A pastor in Plano, Texas, invited several families to come to the front of the church to be received as new members.
When they were standing and facing the congregation the pastor asked them the usual question about loyalty to the church: “Will you be loyal to this congregation and uphold it with your prayers, your presence, your gifts and your service?”
Then the pastor gave them the answer: “If so, please answer, ‘I will.’”
All the adults answered dutifully and somewhat routinely, “I will.” But one little 5-year-old boy with a buzz haircut who looked like mischief personified, shouted out as loud as he could, “I’ll try!!”
The pastor and congregation were doubled over in laughter. Then they applauded. The pastor told everyone that was the most honest answer he had ever heard to that question.
The boy was giving a good answer because that’s exactly what God wants us to do — try our best and trust God to handle the rest. Jesus told a parable about the importance of trying our best. It was about a businessman who decided to take a trip. (Matthew 25: 14-18)
He called his three servants together to leave them in charge of his property. To the first servant he left 5,000 silver coins. To the second he left 2,000 silver coins. To the third he left 1,000 coins. The first two servants invested their money and had a good return. The third servant just dug a hole and hid the money and didn’t try to use it at all.
The third servant didn’t appreciate what he had. He just complained he got less than the others. In the book, “Ride the Wild Horses,” Wallace Hamilton tells an insightful story. It’s about a farmer who lived on the same farm all his life. He was tired and bored with the farm he inherited from his parents. He craved a different place to live; eventually he decided to sell the old place.
He listed the farm with a real estate agent who came out and prepared a sales advertisement for the newspaper. Before giving it to the newspaper, the agent read the farmer the flattering description: “Beautiful, spacious farmhouse, ideal location, excellent barn, good pasture, fertile soil, up-to-date equipment, well-bred stock, near town, near church, near school, good neighbors.”
“Wait a minute, said the farmer, “read that again and take it slow.”
Again the description was read: Beautiful, spacious farmhouse, ideal location …”
“Changed my mind,” said the farmer. “I’m not gonna sell. All my life, I’ve been looking for a place just like that!”
We can relate to that! The farmer was living in paradise but didn’t appreciate it.
In the parable, the third servant didn’t appreciate the 1,000 silver coins he had so he didn’t even try to use them. Even if we don’t have as much as others, we have to try to use and accept what we do have.
Prayer: Our Lord, give us the courage to keep trying and to keep trusting you for the rest. Amen
The Rev. Dan Safarik retired as a full-time pastor at St. Luke Methodist Church in Lincoln and now serves part time at St. Mark’s UMC in Lincoln. Email him at email@example.com