By Hilary Scheppers
He replied, ‘Well done, good servant!
You have been faithful in this very small matter;
take charge of ten cities.’ ~Luke 19:11-28
With Thanksgiving approaching and Advent following, it is the start of the holiday season. We are all looking forward to celebrating — but are you looking forward to budgeting?!
Budgeting for Giving
In the past few years, I’ve become a budget nerd! The reason? I really want to eliminate my student loan debt. However, budgeting for giving always presents a challenge. How much am I supposed to give away? To whom do I give? And with financial stresses, I get worried about being in debt forever.
What Does the Gospel Say about this?
Today’s Gospel is another one of Jesus’ parables. The short summary is this:
A nobleman gives each of his servants ten coins to “engage in trade” while away in a distant country. When he returns, each servant reports having earned additional money or invested the coins and made a return. All report good news, except for one servant.
This servant returns the original coins saying, “I kept it stored away in a handkerchief, for I was afraid…” (Luke 19:11-28.) The nobleman is livid. He rebukes the servant, takes his coins away, and gives them to the one who proved himself resourceful.
The nobleman says, “to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”
Fear of Giving vs. Trust in Giving
What stands out to me is the servant’s fear — “for I was afraid.” His fear results in inaction. The act of not giving away the gifts he received and all that was entrusted to him results in everything being taken away. In the end, his downfall is not greed but fear. And he’s cut out of the picture.
As we approach this holiday season, I pray we keep a focus on Jesus’ message and find a way to give out of love. We are called to be servants who trust and are trustworthy, servants who show love to our neighbors through giving what we have. Let this be a story of encouragement to trust God in the giving and give more this holiday season.
Lord, I am your trustworthy servant. I thank you for all that you have given to me and will continue to provide. May I be found worthy to receive your blessings. Jesus, I trust in you to fulfill my every need.
Call to Action
How is Jesus asking you for more? Think about all that God has given to you and all that has been entrusted to you. Are you growing these gifts to be more? Are you giving away your talents freely and charitably? How are you planting seeds of giving in your family?
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