You Have to Try

In every account of the parable of the talents (there are at least two slightly different renditions of this parable) there are lessons to be learned.  One of the lessons is that talents (or we might say abilities) are given out sometimes unequally.  But, that is not what counts.  What counts is what you do with what you are given.  So, some are given a lot, and others just a little.

There are other lessons, too.  The one who went and buried his talent and returned it to the master was reprimanded.  The reason he gave for why he did nothing with his talent, was that he was afraid.  For years, I’ve taken for granted that fear was the focus of the parable.  But, I’ve changed my mind.  It was not ‘fear’ that was the great sin, it was the fact he didn’t even ‘try’.

Now let’s be frank about ‘trying’.  If we try there is always the possibility of failure.  If we don’t try we can’t fail, but we also can’t succeed.

So, as a result, the fear of failure causes many to not even try.  By not trying they remove the possibility of failure, but also remove any possibility of success.  For some this is a fine compromise, and one with which they can live with.

There is only one problem – it is not a situation God is happy with.  From every account we can find in scripture God requires ‘effort’, or we might also say, He requires you to ‘try’.

Failure is not the sin.  Fear is not the sin.  Not trying, that is the sin.

“But, what happens if I try and fail?  People will laugh and make fun.”  There is some truth to that, but is it sufficient to cause us to stop trying?  One thing I can assure you, if you try and fail, God is not laughing, nor is He making fun.  He is saying, “Ok, dust yourself off, get up, and try again.”

“But, my effort is so small, and will it really make any difference whether I succeed or fail?”  Yes, it will.  It may not change the world, but it may change you.  God is not concerned about whether your effort is a small one, or a big one.  The primary focus is on whether you tried or not.  On whether you were too afraid, or overcame your fear and tried anyway.

It is not the size of the effort, or the size of the result, the real focus is on what effort you put into making it succeed.

Thomas Edison, who was credited with 2,232 patents in his lifetime, made this statement, “Nothing works by itself.  You have to make the thing work.”  In other words, nothing is easy, it takes labor and effort, and the possibility of failure.

So, it’s time to lay aside the excuses (I’m not talented, I don’t have the education, I don’t know what to do, I’m afraid, I’m too old, I’m too young) and get going.  You Have to Try.

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