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Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Audacious action

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There’s an adage that says, “If you give the devil an inch, he’ll take a yard.”
Notice how it says if you give, then he’ll take. That’s pretty audacious of him.
It leads me to ask a couple of questions: What have you been given and where is your audacity?

I’m not saying be so audacious you take more than what you’ve been given.

I am saying lean into that audacity to use what you’ve been given.

Consider the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30. Here we see audacity show up in two ways. The first way is in verses 16-17 (ESV):

“He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more.”

These two servants were audacious, by way of being daring. They used what was given and put it to good use by investing it. Did someone say stocks? Cryptocurrency? Real estate? As a result of their audacious action, they doubled what they had. This pleased the master, who entrusted them with the talents. His response to both of them in verse 21 and verse 23: “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’”

We also see audacity in another way. This form of audacity was disrespectful. There was audacious action to go along with it in verse 18: “But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money.” He was given one talent. One. Instead of investing it, he buried it. And we wonder why God hasn’t given us more? What have we done or what are we doing with what we currently have?

Nevertheless, the master was greatly displeased with this servant. Not only was there verbal response but there was also action taken in verses 28, 29b and 30: “So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. … But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

The servant probably wished he’d been daringly instead of disrespectfully audacious. Even if he didn’t know how to invest, there were two others he could have asked for help. The master suggested depositing it at bank instead of burying it. There were options, but the servant didn’t recognize them. Where there is a will, there is a way. That goes for good, bad and ugly. This goes to show that excuses don’t hold much weight.

No matter how much we do have or don’t have, we can use it.

No matter who has more or less than we do, we can use it.

No matter what we do or don’t know about what we have, there’s someone we can ask, so we can use it.

You see where this going, right? So, don’t be the one who has a woulda, coulda or shoulda afterthought about what you’ve been given. “I woulda but I didn’t. I coulda but I didn’t. I shoulda but I didn’t.” Do it for the sake of your present and future.

So I rephrase the questions and ask you to strongly consider:

What have you been given and what kind of audacity will you use with what you’ve been given?

As always, the choice is yours.

Rae Karim, formerly chapel director at Christian Theological Seminary, is now pastor at First Christian Church of Honolulu. She can be reached at pastoraefcc@gmail.com.

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