October 29, 2021

Matthew 25:28-30 ‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
Decades ago, I was at a weekend workshop focused on leadership and personal growth. For a full four days, we were paired with a partner we did everything with. Frankly, I wasn’t thrilled with my partner. He was nice enough, but was slow to grasp some of the concepts and I felt like I was doing the lion’s share of the work. Towards the end of day four I had the painful realization that I had missed one of the main points of the weekend. I was so focused on accomplishing the tasks and learning the material, I had failed to see that how I was interacting with my partner was the primary lesson. All of the activities and challenges were simply ways to force us to interact, learn, and grow.  When I turned to my right to apologize to my partner, he was gone. At some point he’d had enough of my condescending attitude, and walked away. This, after he had been literally by my side for 3 and ¾ days. I had squandered my chance to learn, and by the time I realized it, my partner had bailed and the weekend was almost over.
In the closing verses of this parable, Jesus is talking about squandered opportunity, not bank account balances. I, like the worthless servant, had been given the tremendous gift of a caring and patient partner. I ignored and belittled him under the false assumption that I was the smartest person in the room. At the end of the weekend, the gift of his relationship was taken from me, not out of spite, but because I had wasted every opportunity offered. I was living the lesson “a man reaps what he sows.”
Are you squandering an opportunity God has given you? Are you burying a resource out of fear or fatigue? Jesus warns that those good things will be taken from you, not because Jeff Bezos deserves them more, but because you are treating them with disrespect and disdain. In my case, I didn’t gnash my teeth, but I did find my partner and apologize with tears. I’ll never forget how he hugged me and told me how glad he was that I finally understood what he had been trying to communicate all weekend. Thankfully, the same opportunity is there for you. Find an area where you haven’t treated a gift in your life with the respect it deserves. Maybe it’s your spouse, your job, your bank account, or your time. Take steps today to change the way you think and act about that gift. God’s promise is to multiply the blessings we use for his kingdom and glory.
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