Good Stewards are Hard Workers
Working hard is a critical component in living the financial life that God has planned for you.
How do you turn five bags of gold into ten? Unless you’re King Midas himself, there’s only one way to do it: Going to work… and working hard!
Studying what the Bible says about money has taught me a lot about the concept of stewardship. God gave us everything we have, and He wants us to be good and fruitful stewards of the wealth that He has entrusted to us. In fact, He wants to see us make His money grow.
A Parable About Hard Work
The Parable of the Bags of Gold in Matthew 25:14-30 helps me make sense of this. If you’re unfamiliar with the parable, you can read the full text here. If you know the story, though, let’s focus on the key to making God’s money grow — working hard.
Hard work is a crucial part of stewardship. If we aren’t willing to work, we will never succeed with the talents or resources God has given us. And we’ll never see those things grow into something greater.
Let’s look verses 16 and 17 in the parable:
The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more.
Notice the wording of the first sentence. It says that the first servant “went at once” and started working. Other translations say that he “immediately” went to work. The second servant, who was equally profitable, did the same.
Working hard is the key ingredient in stewarding our resources.
Working Hard is the Common Denominator
Sometimes we can learn important lessons from details that aren’t included in a biblical story. The parable doesn’t tell us what kind of work the two servants did. It doesn’t say what strategies they used to manage their wealth. If those things had mattered, Jesus would have included them. But He did not include them. What He did include, though, is the fact that they immediately went to work.
What can we learn from this? That working hard is the key ingredient in stewarding our resources. And while we should all seek out our specific callings and professions , what really matters is that we work hard — no matter what that work consists of.
As far as we know, hard work is the only thing these servant had in common that caused them to succeed. It’s also the thing that the third servant lacked. Later in the text, the master calls him “wicked” and “lazy”.
The third servant was not only scared and foolish — he was also a sloth. Since his master was leaving on a long journey, he saw an opportunity to take it easy for a few months. After all, “the boss wasn’t looking.” He did not grow his master’s money because he was unwilling to do the work required.
If I’m willing to roll up my sleeves, get dirty and break a sweat, I can count on a great reward.
Taking Responsibility for Our Outcomes
In difficult times, when our finances look bleak, it’s easy to blame our lack of success on a lack of talent or opportunities. But when we tell ourselves those stories, we buy into a lie. The third servant wasn’t incompetent. He had the ability to produce wealth (remember, the master gave each servant money to steward “according to his ability“). This servant was able to work and make money grow. He simply chose not to… and he paid a high price for it in the end.
God has given us each talents, time and treasure. He intends for us to use those things to make a difference in the world. If I’m willing to roll up my sleeves, get dirty and break a sweat, I can count on a great reward. Without some effort, though, I’m doomed to failure.
So, who’s ready to get to work?