God Wants Something Out of the Deal
To put it in layman’s terms, our Father is a fair, yet shrewd “businessman”.
Everything He does has a purpose to further a greater purpose. Nothing is coincidental; nothing is wasted.
God’s most valuable investment was the life of His Son, Jesus, on the cross – paying the ransom for our sin and death. The gift of the Holy Spirit seals the deal and guides us into all truth as we work out our salvation.
Surely, we could never accurately calculate the value of this investment – nor “pay God back” any return equal to the level of cost. But, as Jesus reveals in the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30, there is something for all of us to contribute. There is a return on the investment expected of every member of the body of Christ.
After reading the parable, take a look at the following 5 principles of Kingdom ROI and let’s produce our best work, together:
1. God Gives Every Teammate Something to Work With
Like the good Father He is, God has given each of us our own abilities and giftings. As the Giver and Source of our abilities (Zechariah 4:6), we never have to worry about God asking us to produce our own seeds; we don’t have to imitate others or covet each other’s gifts. Why?
When God gives you an assignment – a role to play in the Kingdom – He already knows your designated starting point and has deemed you enough and “meet” for the task at hand. You have everything in you needed to show up for God. He’s got your beginning, middle, and end.
2. A Return on God’s Investment Takes Work
Let me apologize to you now if someone led you to believe that working for the Kingdom is a walk in the park. It is not!
There are no easy fixes, easy ways out, no easy streets on this journey with Christ. And, why should there be? Was the road to the cross on Easy Street for Jesus? No. So, there’s a cost to the oil that God wants to produce in us; this oil will take being pressed, being talked about, being tried in the fire so that we can develop the character and muscle needed to be soldiers in God’s army.
We can’t “beat the system” and play it safe with God’s investment like the servant with one talent. We must be fruitful – not slothful – to multiply God’s gifts.
3. When We Work Together, We Can Expect a Higher Rate of Return
The master in this parable never said the servants couldn’t work together. Neither does God instruct us to work alone in our little corner of the Kingdom of God on this earth. Rather, the Father encourages us to be “one”, to stir one another up in love and good works (Hebrews 10:24), to work together as iron sharpening iron (Proverbs 27:17).
What would have happened if the servant with 1 talent would have asked the other two, “Hey, how were you guys able to double the return on your talents? Can you show me how?”
It is a tactic of the enemy to keep us siloed, afraid to ask for help because “they” may steal an idea or think a certain way. Many of us are missing out on rich knowledge and blessings because we won’t work together.
Keep Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 in mind if you’re struggling with how to use your gifts and abilities and need help:
9 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!
4. Fear Will Cheat You and God Out of a Blessed ROI
What was the servant’s justification to simply bury his one talent – “I was afraid.” (Matthew 25:25).
Fear is a constant point of discussion because it is such an effective tool of the enemy to deny each of us our full potential and ROI in God. The enemy doesn’t care about your gifts, talents, or anointing – if he can plant fear in your spirit, those abilities will never see the light of day.
Fear is a spirit – and it does not come from God. The same Greek word for “abilities” in this parable is the same word for “power” in 2 Timothy 1:7 – dynamis: “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
Fear is the devil’s con man – don’t let that spirit cheat you out of your effectiveness and greatness in God’s Kingdom.
5. Small, Incremental Returns Mean Something to God
Not only are we all given our own starting point, God understands that we will end up producing at different levels – and that’s OK.
Though the master in this parable appreciated the 2 servants “doubling his money”, did he tell the 3rd servant, “Why didn’t you also double my money?” No. The master says, “At a minimum, you could have at least put the money in the bank and let it draw interest.” (Matthew 25:27)
See, God is not expecting you to produce at the same level as another teammate. However, God IS expecting you to produce something! You don’t have to look on another teammate’s paper (life) and compare yourself to him or her. You will be assessed (judged) by your own decisions and the effort you choose to put in. We each have our own measure of faith and our own measuring stick of success.
So, What’s the Play Call?
Every return goes into the same pot to further the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God. So…
Be a producer! Be an active, productive member of the team – not a benchwarmer.
Jesus is rooting for us! (Luke 22:32, John 17:21)