What would you risk to follow Jesus? Today, as we explore the scripture reading from Matthew 25: 14-30, that is the question that Jesus is posing? Near the end of his life, Jesus tells this parable of a wealthy man who is going on a journey. Before he goes, he gives a large sum of money to three slaves. The two slaves that received the most amount of money invested their money and doubled it. But the slave he gave the least amount too, buried the money to keep it safe until his master returned. When the master returned, he praised the two slaves who doubled their money and promised to give them even more responsibility. But when the third slave returned his money to him, he scolded him and threw him out.
Once again, this story can be confusing to us modern day readers. The slave who buried the money out of fear was not a bad man. He was prudent but this parable really isn’t about money or accumulating wealth. It’s about investing; it’s about taking risk; it’s about Jesus hopes and expectations about what his followers will do after he is gone. It’s about what we are willing to risk in order to be faithful disciples of Jesus Christ.
Perhaps that’s an odd concept for us who live in the United States. Being a Christian in this country seems be a pretty low risk venture. We understand our faith to be a personal journey. Faith is about living a good life here on earth so that we can have a good life in the hereafter. But in this parable, Jesus reminds his followers including us that following him is not about playing it safe, it’s about risking everything. It is about caring so deeply and passionately that we are willing to give our hearts away and in the process risk it all.
Remember the song “What I did for Love?” “Kiss the day goodbye; the sweetness and the sorrow; wish me luck the same to you; but I can’t regret what I did for love, what I did for love.” According to Jesus the bigger regret, the biggest risk is playing it safe, not loving, not caring, not rejoicing, not living up to our full potential as human beings, our full potential as followers of the Way. Jesus spent his life showing us the Way. Jesus risked his life showing us the Way. Taking it for granted, not living life deeply and loving others profoundly is a sin. According to Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “the sin of respectable people is running from responsibility.”
“Jesus invites us to be his disciples, to live our lives as fully as possible by investing them, by risking, by expanding the horizons of our responsibility.”(Buchanan). Would you be willing to invest your life by loving others so deeply, by caring for others so genuinely that you could lose it all? That’s the invitation that Jesus is extending to us in this parable. That’s the faith journey that Jesus has planned for us as we follow him on the Way. Let me ask again, what would you risk to follow Jesus?