In Matthew 25:14-30 Jesus tells a parable about three servants whose master entrusts them with a sum of money before going on a trip. When the master returns, one servant has invested the money and made a large profit, one has invested the money and made a small profit, and one servant has buried the money in a field and made no profit. The third servant claims he buried the money out of fear; he knows his master can be harsh, so he takes no chances. Investment, after all, is a risky business. What if he lost the money? What if he tried his best and his best wasn’t good enough?
Believe it or not, this passage reminds me of weight loss and improving our health. No, this passage is NOT, theologically speaking, about taking care of our bodies; it’s about the Kingdom of God. I’m borrowing the idea to make a point of my own. I repeat: this is not a theologically sound argument here; I’m plagiarizing my Savior to encourage you—and me—to get healthy.
There are different ways to go about getting healthy. Some ways promise big rewards and require big investments of time, money, or self control. Some ways offer moderate return on a moderate investment. The last way is like a savings account in the bank; the profits aren’t dramatic, but when time has passed, you have something to show for your half hearted efforts. The worst thing we can do is be like the third servant: bury ourselves in fear and do nothing.
What if I try and it doesn’t work? What if I can’t do it? What if I never reach my goal? I’m afraid I’m a failure; what if I’m right?
I can answer that for you. If you try and you never reach your goal, you’re still getting interest on your investment and you’re better off than being buried in a hole. The truth is that if you don’t try, if you don’t aim for a goal, if you don’t make an effort, you know exactly where you’ll be one, five, ten, or fifty years from now: in that hole. You won’t be thinner than you are now, and you won’t be healthier.
Every little change you turn into a healthy habit makes a HUGE impact on your health long term. It’s like putting $1,000 in the bank at 5% interest. Doesn’t sound like much, but after ten years you’ll have $1,600 and after fifty years you’ll have $11,000. All because you invested your money and didn’t hide it in a hole. Every glass of water you drink, every full night of sleep you sleep, every minute of exercise you do, and every vegetable you eat is you investing in your future: your future health, your future life, your future you. You can invest big, invest the minimum, or somewhere in the middle, but please, don’t stay buried in a hole.
DANGER! DANGER!! This metaphor will only take us so far, so please, please, PLEASE don’t read too much into this and think that God is a harsh master who will put you in jail (or even simply not like you) if you don’t make a “profit” of weight lost or health gained. Romans 5:8 says that “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” and “greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). Add them together and you get the truth that Christ loved us BEFORE he died for us, when we had nothing to offer him, not even obedience or faith, and certainly not healthy habits. All I’m saying is don’t let fear hold you back from changing your life. Only good can come of taking care of your body. Climb out of the hole and invest in yourself.
“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ Matthew 25:23 (NIV)