“Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they do not understand, but the passages that bother me are those I do understand.” — Mark Twain
On Being Afraid Of Not Trying
The Parable of the Talents — Matthew 25:14-30
Since I’m now of middle age and questionable wisdom, I’ve been spending some time wondering what I want to be when I grow up. I know that teaching Scripture is my true passion and my main gift from God. “What about writing?” you may ask. Writing has always been an avenue for me to teach Scripture, either verbally or through the printed or electronic media.
However, neither of those has ever been my primary source of financial income. I’ve always wanted to be on staff in a church where I could spend most of my time teaching. On the other hand, I’d also like travel to different churches and conferences and share my thoughts about God and His Word. Instead, with the exception of a brief six-month stint on a church staff, I’ve spent most of my working career in the building trades in one form or another. This brings me to the Parable of the Talents.
I can’t help but wonder if I’ve buried my talents. Although I keep comparing myself with Abraham and Joseph, who spent years waiting for God to fulfill His promises, I think it is only honest to wonder if my own pride and sin has kept my dream from being fulfilled. Perhaps this is why I spend so much time writing. I’m hopeful that one day someone will uncover the talent God has given me and I’ll be able to double His investment. Until then, I keep writing in almost total anonymity.
My ultimate dream is to “burn out” for Christ. If could chose my death, it would be right in the middle of a sermon, with two unfinished books in my computer and a pile of teachings in a folder nobody has heard. Then I would feel like I’ve given my all to God and truly invested the talents He has given me.
I’m not afraid of trying and failing. I am afraid of never trying. While talking to my college roommate about transparency in the pulpit, he wrote me some stirring words that I’ve been pondering ever since.
One of the reasons that grace had to be unlimited is because sin is unlimited. Even a person who lives his whole life in a closet sins grievously. Just look at the parable of the talents. I wish Jesus had included a guy in his story who just blew it all. That would have been me. “I tried Master, really I did. I saw a couple of business opportunities that I thought would work, but they just wouldn’t go. So, here are all the debts I compiled in your name. Some of these you will want to pay pretty quickly as the lenders are the shady sort who might have a whack at your kneecaps if they don’t get paid.” But no, Jesus presented the only failure as the guy who never tried.
I don’t mind appearing before the Judgment Seat of Christ with a long list of my failures. What bothers me is appearing before God with a short list of the things I was too afraid to attempt. Failure in life is not an option. However, failing to try is.