Read His Words Before Ours!
Growing up, I would read this parable (you know you’re supposed to read His words before mine! Get back up there and read ‘em!) and my stress level rose.
I was never one of those kids who wanted to have a lemonade stand, and I equated this parable with that concept. I always felt bad for the third person in the parable. They didn’t lose any money yet they were found wanting. (Though I agreed that a bank accruing interest was the wiser choice there!)
As I grew older, my understanding expanded beyond thinking this story was only for entrepreneurs in the Church Body. I saw how the parable incorporated literal funds and money management concepts reflecting one’s heart and priorities.
Where has money been spent? Where has money been invested?
What story does your money tell?
The parable challenged me to take what the Lord has given me and use it for His glory. This was far more about stewardship of my life than simply my finances.
But the real grit was yet to come…
This parable sprang to life in a deeper way for me when I revisited a memory from a missions trip several years ago. At the time, I found myself on the other side of the world where my cell phone wasn’t buzzing, my job wasn’t beckoning, and my ears to hear God’s voice were open. I remember the team sitting front and center at church, which was not my favorite place to be. I told the Lord I would much prefer sitting in the back where I was more comfortable.
Little did I know my complaint to Him would became the very conduit through which He conveyed a very real truth to me.
“You are hiding.”
I didn’t hear it audibly, but my heart resonated with the statement. As I sat there pondering those three small words, a wave of humility and awareness washed over me. The Lord continued the conversation, emphasizing that He had made me for more than the back row. He did not force the issue or tell me a timeline, but He made it abundantly clear that the time would come when
I would need to choose between Him and hiding.
As I read through the parable of the talents, this memory played vividly in my mind. I still remember the feel of the chair beneath me and the color of the stage backdrop. The emotions of that moment bubbled up inside all over again as I reflected.
The fear of realizing hiding was my comfort zone coupled with the thrill of having a purpose, and the hope of living a life that was more than my current existence, was beautifully overwhelming.
As I remembered, the parable of the talents unfolded for me in an entirely new dimension.
Gone were the days of the lemonade-stand-understanding.
Gone were the thoughts about limiting its merit to finances, resources, and outcomes.
Tears filled my eyes as my heart and mind comprehended the reality of where I was so many years ago.
I was the buried talent.
And I was the one who had done the burying.
It has taken me some time to acknowledge the gifts the Lord has given me
and be willing to step out in them.
I still struggle with fear, doubt, and indecision more than I care to admit.
Who am I to live this life?
Yet, He reminds me, sometimes with the firmness of a coach and other times with the tenderness of a parent, who I am.
I am a “talent”, intended for use.
Intended for building His kingdom here and now!
He has poured out gifts to each of us.
He has called us by name.
He has plans and purposes He desires to see us live out for His glory.
My time on this earth is not to survive and arrive at the finish line unscathed.
That would be the life of a buried talent.
No, my purpose is to make Him known, and in the process, continually learn who I am in Him.
This adventure requires being seen and known by Him.
It requires courage and grace.
It requires more Jesus and less me.
It requires living this life with expectancy and intentionality of the next.
What I do here impacts there.
What are the talents the Lord has given you? How are you stewarding them?
What would it look like today to invest those talents for His glory: sending an encouraging note to a friend, picking up the piece of trash on the ground, starting that blog, setting that boundary you’ve been avoiding, believing the Lord and what He says about you?
Regardless of what that looks like for you today, know it is not wasted time to serve Him and invest where He is investing. We may not see the rewards until heaven, but oh, my friend, what a glorious return they will have!
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!