I can blame a lack of execution on time, “I just don’t have it.” I can place blame on technology, “I just don’t understand it.” Maybe on a lack of know-how, “I just don’t get it.”
There certainly can be a lack of time, technology, or talent, but I believe there is an un-named, undercover pull on all that God has for me… and maybe you. It is that most offensive four-letter, F-word – Fear!
Jesus Christ tells a parable of a ruler that entrusted wealth to three servants. He granted them money while he was gone and instructed them to “Put it to work.”
One servant received 10 minas, the other five minas and the third just one mina. A mina was three month’s wages. This was no small amount of money or task.
In this Luke 19 telling of the story, the servant who received 10 minas returned and said, “Your one mina has returned 10 more.” He brought back almost three year’s wages to his master. The one who received five minas returned with 50 minas. It was 5x on his investments. Because these servants were trustworthy in managing three months’ wagers, they were rewarded with cities.
The last servant received one mina and he returned with the one mina. The One Mina Man knew that his master was a hard-driving successful leader who valued each mina. He’d expect his mina back. So, he cautious and carefully covered that mina, hiding it. He was going to ensure that those dollars were not misdirected.
The wrapping of the mina was more than an insurance policy. It was a personal protection policy because the One Mina Man feared the master. The master was a driven, hard, successful leader. The One Mina Man knew how the master operated, “taking out what you did not put in and reaping what you did not sow.” The One Mina Man didn’t want any part of the risk, the threat, the unknown, so he handed back that same one mina.
The master responded, harshly, “You could have at least put it in the bank for interest.” He takes the one mina from the One Mina Man and gives it to his servant with the highest return.
Maybe the One Mina Man justified his lack of investment on time, “I can’t closely manage this investment.” He may have blamed the market, “I just don’t understand it.” Or a lack of know-how, “I just don’t know how to do it.”
That could be what the One Mina Man could says to others or even to himself. The truth is revealed in his first four words… “I was afraid of you.” It is fear that keeps him from investing. That one mina is wrapped in a weave of worry. Anxiety rules the actions of our One Mina Man. It is fear that paralyzes the plainest of plans… just put it in a bank account. No such movement. The One Mina Man is frozen in fear.
While the One Mina Man said that he “feared the master,” a more modern translation may have said he suffered from anxiety. You see, fear produces action, but anxiety stops everything, like not investing the money. When you are afraid, you run. When you are anxious, you just wrap up your investment and hide.
Sadly, anxiety has become a crippling mechanism for many. It is an apprehensive uneasiness or nervousness, usually about future uncertainties. Anxiety is the most common mental disorder in the United States.
Of course, during the pandemic, fear and anxiety has ruled. According to the National Centers of Health and the U.S. Census Bureau, anxiety hit it’s high in mid-November of 2020, when almost 40% of the U.S. population experienced anxiety. Just last month, over 25% of adults expressed feeling anxious in a one-week period.
Studies show and honest conversations around tables, like a C3 Forum, reveal, that most of us have our One Mina Moments… and sadly, some of us are consistently living in like the One Mina Man.
The response to someone having a One Mina Moment to “Change your environment,” “Find a new job,” or “Maybe you aren’t called,” stops short of getting to the root cause. Luke 19 gives us room to give those responses as the total loss for the One Mina Man is three months wages and some reputation. He can recover. It isn’t the end of the world, so just “Move on,” “Find a new job.”
The problem is that Luke 19 isn’t Jesus only telling of his parable. He also tells an aligned parable in Matthew 25. In the Matthew parable the One Mina Man not only loses the mina but he is thrown “’outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’” He is sent to Hell.
This now makes the One Mina Moment a serious matter. It’s not enough to tell someone to find a new job or that this may not be their calling. There is more at risk here than just three-month’s wages or a reputation.
We need to deal with our fear. That is the base cause in both passages. Jesus makes it clear in Matthew 25 that not dealing with our fear will lead to separation, being thrown out. This separation is not just an eternal position, it is also the station from which we may live our everyday life in this world, removed from the Master.
The work here is to identify the primary issue. The effort to get past the fear or anxiety is significant, but it is work that will never be accomplished if it is not named. The first step is to understand the true problem.
I don’t feel like I have the time, nor the resources or even the knowledge to bring a 10x return. Yet, I am confident that the Lord has entrusted me with amazing blessings. I also know that many times, it is fear that causes me to keep those “riches” wrapped up and believe I can’t bring 5 times or 10 times return on those blessing.
Together let’s start unwrapping some of those riches. The world needs the return of your blessing.