John Bevere has written thirteen chapters in his book Good or God? trying to explain how Christians should turn to God’s Word and not society for our idea of right or wrong.
Now in Chapter 14 he discusses “Our Parameters.” His whole book is structured around the image of building a home: lordship is the foundation, the framework or structure is our sanctified lifestyle and as it is with homebuilding, the last phase is all about our dreams, plans, strategies and life decisions, the installation of cabinets, carpeting, tile, marble countertops, paint and eventually the lighting.
To extend his image, depending on the foundation and the framework of our “home”, we may be faced with choices that can be very limited.
Here is where we realize that maybe we have made some errors with our foundation and framework; maybe we realize [too late] that we have failed to dream big enough.
One can easily think about the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14. You know the story, the man going on a journey who entrusted his servants with his property. He gave one servant five talents, another two talents and a third, one talent. The servant with five talents “put his money to work” and gained five more talents. The servant with two talents “put his money to work” and gained two more. The one who was given one buried his talent in a hole and hid his money.
When the master returned he was very happy with the man who doubled his five talents and was very happy with the man who doubled his two talents. To both he said “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.”
Then we get to the man who buried his talent. This man had not planned big at all; in fact, he said that his fear of his master had caused him to bury his talent for safe-keeping.
What did the master say?
“You wicked lazy servant!…You should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest….And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
As Christians, we are confronted with many choices in life and what Bevere is saying is that maybe we opt for limited dreaming from time to time. We think we have to choose less when God would prefer that we choose more.
Do some Christians get too caught up in the quest for abundance? Of course they do. In recent years, we have heard from several televangelists who preach what is called “the prosperity gospel”. The temptation of this type of preaching is that it can center too much on possessions, finances and power. Greed can take over as our quest for abundance can possess us. But as we reflect on the parable of the talents, what could the master do with ten talents as opposed to five? If he was so inclined, could he do more work for God with that extra money?
Yes he could.
Having a right relationship with prosperity can be a very good thing if we put prosperity in its proper place. Without prosperity, we are limited in what we can do. Third John verse two states “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health even as thy soul prospereth.”
Matthew 25:29 states “To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance.”
God does not intend for all Christians to be poor. God does not intend for all Christians to make limited choices all the time. He wants us to dream big, especially if we can keep tight reigns on our penchant to be greedy, the temptation to let our quest for abundance control us.
In the last phase of building our home, He is not opposed to us installing high quality cabinets, carpeting, tile, countertop, painting and lighting.
Just as long as we remember where our abundance has come from and as long as we are willing to dedicate our dreams to building His Kingdom here on earth.
Then maybe we will hear those joyful words: “Well done, good and faithful servant!”