Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Fresh Look at Faithfulness

I was reading Matthew 25:14-30 this morning...the Parable of the Talents as it is often called. It's ultimately a parable about "faithfulness," right? Just like the Parable of the Prodigal Son is all about a young man who squandered his life in loose living, right?

Well, actually, the Parable of the Prodigal Son is more about a Father's love for younger and older prodigal sons. But I digress...sort of...

The Parable of the it REALLY about "faithfulness?" Or, perhaps, is it ultimately about the FOUNDATION or SPRINGBOARD of all faithfulness?...A gracious Father!

The only steward in the story who is "unfaithful" or, more accurately perhaps, "unfruitful," is the one who expressly reveals that he saw his master as a "hard man" (ESV) or, as we read in The Message, a master who makes "no allowances for error." What is revealed in the parable, then, is that people who have a view of God as stern or harsh are often paralyzed by fear. Again, The Message: "I was afraid I might disappoint you."

If we have a view of God as stern or harsh, we will opt for safe, cautious living. Such a view of God leads to risk-averse lives. Such a view of the Father leads people to "play to not lose, rather than aggressively playing to win."

I saw one of the gutsiest coaching calls in years the other night during the Michigan State/Notre Dame football game. It was in OT and Michigan State needed a field goal to tie the game and go into a second overtime period. Amazingly, the coach called a fake field goal and the holder, an ex-quarterback, threw the ball down the field. It was a relatively high-risk had to be a strike, right on the money. It was. And the Michigan State player caught it for a touchdown...and a win! Wow! What a way to live!

I have no clue about the spiritual state of Coach Dantonio, but he certainly isn't risk-averse! But for believers in Christ, it is those who know God as the Father of love, mercy, goodness, patience, kindness and grace that are most free to "roll the dice," to "go out on a limb," to live lives of "holy recklessness."

Those are sad words for me to write...because I'm so often a man who tends to play it safe...who is fairly risk-averse...a guy who is often quite afraid of making mistakes and of failure. Wonder what that tells me about my view of God?

Hmmm, and I used to think the point of the Parable of the Talents was: "You'd better be faithful!"

Guess I need a fresh look at faithfulness. How about you?

No comments: