Five Bags of Silver

For me, the following is one of the most motivating stories Jesus ever told:

14 “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. He called together his servants and entrusted his money to them while he was gone. 15 He gave five bags of silver to one, two bags of silver to another, and one bag of silver to the last—dividing it in proportion to their abilities. He then left on his trip.

16 “The servant who received the five bags of silver began to invest the money and earned five more. 17 The servant with two bags of silver also went to work and earned two more. 18 But the servant who received the one bag of silver dug a hole in the ground and hid the master’s money.

19 “After a long time their master returned from his trip and called them to give an account of how they had used his money. 20 The servant to whom he had entrusted the five bags of silver came forward with five more and said, ‘Master, you gave me five bags of silver to invest, and I have earned five more.’

21 “The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’

22 “The servant who had received the two bags of silver came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two bags of silver to invest, and I have earned two more.’

23 “The master said, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’

24 “Then the servant with the one bag of silver came and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. 25 I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.’

26 “But the master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy servant! If you knew I harvested crops I didn’t plant and gathered crops I didn’t cultivate, 27 why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.’

28 “Then he ordered, ‘Take the money from this servant, and give it to the one with the ten bags of silver. 29 To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.
— Matthew 25:14-29 NLT

Let's simplify:

  • One master entrusted three servants with various amounts silver. 
  • Two did what they could to use it to bring good to their master, and they were rewarded for it. 
  • One did nothing.  He was sharply criticized and was no longer trusted with anything.

I think this story so accurately describes our choice, when it comes to honoring God with what he's given us.  This includes our talents and skills, our dreams, our worldly possessions, our time, and our love.  

It's obvious from the story that God honors those who use their "bags of silver" to honor Him.  

However, the part that I love most is verse 21: "You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you more responsibilities."

Wow.  That statement makes my heart smile.  I'll explain why.

In college there have been so many times I've been tempted to throw up my hands and claim I have nothing else to give.  Sometimes I felt this way with money.  Sometimes I felt this way in rodeo, when the end of the success drought was no where in sight.  Sometimes it was with spoiled friendships.  Sometimes it was in my lack of self esteem and purpose.  

But in all of it, I felt like I was doing just good enough to get by, but I had no more left for God.  The last thing I needed was more responsibilities.

At some point in this mess I began to understand it was true that Micayla working for Micayla had her limits.  But Micayla working for God found fresh strength, surprising success, and new opportunities. 

Although, I had few material things to give, I had more than enough love, compassion, and time to use on behalf of my Master.  When I became faithful with this small amount, I began noticing positive changes in my life.  

Things started falling into place.  My mind began to open up and my world looked less like a losing lottery ticket and more like a challenge, waiting to be accepted. 

I believe that by accepting the challenge of using what we have right now to serve and grow, our efforts will be blessed allowing us to glorify God and lead others to His love in bigger ways than we ever could by ourselves.  

And my favorite part of my favorite part is this: It is possible to grow the silver we have to work with.  We are not restricted to what we are born with.  God expects us to invest the time, money, and skills we have in ways that make us more equipped to serve him.

We can develop our minds, our people skills, our habits, our money, our time... the list goes on. 

How many more people can we help and share the love of God with if we develop ourselves so that we have 5 bags of silver to work with?  Not to spend lavishly on ourselves, but to honor God with. 

That's not to say that God is more proud of those with 5 bags than those with 2.  The master in the story responded exactly the same way to the servants who did their best, no matter what they started with. 

But the amazing thing is, if we truly do our best, our bags of silver will grow.  If we use 1 skill to develop another, now we have 2.  Then we can use those 2 to grow more.  

This great quote from  Where the Red Fern Grows  reminds me of God's power and how he blesses those that do their part to reach their goals and honor Him.

This great quote from Where the Red Fern Grows reminds me of God's power and how he blesses those that do their part to reach their goals and honor Him.

It may feel like such growth is unrealistic or even impossible, but that's where God comes in.  If we do our very best and give the results to God, we can trust God to do the rest.  Not necessarily give us worldly riches, but to lead us to an abundant life and give us what we need to serve His purpose.

I don't know about you, but this truth gives me peace in a time of unrest.  It gives me hope for more in a time of little.  

I don't know about you, but I want to live each day to the best of my abilities so that I can have all the bags of silver I can to work with.  Especially if it leads to an abundant life, having a positive impact on others, and eventually a great celebration with my Master. 

 

Wishing you the courage and faith it takes to meet God halfway with your bags of silver,

M