24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
Perhaps one of the greatest tragedies in the Christian life is that most Christians never experience their full potential as ministers of the gospel of Christ. I mean, think about it. If Christians really believe that the gospel has the power to change the world and the lives in it, wouldn’t they be shouting it from the rooftops? In that same token, if they really believed the reality of what the Bible says is the fate of those who don’t trust in Christ, we would be banging down our neighbor’s doors. There is a problem in the lives of most Christian’s though… this isn’t happening. Oh, we understand and believe the gospel, but we don’t generally take the work of the gospel seriously, or we pawn off our responsibility on “professionals” who are more articulate or well-spoken than us.
This problem doesn’t come from the fact that we are ignorant or unbelieving in the gospel. This would be an easy problem to overcome. Unfortunately, the problem is a bit deeper than that. At the head of it stands a thing which often accompanies most of our deepest failures as humans. The heart of the problem is fear. Just like the servant in Jesus’ parable, we are often paralyzed by fear. This fear is borne of the idea that we are not good enough, or well-spoken enough, or competent enough to do the job that God has given us. The startling truth is that we are not good enough for the message we share. That’s kind of the whole point. The message of the gospel is made perfect in imperfection, because it’s all about Christ overcoming the problem of sin in our lives.
If we come to the gospel message, and we are so paralyzed by our own fear that we are useless in the work of the gospel, not only will we be disobedient to our master, but the harvest of souls that we could have been a part of bringing to God will be taken and given to someone else who was faithful. Jesus reserves a harsh critique for the servant that buried his treasure because He was afraid. This should, at the very least, cause us to do a double take. Are we faithfully sowing the seeds of the gospel, or are we taking the message of hope to the world and burying it in the sand because we are too afraid to share it. What will our master say to us when He returns?