God is a shrewd investor. As a vinedresser, He expects each branch to bear fruit (John 15:8). He prunes branches that produce little to enable them to grow more (John 15:2). He casts away fruitless branches.
Likewise, Jesus compared the kingdom of heaven to a businessman who left on a long journey after entrusting five talents to one servant, two to another, and one to a third. When he returned from his trip, he immediately called his servants for an accounting. The owner praised and rewarded those who doubled what he had given them, but he unleashed calamity on the servant who buried his talent in the ground (Matt. 25:14-30). The master declared: “You wicked and lazy servant” (Matt. 25:26). Note that the master linked laziness with wickedness. To remain as we are is lazy and, thus, wicked.
An oft-stated Christian maxim states, “God loves you just the way you are.” True, God loves us regardless of our current condition. But He spent an enormous price at Calvary so we would not remain as we are. He was determined to change us at all cost.
The natural order of nature is to grow and produce fruit. Scientists speculate that the universe itself is expanding. To remain unchanged is to dishonor our Creator.
We must regularly take inventory of what God has entrusted to us. Have we increased His investment? The faithful servants doubled what they had been given. At a minimum, the master declared, servants ought to earn a small amount of interest on what they have received. God expects the same of us.
Discerning growth and fruitfulness in certain areas of our life is easy. Perhaps we advanced in our career or gained a new skill. But God, as a shrewd investor, expects to see growth in every area of our life. For example, perhaps we struggle to read. Nevertheless, audiobooks are available and summaries of great books are only one click away. We might not become voracious readers, but we can use the available resources to earn at least modest interest on what God has given us.
We might have limited time, but God expects us to offer our bodies to Him as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1-2). We may not be able to go on extensive international mission trips or serve each week at a local homeless shelter, but we can surely do something with the scant time we have available. We ought never to dismiss God’s command to produce fruit as impossible. We might not have been entrusted with five talents, but we can use what we have to earn interest for our Master.
The wicked servant explained that he was afraid (Matt. 25:25). Fear is a pitiless thief that robs us of fruitfulness. It prevents us from seizing opportunities. It leads us to rationalize our faithlessness. In this passage, Jesus clearly declares that fear is not an acceptable excuse for barrenness.
Perhaps you have lulled yourself into apathy by believing God is pleased with you just the way you are. If you have, you are misguided. God does indeed love you. And that is precisely why He insists that you grow.
Enough with excuses! If you don’t know what to do, ask God how you might multiply His investment. You might be surprised by the number of possibilities He envisions for you. But even if you cannot imagine any large way you can advance God’s kingdom, remember that, at the very least, you can invest what God has given you and earn it back with a little interest.