NOT WITHOUT VISION
by Craig Sweeney
Read: Matthew 25:14-30
The parable of the three servants is a remarkable story illustrating just how seriously God considers our lives. The parable is pointed. It’s meant to shake us to the core. It’s meant to affirm our way of life, to stir our hearts and sting our conscience. I need my conscience stung… to stop me in my tracks… I need my right choices affirmed so I will keep doing them… I need my heart stirred to motivate. It’s from this place that the process of vision is best done.
The parable reveals a common reality. We are a people have been given much or little, but we have been given something. It doesn’t matter how much we have been given, the expectation from the Father is the same – do something of significance with what has been put in your hands…try! If we are honest, we have to acknowledge that many people “bury” what they have been entrusted with. The parable is meant to sting, affirm and stir so that we will begin the tasks of “investing” and “working” with a clear vision in mind.
The “lazy” servant had a vision problem. Either he was too scared to fail or just too complacent and “lazy” to do something of significance. Notably, from the parable, God is not impressed or moved with compassion for either of these excuses for a life “buried.” He is, however exhilarated to reward the one who works hard or “invests” what he/she had been given.
The hearers of this parable were shaken, as they were no doubt forced to contemplate what had been placed in their hands by God Himself. When we understand that God has put something of great value in our hands, in order to produce something even greater… we are compelled to think differently about our lives. Some will “bury” their lives even still, but others will get to work, investing here and there for the purpose of making the most of what God has entrusted to them.
For the ones who seek to do something with the little or much they have entrusted with, vision of what could-be, is what will drive them. Vision of what could-be is what drives us to risk taking steps in the name of Jesus to affect the lives of others for eternity. The parable did not condemn the “lazy” servant for trying and failing, he was condemned for doing nothing but “burying” what had been given to him for investment.
Imagining what could-be begins with identifying the needs. Once I identify the needs I am free to imagine how the needs can be met. This then, compels me to ask, “what CAN I do?” Once I know what I CAN do… I’m ready to risk…the investment.
As we step into a new season at Bayside church in Citrus Heights, we are asked to imagine what could-be, weigh our options, ask what CAN I do? AND, begin praying about the investment I will risk making on behalf of God. All that we have is His, entrusted to us for a purpose. Part of that purpose… is to invest on His behalf. Make no mistake, God is going to continue working on the hearts of people in our community and drawing men, women, teens, boys and girls to Himself. The question for all of us is whether we will be the servant who joins Him by “investing” or will we “bury” what’s in our hands?
God’s church and His mission will move forward but not without – vision. What do you see?
Questions to think through:
Day 1: Which of the three servants do I most identify with? What do I base my decision on? If I could relive the past, would I have invested differently? What would I have done?
Day 2: Based on the the needs we have identified for the church and our mission, which of the needs do I feel compelled to help with? Why?
Day 3: What CAN I do? Based on what God has entrusted to me, what CAN I invest, on His behalf? Begin praying about what He would have you do.