This Week’s Focus: God’s ROI
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This is a very curious gospel to contemplate against a backdrop of financial turmoil and spreading protests. The master has split his portfolio among his servants and he expects a good return on investment (ROI.) On average, the performance is outstanding. But this master isn’t playing the percentages. And neither is ours.God has a tremendous investment in each of us. He created the universe for our amazement. He raised us from the primal ooze for his glory. He gave us the life, death and resurrection of Jesus for our salvation. No hedging. No shorting. God is “all-in” on you and me. He doesn’t look on us as numbers to be crunched and cost averaged. Each one of us is unique. Each one of us is his beloved. At our baptism, each of us was entrusted with his divine saving grace – the “talent” of the parable.
God expects us to take and use this grace to build his kingdom. God did not play it safe with us. He wants us “all-in” for him. That means daring to take risks for God, the more radical the better. As St. Paul puts it, we must be willing for the world to see us as: fools for Christ’s sake. That means loving when the smart money says hold back. That means giving when it hurts and forgiving when it hurts even more.
The faithful servants took risks. They made themselves vulnerable. But they had faith in their master. They put the talents he gave them to work. They knew “no risk, no reward.” Our master expects his faithful servants to make ourselves vulnerable for his sake. He does not expect us to play it safe – hoarding his grace, burying his love in a cache of selfishness. Christ did not endure Calvary to lead a host of cowards too afraid to proclaim his love, too timid to build his kingdom.
C.S. Lewis captured the crippling nature of fearing to love: “To love at all is to be vulnerable. The alternative… is damnation. The only place outside of Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the perturbations of love is Hell.”
Let’s take a moment to get in touch with God’s grace within us. Dig deep. Have we buried it beneath layers of self-absorption? Are we taking it for granted, treating it like our private insurance policy on salvation, filing it and forgetting it? God expects a much better ROI than that. Each one of us is called to greatness. He gives it to us in grace. Give it back to him with interest. Build his kingdom. Starting with family and friends, share his love fearlessly with everyone you meet.
Faithfully yours in Christ’s love,
ESUS MAFA. Parable of the Three Servants, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=48297 [retrieved November 7, 2011].