“The only place, outside of Heaven, where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.” C. S. Lewis
Does God want us to play it safe?
Jesus said, “Unless you lose your life – you’ll never find it.”
In Luke 19, Jesus tells a story: “A nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and then return.” This man calls ten of his servants, gives them all the same amount, one mina (about three months wages) and says, “Engage in business until I come.”
That’s interesting, because, like the mina that the nobleman gives his servants, Jesus gives each of us the exact same thing, and that’s His Life.
The story continues:
… When he returned, having received the kingdom, he learns of those who have invested and the returns gained, and he gives them more authority. Doesn’t it strike you as interesting, though, that there’s no servant in the story that invests and gets no return? Yet in life, there are people that give everything and seem to lose everything.
There are disciples, like Jesus’ disciples, who give everything and end up poor and chained in stocks in prison cells or fed to the lions. There are people that love with all they’ve got, and end up betrayed, beaten and crucified, naked on a tree.
But Jesus seems to say, “There are no stewards who invest what I have given them and get no return. Like, “If you lose your life, for my sake,” said Jesus, “you will find it.”
But maybe it’s not really your life, but Christ’s life.
He said, “I AM the Life.” He, Himself is the King’s Mina (that you have been told to invest.) He is the Word.
And the “Word will not return void” Even if there comes a point where He is betrayed, beaten, crucified naked on a Tree. Even if He looks like the worst steward that ever lived. In order to be the good steward that Jesus is talking about, there must come a point when, like Him, you look like a terrible steward.
There is a moment in which the steward has to hand over his “Mina” and have nothing. So, if you find yourself in that spot now, or in that spot in the future, it doesn’t mean that you’re a bad steward.
But, if you NEVER find yourself in that spot, it means you ARE a bad steward. It means you never invested your “mina.” You’ve played it safe, and now you’re “safe” as Hell, like the guy who didn’t invest his “mina” in the story.
The story continues: Then another came saying, “Lord, here is your mina, which I kept laid away in a handkerchief; for I was afraid of you because you are a severe man. You take what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.”
Ask yourself: What could God “reap” that He did not first “sow?” What could the Creator “take” that He did not first “deposit?” Well nothing, right? Yet, we all act like it’s everything. We all cry, “God, how could you take everything away from me?” But we could equally cry, “Why did you give everything to me?” Why does He give you things? He gives and takes away. Why?
The story continues and the king responds: “I will condemn you with your own words, you wicked servant! You knew that I was a severe man, taking what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow? Why then did you not put my money in the bank, and at my coming I might have collected it with interest?”
In other words, “Maybe you were afraid, but you weren’t afraid of Me. You don’t even see Me —the One who provides you with all things. Fear is the beginning of Wisdom, but I Am the end of Fear. If you truly saw me, You’d imitate me and put that mina on the table.”
Jesus continues the story: And [the king] said to those who stood by, “Take the mina from him, and give it to the one who has the ten minas.” And they said to him, “Lord, he has ten minas!” “I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. – (even what he has)“
That leaves you with nothing, alone in the outer darkness, the land of ‘the lost’ ” – it sounds like Hades.
But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me. That’s not Hades. That’s judgment in Gehenna. The word for slaughter is katasphazo, in Greek. It can also be translated, “sacrificed.”
People think Jesus came to end sacrifice, but maybe He came to get it started.
Well, it sounds like Jesus is saying:
“Sacrifice your life, (which is my life – my mina”).
“Sacrifice your life or, one day, your life will be taken.”
That’s terrifying, isn’t it?
At first glance, the Word of God is so terrifying that we think, “I better be careful with my life. I better worry about ISIS and the stock market, and Judgment Day and the coming kingdom. I better wrap my life in insurance policies, security systems, good deeds, and Play it SAFE. I’m afraid He is a severe Man and NOT infinite Love.”
So we play it safe because we don’t have faith in Grace.
But playing it safe is entirely unsafe.
And that’s the very point of the parable.
Maybe, in reality, there’s no place safer in this entire world than hanging on a cross with Jesus. He said, “Unless you lose your life – you’ll never find it.
Jesus is the King and Jesus is the Good Steward.
He reveals what good stewardship looks like:
He gives His life because He trusts that God is Good.
He gives His life and helps us give ours.
He didn’t sacrifice so none would sacrifice.
He sacrificed so all would sacrifice.
He gave His life so we’d all give His life.
YOU are HIS BODY, through which His Life flows. If you get scared of “losing your life,” and hang on to life – the Body dies, and you die like a blood clot makes a body part die
Until the Great Physician unclogs it,
Until He cuts you (katasphazo) – causes you to bleed.
But once you lose your life, you find God’s Life.
Once you surrender life, you receive more life – eternal life – an endless river of life. It’s the Life of Love and God is Love and Love is Happy.
Romans 11:36-12:1 “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen. I appeal to you, therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”
This devotional was prepared by Peter’s assistant Kimberly Weynen. To dig into these things further, click on the link to read the whole transcript and/or watch the sermon: Safe As Hell