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Are You Living Too Cautiously?

Monday, February 27 Lent Calendar* Invite: Read a parable of Jesus: The Talents, Matthew 25:14-30.

I love stories. I love the stories I read in books, the ones that I see played out on the big screen, and the ones I hear in conversation with others. When speaking to a group of college students, Pixar animator and storyteller Matthew Luhn said, “Storytelling can educate, can entertain, but, in the end, the most important thing storytelling can do is to inspire us, to move us, to change us, to have us think differently.”

Each Monday of Lent is the invitation to read one of Jesus’ stories - often referred to as “parables.” The hope is that these parables will not just entertain or educate us, but most importantly inspire, move, and change us.

In this week’s parable, Jesus tells the story of “the talents.” Talents, in this case, isn’t singing or painting, but refers to a large sum of money. I read two different biblical translations of the story of the master giving varying sums of money (i.e. talents) to his three servants. While the master was away, the servants were to be responsible for the money. Though the NIV (New International Version) and The Message tell the same story, a slightly different word choice really struck me. In the NIV, the third servant, the one who didn’t multiply the money he was given, says, “I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground,” to which the master replies, “You wicked, lazy servant!” I struggled with the word "wicked." It seemed like such a harsh word. Is it “wicked” that the servant hid the money?

The Message, however, translates the parable a bit differently. It reads that the servant said, “I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money.” The master replies, “That’s a terrible way to live! It’s criminal to live cautiously like that!” I resonated with this wording. The phrasing spoke to a very deep place within me. It made me ponder people I don’t want to disappoint and fears that I carry. I was convicted that sometimes I live too cautiously. Is God like the master wanting us to live bigger, step out in faith, and move beyond our fears?

Today, I will prayerfully carry this parable and these questions with me. How might this parable be inspiring, moving, or changing you?

*Find the daily Lent calendar here; or for the Lent calendar more specific to Ascension Lutheran Church, go here.

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