“Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’
“His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.
“‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’”
We can fall short of God’s expectations in different ways. Most often, we think of sin as doing something we shouldn’t, but failing to do something we should can also be sinful. There are sins of commission (bad things we do) and sins of omission (good things we don’t do). For instance, Jesus asks us to love our neighbors. That means to actively seek out ways to be kind and helpful to those in need. It’s not enough simply to refrain from being mean to your neighbors. If you know someone could use a hand and you ignore them, you have failed to show love. In the same way, if you feel in your heart that God is leading you to reconcile a broken relationship or to speak truth into a hard situation or to do anything else out of obedience to God’s leading, but you don’t follow through, then you have fallen into the same trap as the lazy servant.
We often apply this parable to the whole of our lives, imagining God judging us based on how fruitful we have been throughout our lives with the resources He invested in us. That’s a good and right interpretation, but we can also narrow the focus to any particular act of service God may set before us. The good, faithful servants do the Master’s will, honoring him with obedience and hard work. The lazy servant, however, is given an opportunity to serve and chooses instead to do nothing. In burying the Master’s bag of gold, the servant commits a sin of omission, failing to do anything worthwhile on behalf of the Master.
What is God asking you to do? What opportunities has He put before you to show love or to speak truth or to serve someone in need? Sometimes, we ignore those opportunities, burying them in the ground out of fear or laziness. God has placed his Holy Spirit in you to give you strength and wisdom to serve him. He has given you abilities and resources with which you can love others and help build the kingdom. As you prove yourself to be a good and faithful servant, God will trust you with greater kingdom work and invite you to share in his happiness.
Gracious Father, help me to serve You and to see the opportunities You give me to love others. Thank You for entrusting me with valuable resources to build Your kingdom as I share the love and message of Jesus. Amen.
Pastor Mike Mirakian