There is an old story about a rich man who invested in three individuals, giving about $5 million to one, $2 million to another, and $1 million to the third. He went away on a journey, expecting to find, when he was to come home again, that they had stewarded his investments and made a good return. Upon his arrival, he discovered that the first two had doubled his investment, while the third simply buried it for safekeeping. The first two, he praised; the third, he denounced as lazy, even evil.
This story, told by Jesus, is not about money, and it's about far more than I will write here. Nevertheless, perhaps a question behind the story can be stated this way:
What will you do with the life you have been given?
It's easy for me to ask myself this question and feel an immense burden to do something meaningful and lasting and great, in essence paralyzing myself into inaction - afraid to mess up and consequently doing nothing at all. I have a tendency like that third individual, to put my gifts in the bank and wait.
Bu what if the question is not a burden, but an invitation? In the story I mention, we see great wrath come upon the lazy man for his inaction. That cannot be taken lightly. At the same time, what if God asks of us "What will you do with this life I've given to you?" with something of a grin and a gleam in His eye and an outstretched hand? In the midst of whatever uncertainty or self-doubt or difficulty - will you do the wonderful and difficult work of bringing light into a dark place? Of leaving the world a better place than you found it?
Will you keep going when you fall, when life's disappointments threaten to overwhelm? Will you wake up and take another risk? Will you, like Jeremy Cowart has done, replace the word impossible with I'm possible? What dividends will come through your perseverance in whatever situation comes to your mind as you read this?
I've got things in that bank vault that need to see daylight. I need to learn to begin each day with this thought - today I have the chance and the choice to invest in hope. Today I can responsibly invest the gifts I've been given.