, his name, but he never knew his master’s heart. And, as a result, he broke it.
Who is this unprofitable servant? If you never use your gifts for God, you are. If you think God is a hard God, you are.
For fear of doing the wrong thing for God, you’ll do nothing for God. For fear of making the wrong kingdom decision, you’ll make no kingdom decision. For fear of messing up, you’ll miss out. You will give what this servant gave and will hear what this servant heard: “You wicked and lazy servant” (v. 26).
But you don’t have to. It’s not too late to seek your Father’s heart. Your God is a good God.
From Cure for the Common Life: Living in Your Sweet Spot
© (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2005) Max Lucado
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