What is our
return on investment?
His master said to him in reply, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant and gather where I did not scatter? Should you not then have put my money in the bank so that I could have got it back with interest on my return? Now then! Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten. For to everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.
So a person walks up to one of us and gives us a bunch of money and says, go do something with it. Now let’s add to the scenario – this individual is someone we know and we know they can be really demanding. What do we do?
None of us may believe we are particularly shrewd or great investors. We may have worked for others all our lives, or we worked in the home. We have never run a business. What do we do?
Let’s add one more fact to this scene – the money this individual gives us is incredible – literally more than we could make in a lifetime. What would we do?
This is the situation Jesus was describing. A talent, as a unit of money, was the largest unit of currency at the time. Some calculate the talent in the parables to be equivalent to 20 years of wages for the common worker. Today, in New York, this would represent twenty times $63,000, which is average yearly wage paid in our state. One talent would be worth $1.3 million. If we had ten, we would have $13 million. What would we do?
God has invested richly in us, a value we cannot calculate or even estimate. He invested His life, suffering, and death for our salvation. He paid more than any money could measure and says to us: ‘Here is my investment in you, go do something with it.’ He also told us that He is coming back to see what we have done with His investment in us.
Certainly the servants who doubled the investment were welcomed. They received even more because they were profitable (a 100% return isn’t bad). The servant with ten talents came back with twenty (that’s $26 million to us). But, was it enough? Christians are called to measure their return on investment by Jesus’ standards.
Certainty, the servant who receives all of Jesus’ treasure and buries Him in the ground, ignoring Him and who returns nothing, is unprofitable, distanced from Jesus by his or her own choices and decisions.
For the rest of us, who are faithful and profitable, let us consider what we can do to up our return on investment. Can we return 200%, 300%, or more? It isn’t even hard – bringing a friend to church. 1 friend = a 100% return. That is worth eternity for both of you.