I wrote this like 6 weeks ago, but I couldn't post it until today. Such an exciting adventure coming our way!
I was in such a slump this week. I just wanted to be home by myself, and I hate feeling like that. I wasn’t a hermit, though. I picked up extra hours at work, got some major cleaning done at home, worked out, watched my sisters play volleyball, and had friends over to hang out this weekend. I’ve just never had to be so intentional about staying motivated and being emotionally open.
I found my feelings to be especially odd this week because God answered a major prayer…I was finally okayed for a position as a part-time worship leader at our church, and I’m truly humbled to have such an awesome opportunity to obey God doing something that I love. We’re launching a campus extension of our church in just a few weeks, and it’s thrilling to be part of an undertaking that’s so big, that I know it will totally flop if God’s not driving our efforts. Pretty awesome.
I have always felt very strongly that, if God blesses us with an ability, we have a responsibility to invest it fully in a way that pleases Him…not for our own recognition, but solely for the purpose of honoring God and pointing others in His direction. Investing…it reminds me of the parable that Jesus told about the talents. Talents were the currency that was used at that time. Here’s the passage:
“For it is just like a man about to go on a journey who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey. Immediately, the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents. In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more. But he who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the grounds and hid his master’s money.” (Matthew 25:15-18)
I can just picture the third guy with a shovel in his hands, digging that dumb hole…afraid he might lose the money…afraid that investing that money might require a little too much of his time, effort, etc. The rest of the parable goes on to say that, when the master came back to see what each slave had done with what they had been given, the first two were commended for investing. The third slave came to the master, shoulders slumped, staring at the ground, and said (this is all my paraphrase), “I got scared, so I buried my talent in the ground, but at least you can have back the little that you gave me.” The master doesn’t like that answer, calls the man lazy, and takes his talent away from him. Verse 29 says, “For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away.”
Investing. What a huge responsibility it is…and what a privilege. I’m so, so thankful for this ‘talent’ that God’s given to me in this new adventure at church. I feel very unworthy to participate in God’s work in this way.
But are the ‘talents’ that Jesus refers to in His parable only the good things that we’re given by God? Just skills, abilities, gifts?
What if the ‘talents’ God gives us are not so great…a disability, a shameful past, the loss of a baby… If those are also ‘talents’ that God asks that we invest, then I’d be lying if I said that the shovel didn’t sound appealing at times. I’d rather bury my hurt…keep it to myself…lock it up and try to forget.
But I know, that when I stand before God after this life is over, and He looks me straight in the eye and asks me what I did with what He has given me, I want Him to be proud. Proud of my honesty, proud of the conversations that have come out of our loss, proud of my dependence on Him when I don’t know what to do with my brokenness. Pleased with the way that I’ve tried with all my might to praise Him through this pain. This ‘talent’ is much more challenging to invest than the good ‘talents’. But I’ll keep thanking God for each opportunity He gives me. After all, life is short…the good stuff will be over before we know it, and the bad stuff is so, very temporary.