Then the man who had received one talent also approached and said, “Master, I know you.  You’re a difficult man, reaping where you haven’t sown and gathering where you haven’t scattered seed.  So I was afraid and went off and hid your talent in the ground.  Look, you have what is yours.”

But his master replied to him, “You evil, lazy slave!  If you knew that I reap where I haven’t sown and gather where I haven’t scattered, then you should have deposited my money with the bankers.  And when I returned I would have received my money back with interest.”

“So take the talent from him and give it to the one who has 10 talents.  For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have more than enough.  But from the one who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.  And throw this good-for-nothing slave into the outer darkness.  In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”  Matthew 25:24-30

In the first chapter of Chase the Lion: Stepping Confidently into the Unknown, Mark Batterson says,

These are some of the harshest words in the Gospels, and they were spoken to someone who broke even.  Evidently, breaking even isn’t good enough.  In the context of this parable, wickedness is equivalent to burying your talent in the ground.  It is the by-product of the fear of loss. (Emphasis mine.)

I don’t know about you, but those are pretty convicting words to me.  What the author is saying is that God considers it a wicked sin for me and you to “play it safe” with what He has given us.  That’s not a particularly welcome topic in lots of church circles.  We don’t want to put pressure on people.  We just hope that folks do well enough just to get by.

It steps on our pride to talk about excellence.  We don’t want to make others uncomfortable because we want them to try a bit harder.

But God demands that we do the best that we can with all that He has given to us.  We are not to waste anything – talents, abilities, spiritual gifts, finances, possessions, family, friends – not anything!

As the author says, “It’s playing to win.”

What has God given you that you need to use more faithfully?