So, you have a dream. You have a vision; something you feel called to do. You have something burning in you that you want to accomplish, but somehow, whenever you try to start, something always comes up to knock you off course. Maybe you’re too busy, always on the go. Maybe you lack the know-how to launch your idea(s) off the ground. Perhaps you’re too tired, can’t afford the resources or help you need…
I’m the same way. I know I’m called to write. I took a writing course. Now I’m taking a marketing course. Those were big steps. I knew they would equip me to work much more knowledgeably and efficiently. And guess what happened?
They helped, but it wasn’t enough, and they didn’t provide all the assistance I needed.
I find myself getting easily frustrated, and quitting all too fast. Why? Because I don’t have all the answers in front of me – now – and I don’t see immediate, easy solutions.
I started another book outline last evening. Today I knew it was time to develop it, expand it into chapter outlines, start the research… Truthfully, it’s easier to avoid it. There’s a lot of work involved.
So, guess what I did?
Started playing with an old gold marker that was gummed up, and tried to get it working again.
I knew I’d taken the wrong direction and made a bad decision, but I did it anyway, because, even though I knew the right thing to do, I didn’t want to face the hard work.
Suddenly, I sensed a word presenting itself in my thoughts. The word was this:
“Waste all the time you want. I won’t stop you. But I will require it of you.”
I stopped, frozen. What was that again?
“Waste all the time you want. I won’t stop you. But I will require it of you.”
Uh-ohhh…I recognized a word of truth, and, I knew Who was speaking it.
I suddenly remembered the scripture that tells us to “Redeem the time, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:16. Colossians 4:5 also mentions about “…redeeming the time.”
In short, this means to buy up, ransom, salvage, rescue, protect, sustain, safeguard, and preserve TIME. It means to invest in it, to make wise and sacred use of it, to recover from the power of another. (Strongs, and Thayers definitions)
We think of time as uncontrollable entity. It passes by us effortlessly, and we can’t do a thing to stop it, can we? Yet, God has given us the awesome privilege of protecting, preserving, recovering and even purchasing time. How?
By putting enough worth on it to not waste it. By recognizing how priceless are the opportunities we’ve been given to add value to time by investing our best into it.
How often do we say, “Where has the time gone?”
Have you, like me, often seen an entire day slip away and been unable to recall doing anything noteworthy within it?
Do you remember the Bible story of the man who left home for a trip far away? This employer was a bit different, in that he had studied his three servants, and noted their personal strengths. He then gave them each differing amounts of money, corresponding to the abilities he saw in them. Following this, he departed, and left them to see what they would do. (Matthew 25:14-30)
The first two servants took their allotments, one with five talents and another with two, worked the money and invested wisely. The third servant chose to bury his in the ground.
When their master arrived back home, he called a meeting, and asked each one for an account of what they did with the money – talents, as it was called.
The first two servants had gone out and worked the money well. Each brought back good news, having gained double his initial amount. “Well done, good and faithful servant! You’ve been faithful over some light responsibilities. Now, I’m going to make you a ruler over many things. Come, and celebrate the joy you’ve brought me!” was the reaction they received.
The interesting thing here, is that not only was their master very pleased, and praised their efforts well, he also instantly promoted them into positions of higher authority.
The third servant brought his report: “Master, I know you, that you’re a stern and a tough man. I know you reap from where you haven’t planted, and gain from where you haven’t invested, and I was afraid. So, I buried your talent in the ground. Here you go. I’m returning it to you.”
The reaction was as swift as the first two received, but definitely not as happy. “You wicked, lazy servant! You know that I reap from where I haven’t planted and gain from where I haven’t invested. You should have given my money to the brokers. Then when I returned I would have received my own, with interest. Take that talent, and give it to the one with ten. For to everyone that possesses and uses, it shall be given, and they will have abundance. But from those who lack due to this man’s reason, even what they did have will be taken away.”
The servant was then cast out, “into outer darkeness”.
Wow! That seems like a harsh response. After all, wasn’t the servant just “afraid”? Shouldn’t he have been encouraged to try again?
Let’s look a bit deeper at what was really going on in that servant’s reply. If you read it over again, you’ll see several character traits portrayed in his answer.
He spoke definitively, calling his master a stern, tough man. The servant chose to step out of his place, and assume a most un-servant-like attitude of judging his master’s personhood. Rather than honour the gift of his master’s success in business, he criticized it. This was another judgement, clearly out of his role. He evidently felt completely entitled to overlook a servant’s job description of respect, and working for the betterment of the household. Next, rather than invest his entrustment, as his fellow-servants had done, he deliberately betrayed his master’s wishes, stopped any potential to succeed, and buried it. To his master’s face, he blamed his action on “fear”.
It was actually not fear, as much as intimidation, and likely envy, resulting in a judgmental attitude. There was a passive-aggressive colour to his actions, which his master instantly recognized.
If you remember, the story tells of how the master had observed his staff, and given the talents based on the abilities he had already seen in them. Obviously the servant who received the fewest had been noted as having some lesser qualities. After reading of his behavior, we could infer that his attitude had already been a noted problem.
This servant essentially blew the opportunity he had been given to redeem himself, even after his master, knowing what he knew of the man’s character, had tried again to give him a second chance.
This story continues to wrench me every time I read it. I feel regret, and sadness that there was no apparent gratitude from the servant, no effort to develop his giftings, better himself, or overcome his self-centredness. No desire to admit his faults or show any remorse.
You see, Jesus said this story is like the kingdom of heaven. Every opportunity is given to help us succeed, thrive and prosper. Our response, our attitude and actions are up to us.
Interestingly, Thayer’s definition of outer darkness is literal, as well as metaphorical. It refers to a person “of darkened eyesight, or blindness, ignorant of respecting divine things and human duties… “A person in whom darkness becomes visible and holds sway.”
It makes me look at myself, and ask, how am I investing the gift that have been entrusted to me?
Yes, Jesus invested His absolute best into us. He gave every one of us gifts, ‘talents’ as it were. He gives us that second chance, and wants to see us succeed, and produce not just a little, but much gain. He calls us to invest those gifts, work those talents, and He will see that they result in rich accomplishments that will bless both us, the people around us, and Him.
We know He is Love. We know He wants to give a second chance to as many people as possible, not only to come to Him, but also to live an abundant life. He has given gifts – talents – for us to invest and use for this purpose. He wants us to be VERY productive with these gifts, and reap huge results!
You might say, yes, I do know what giftings I’ve been given. Or, you may feel that you have very few gifts to offer. Few or many, we all have valuable, irreplaceable, and very individual talents to develop. However, there is another, extremely valuable gift God has given to every one of us.
What is it?
As of this moment, time is the world’s most priceless gift. It is still free to all of us who live.
How are you making the most of your gifts?
I am now writing this blog. I’ll be working on my book after this.
What are your talents, your dreams? How have you gotten going with them?
Please feel free to share in the comments below!