Jesus told a story about a lord who would be going away for a while and who left three servants in charge of certain amounts of money in his absence. Two of the men took the money in their charge and put it to use, gaining even more. One man though, was afraid of losing what his master had left in his charge and hid the money to protect it until his lord’s return.
When the lord returned from his journey, the first two men brought the lord’s money to him, along with what they had gained in addition. The lord was pleased with the men and rewarded them. When the third man came, he could bring only the original amount the lord had left with him. Instead of being pleased, though the lord reprimanded the servant for his fear and for not even being diligent enough to at least put the money in the bank where it might have gained a little interest. He took what little he had then and gave it to one of the other, more diligent servants.
So what does this have to do with selfishness? The short answer: everything! In the words of the intrepid Inigo Montoya, “Let me explain.” You see, the third servant really wasn’t protecting his master’s money. In fact, he wasn’t thinking of the master at all–he was thinking only of himself, and himself was what he was protecting. Not himself in his best possible way either–only himself in the smallest way. Fear, when handed the reigns to our lives, tends to do that to a person. It makes us smaller. Smallish people then tend to live smallish lives.
For the short life of this blog I have been encouraging others to live out their lives in passion and compassion. To live in the moments we are given, unshackled from the ghosts of the past and worries of the future. The currency that has been given to us to steward for a while isn’t money, but life itself. Will we live in our smallest selves–fearfully hiding the treasure we possess? Or will we flesh our lives out, with gusto, adding to the life we have been given, enlarging it, reaching for everything God has intended it to be?
It isn’t selfish to live out the passions the Maker has laid on our hearts, balanced with compassion for those we share this amazing world with. It isn’t selfish to live in the moment, because the only moment we ever truly have is the present one. It isn’t selfish at all. It’s LIFE. It’s abundance. It’s true thankfulness–the thankfulness of making use of a gift rather than tucking it away. It’s glory.
But you know what IS selfish? To refuse to do those things. To hide. To fear. To protect our smallest selves instead of risking them in living out the lives we have been given. That was the mistake of the third servant in Jesus’ story. Too often it has been mine. I pray it will be mine no longer.