Risk and Return

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18 October 2017

Today’s Gospel records something not found in any of the other Gospel accounts; that Jesus appointed 72 others (besides the 12) and sent them ahead of Him to proclaim the Gospel in cities and villages that He was going to visit.

Receiving the Gospel message and coming into a relationship with Christ is truly a wonderful gift. However, this gift is not for us to cling to so that we can serve our own private egotistical needs.

I’m reminded of the parable of the talents whereby the servants that invested their talents ended up with more, and the one that hid his away for safekeeping ended up with nothing. How can that be?

As we see in this particular parable, the servants who invested the talents, who took a risk, were blessed with more. And so it is with faith.

Our faith can at times take a battering. Life itself has a way of knocking our faith around – a tragedy in the form of financial, physical, or emotional hardship can weaken our faith – indeed simply living in this contemporary world can have a negative impact. We can easily find ourselves responding, “I can’t share my faith – I shouldn’t be sharing my faith – not until I’m sure in what I believe.”

Faith increases in the measure we share. The act of giving away our faith is the very thing that enables it to grow stronger. This is surely counter-intuitive.

Jesus sends out the 72 to prepare the way before Him. He tells them to travel light and to be dependent on people’s hospitality.

Challenging? Of course! Sharing the Gospel has never been easy. Saints Peter and Paul, Billy Graham and John Paul II, and many more can testify to this fact. Jesus tells these 72 to expect opposition. Sheep wandering in the midst of a wolf pack should not expect to have a jolly good time. 

A modern evangelist said,

“The minute you walk outside of your church on Sunday you’re in mission territory.”

If your attitude is to wait until your faith is sure and unbreakable, I’m confident you’ll never get to share your faith. Faith needs to be shared to grow. Hang on to it, bury it and we are told it will come to nothing.

So find some concrete way to share your faith. Maybe it might be to become a CCD instructor or defend the faith to a family member. Or even in a subtler form by displaying an icon, a cross at home or work. There are many ways in which we can share our faith. But whatever you do, invest your time and effort, take a risk and trust that the return on your efforts will produce an increase in faith.
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