Luke 19:20–21 (ESV): 20 Then another came, saying, ‘Lord, here is your mina, which I kept laid away in a handkerchief; 21 for I was afraid of you, because you are a severe man. You take what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’
This parable is well known. A master gives his three servants different amounts of money and instructs them to invest the money while he is gone. When he returns the first two servants have doubled the money, but the third had hidden it away, not doing anything with the money at all. The master was irate, saying that the servant could have at least invested the money in the bank and gained a little interest, but the third servant had not even done that.
There is another parable that is similar but different. In another parable, the master gave ten servants the same amount of money. We are only told how three of those servants used the money. The first two gained large amounts, one greater than the other. The third, again, hid the money away, doing nothing with it.
Sometimes, people interpret these parables to speak about spiritual gifts or even natural abilities that God gives us. Truly, a better interpretation is that the money represents opportunities of various kinds that we have to serve God.
In my limited experience and training of sales, I have seen the lesson Jesus taught in this parable come true repeatedly. Those who work hard, regardless of their ability and even of their success ratio, somehow receive more and more opportunities. Some of these opportunities and successes come through hard work. Some simply seem to drop out of the sky. Some can be traced as happy customers give referrals which bring more business.
If you aren’t spiritual, it almost feels like somehow that one is rewarded by “the universe” for being faithful, doing hard work – that somehow opportunities gravitate around those who put in the work. As a follower of Jesus, I believe God is at work behind the scenes, rewarding us as we faithfully perform our duties in the workplace, the home, and the church.
The challenge, of course, is: are we being faithful, especially in our God-given mission of making disciples who make disciples of Jesus?
Heavenly Father, in both “secular” and “spiritual” work, may I serve you faithfully. As you increase responsibilities and opportunities, may I continue to be faithful to your call. In Jesus’ name, Amen.