“All of us ought to have some kind of cause, some kind of purpose in our lives that’s bigger than our own individual hopes, dreams, wants and desires.” — Coach Joe Ehrmann

Matthew 25:14-30
Luke 12:13-21
Luke 12:29-31

Jesus tells a parable about people and what they’ve received. Some Wall Street aficionados might tout this as Jesus’ endorsement for capitalism, but we can safely assume the waters run more deeply than financial theory.

A wealthy man had given three of his brokers three different sums of money to manage. Time passes and he returns, asking each man for an accounting of his investments.

“How have you managed what I gave you?”

How indeed?  He could ask this of me. I have money, and though not much by Western standards, it is a great deal compared to the other 99% of the world. On what have I spent it? How have I used it? Did I squander it on myself? Have I hoarded it? How much has gone to or for others?

If we think on this parable, we begin to see the thought Jesus is pressing: what you hold doesn’t have your name on it. Someone else’s name is on it. You merely handle it. You are a steward, sort of like the crazy guy in “The Return of the King”. The throne, while you keep it warm, belongs to someone else.

So I am a steward? The implications of stewardship begin to percolate into my life. God owns everything. Does that include my time, money’s fraternal twin? Does His ownership encompass my talents and abilities? And what of my relationships? Do those belong to me, or to God?

Let’s go back to the parable, though. The wealthy man in that parable expects all profits. Granted, the original story included a master and servants, not financier and some fund managers. This guy’s proposal included no commissions or fees. One of the servant-brokers even brings this up: these guys bust tail and beat feet to make him the profit.

But the master rewards each in proportion to his handling of the resources received. And the one who complained? His plaintive nature only echoed his deeper nature: laziness and selfishness. He couldn’t and wouldn’t think of benefiting another, even one whose authority superseded his.

Life lived for self makes for a small story, or one not even worth telling. A life lived for another makes for romance.  A life lived for many others can be epic. And life lived for Jesus wins the applause of the great teacher himself. 

What value and fulfillment exist in working and living for yourself and your name?
What are you doing for another with what you have?
For whom are you making a profit?


© 2006