I’ve been living scared most of my life. Somewhere along the way, I embraced the mentality of more. And without even realizing it, I allowed this more-different-better mindset to dictate my theology.
A recent blog post brought this to my attention as the author mused how many of us, “operate out of a mentality of scarcity, rather than abundance.” Scarcity. The word stuck in my brain and refused to leave.
Little wonder I stumbled upon Jesus’ discourse on the subject just a few days later. In Matthew 25 Jesus compares his kingdom to common rituals of his day—virgins waiting for their bridegroom and servants investing their master’s money. His audience knew exactly what he was talking about when he urged his hearers not to miss the marriage feast or mishandle his kingdom.
But somehow I’ve misunderstood his message. I assumed that talents, a currency of the day, translated to modern ability. Within this framework, the Parable of the Talents fit perfectly with my skewed mindset. If I invest the talents—time, abilities, gifts—God entrusts to me, he’ll give me more.
There’s only one problem. Jesus refuses to go that easy on us. He describes the lazy servant—the one who mishandled his master’s talent by burying it instead of investing it—as an unbeliever. And he compares the good and faithful servants to those who inherit his kingdom and receive his rewards.
Ultimately the wicked and lazy servant mishandled his master’s money because he misunderstood his master. So he says on judgment day, “Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours” (Matthew 25:24).
Note the contrast. Two servants invested the master’s money and made more. The other feared, hoarded, and hid. What made the difference? A relationship rooted in trust.
Some days I live like the lazy servant. I’m afraid of running out of time, money, or energy. And so I hoard and hide. In so doing, I betray a fundamental misunderstanding of my Master. My lack of faith reveals my fear that God might not be as good and generous as he promises. And so I act from scarcity.
But what if I viewed life through God’s endless supply? What would happen if we view income as an opportunity to invest in God’s kingdom? What if you and I leveraged our everyday opportunities in the check-out line, at a soccer game, around the dinner table?
I’d stop making mental to-do lists and truly listen to my frustrated friend. I’d quit compulsively saving for that new pair of shoes and buy school supplies for that child who can’t afford them. I’d give up my late-night worrying, and allow myself enough sleep.
More than anything, I’d live like I possess enough. If I took Jesus as his word, I’d act from his adequate supply and find the full life he promises to everyone who invests in his kingdom. Will you join me?