This week’s Gospel lesson, Matthew 25:14-30, recounts the parable of the talents. The master entrusts his economic portfolio to three employees while he is away. To one, he gives five talents, to another two, and to another one—each according to his ability. You recall that the first two were industrious and doubled what had been given them. The third, however, fearing failure—and fearing the disapproval of the master even more—hid his one talent in the ground. When it was time for accounting for his fiscal management, he returned the sole talent with bitter assessment of his master’s business practices.
I have often wondered what if the servant had invested the talent and lost it, would the master have been so outraged? Somehow, I think not. It was the fear of loss that paralyzed him; it was his self-protective behavior that ultimately destroyed his usefulness to his household.
Risk is a part of investing wisely, whether in financial or spiritual matters. We shrink from the places of risk, especially when economic challenges burgeon. Part of my responsibility as president is to ask persons regularly to invest in the future of the church by giving to Central. I seek to assure donors that we will honor their intent as we seek to be good stewards of their resources, yet it is not without risk. I cannot think of a risk I would rather take. I am grateful that so many of you join me in this.