A Scotsman, Jock McTavish was a very careful with his money. Once he took all his money out of the bank for a holiday. After it rested in his pocket for a week he put it all back. Jock McTavish was very prudent indeed, once he got down on his knees to propose to his girlfriend when a 50 cent piece dropped from his pocket and rolled under the sofa. In the twenty minutes it took him to find it, she had lost interest.
If Jock McTavish thought he was wise about investing money, he was wrong. Hiding money away in a cupboard will never bring great riches. To lose a wonderful relationship with his girlfriend for the sake of 50 cents, will never make him rich…in money terms and in relational terms.
I have some money here. I will give you some of it to hold and feel. As you hold it, I want you to imagine how you might invest the money to bring more wealth. Would you be someone like Jock McTavish and hide the money away or guard it with such passion that you lose many friends? Or will you be like a wise investor, someone prepared to make the money work for them?
Hold the money and imagine what lengths you might have to go to in order to get a great return. Imagine the people you would need to see. How many different investors you would speak with. Imagine the places you would visit and how well you would make yourself known in the financial industry in order to get the best deal.
Hold the money and imagine what a privilege and honour it would be to be given such a great responsibility of investing someone else’s wealth. And how great it is that they have entrusted you with doing whatever you think is right. Wow!
Jesus, when he was speaking to the believers said ‘the kingdom of God is like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey.’ In the same way as this parable, the money you have in your hands, is symbolic to holding the treasures of the kingdom of God that you have been given.
You and I, as believers in Jesus have been given every treasure of heaven; All that makes the kingdom of God until Jesus’ return; you have, in Christ Jesus, been given the treasures of his mercies, grace, forgiveness of sins and eternal life. You and I are rich in God’s treasure, as St Paul says ‘Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich!’
You and I have been entrusted with God’s wealth until Christ’s return and we are free to handle God’s wealth in whatever way we seem appropriate. We can invest his wealth or we can hide it. We can be reckless with it or we can be reverent.
That sounds just too great a responsibility to be true, too great an honour to be given to people like us, to a church as small as us. Yet hear the words of Jesus again ‘the kingdom of God is like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them’. And St Paul also states ‘In Christ Jesus we have all the riches of God’s grace that he has lavished on us all’
Every one of us who are baptised and believe in Jesus, have personally been entrusted with and lavished with the wealth of God’s kingdom. And as members of St Mark’s (St John’s) we have been given the treasure of Jesus’ words and the treasures of his sacraments which bring grace and forgiveness, to invest in those around us; we are investors for God’s kingdom.
Imagine, as in the parable, the money you have in your hands represents all the riches of God’s kingdom, his word and his sacraments, given to you until Christ’s return. Note how not every one of us has been given the same amount, not everyone has been given the same abilities and gifts to invest his riches. Each one of us is a unique investor of God’s wealth.
Some of us may only have a little to invest. Some of us have a great amount. Yet each of us is equally important before God; each of us are significant investors for God, because it is his wealth we are investing.
As you hold God’s treasure, think how might you invest it? Should we be like Jock McTavish and guard this treasure and let no one know about it? Should we hide it in our church and only take out once or twice a year for a holiday, at Christmas and Easter? Or for the sake of keeping right doctrine, should we break off a relationship with someone who wants to Jesus, because we fear they might misuse or not rightly understand these riches?
Hold God’s treasures in your hand and ask yourself, ‘can I afford to risk this treasure by investing it in someone?’ ‘Can I afford not to?’ Do I play it safe as in the past practices of the church and hide it away like the third servant did, or do I just go and invest like the first two servants in the parable?
The good news is, this question is not ours to ask. Jesus has not given us rules about how to invest or who to invest his riches with. He has not demanded a doubling or tripling of his treasure. He hasn’t even asked that we be careful about how we handle his treasures. The good news is that we are free to just go and invest, even the littlest amount, wherever God has put us in our daily life, to even be reckless and take risks, because God himself is reckless with his grace.
God has never withheld his mercies from sinners ‘for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.“, God was so reckless with his treasure in order to bring salvation to us, that it cost him the death of his Son. ‘He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?’
Yes, we have been given all things, faith, life and salvation because God was reckless with his treasure and did not keep it to himself. As the third servant’s words confess ‘God is a hard man, harvesting where he has not sown and gathering where he has not scattered seed.’
If God is a hard investor, harvesting and gathering rewards from where he has not scattered, without fear or favour, investing recklessly, what do we have to worry about! With a king like that, we have nothing to fear when we invest his treasure, whether large or small.
Like a money investor who is always on the lookout for investment opportunities, as we go about out daily life, at work or among friends, always be ready to invest some of God’s treasure into the lives of people we meet. Every time you handle some money this week, hold it in your hand for a moment and remember the treasures you have been given in Christ Jesus.
Begin to imagine the lengths you might go to, in order to get a great return for God. Imagine the people you might see, how many different opportunities for investment you’ll have. Imagine the places you could visit and how well you would make yourself known in order to get the best deal for God.
Don’t worry whether it is the right time or place, the right person or investment opportunity, God will harvest even where he doesn’t sow and he will not hold you accountable for losses. For the only loss he is concerned for are those who are lost to the devil, as St Paul says ‘God our Saviour wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.’ Amen