I’d like to start off with a word of scripture. Most, if not all, of you know this parable I’m about to read. I want to start in Matthew 25:14-28.
“14Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. 15To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. 17So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. 18But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
19“After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’
21“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!’
22“The man with the two talents also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.’
23“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!’
24“Then the man who had received the one talent came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’
26“His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.
28” ‘Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. 29For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 30And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
In my line of work, I don’t do a lot of out of town jobs. Most are in Spokane, but one of my favorite customers to visit is the Army Corp of Engineers at the Lower Granite Dam just south of Colfax. It’s roughly an hour and a half drive, if you don’t get stuck behind a combine or a herd of cows on the way. Aside from being a beautiful area, there is no cell reception for most of the drive, so all I can do is think, enjoy the scenery, and talk with God. Last week I had a pretty good size job, but there was no doubt that I could have gotten it done in one day. Well, setback after setback caused the day to drag on, and pretty soon I was starting my hour and a half drive home a little after five. Normally that wouldn’t be a problem, except that I had worship rehearsal that night. Again, setback after setback, and now it looks like I’m going to be rolling in to town too late to get to practice. On a side note, there’s a policy in place for the worship team that if you miss the Thursday practice, you aren’t allowed to sing on Sunday. I knew this, but I was hopeful that there would be an exception this time, since it was out of my hands. God had other plans. I didn’t know it at the time, but God was going to use this as an opportunity to teach me about some shortcomings in my dedication to the Lord’s service.
When I found out that I wasn’t going to be able to sing with my team on Sunday, simply put, I was devastated. More than that, I was angry! Singing is one of those things that I am very passionate about and want to grow in and do more of. I only sing with a team one Sunday a month, so missing the opportunity, and having to wait an entire month to sing with them again, kills me. In my simple, human mind, I felt like an injustice had been done, and I was going to plead my case to whoever would listen. So I wrote an email to a dear brother of mine who is much wiser than me. I was so hopeful he would see my side of things. Ummm… NOPE. We talked on the phone a couple of days later and, instead of taking my side, he spoke truth to me. The truth of God’s word. Forgive me for saying this, but in that moment the flesh side of me that was very much in control of my emotions didn’t want to hear truth. I wanted him to see my side of things. Somehow that would make me feel better. We finished our talk, and I went back to wrestling with the profound disappointment I was feeling. Luckily I had some time to think about what was said to me.
One of my favorite hobbies is working on cars. I have such clarity when I have a wrench in my hands. I don’t know what it is, but I typically zone out and get in to a zen-like state. So I just went about my business of working on my truck and being angry and disappointed. The problem is that God likes to speak to me in those quiet moments. Whether it’s the quiet drive down to the Lower Granite Dam or the quiet time spent wrenching away by myself, God speaks so clearly to me in those moments. Boy did he speak to me that day! It reminded me of when I’m trying to focus on something and my son stands next to me going, “Daddy. Daddy. Daddy. Daddy!” Eventually you just have to stop what you’re doing and say, “What!?!” God was doing that to me.
This is the conversation that God and I were having on Saturday. He was standing there tapping me on the shoulder saying, “Travis. Travis. Travis! You can’t ignore me forever.”
When I finally opened my ears to Him, He gave me the parable of the talents. Yeah that makes complete sense. Clear as mud! The more I meditated on that parable though, the more I realized that God was pointing out that I was the lazy servant.
I said to myself, “What? Pshht! No way. I don’t squander what God has given me.”
And then God said, “Really? What about the church website?”
“Well, I think I built a pretty nice website. Actually, I love it! I think it functions well and serves its purpose.”
He quickly replied, “And?”
“Do you put your everything into it.”
“Well… I think there are some ways it could be more useful, and I would really like to pass on the responsibility of updating some of the areas of site to others in the church.”
God said, “So you’ve buried it?”
“What? No way!”
“What about being a leader in the church?”
“I think I’ve grown so much over the years, but I know I definitely still have room to grow. I’m working on it.”
“With everything you have? With all of your heart and all of your strength and all of your mind?”
“Like I said I still have room to grow, but I do think I can give more of myself.”
“What about all of the other responsibilities I have given you? Have you given absolutely everything you have in service to the Lord?”
I think we need to ask ourselves this question at the end of every day. Have I given EVERYTHING I have to the Lord? If you haven’t, God will not bless you your pursuits and trust you with more responsibility. Listen again to what the Lord said in Matthew:
“You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.”
If you take the tasks and responsibilities that God gives you and invest the best of your time, mind, heart, and soul into those small things God gave you, He will trust you with much more. It really is that simple. However, if you squander what God gives you, and you take that talent and bury it in the sand, God will take it away and give it to somebody in the body that is worthy of it. God does not want lazy servants. Think about Christ. He gave EVERYTHING!!! He gave more than any person could give. Don’t you think we owe it to Him to give back even a tiny fraction of what He gave us? It’s not only our job as servants of the One True God, but it should be our pleasure. No complaining, no arguing. Just simple, 100% service to the Lord Almighty. God knocked me upside the head last Saturday, and He turned my attention to these little gifts He has given me, that I am not taking as seriously as I should be. So look inside and ask yourself if you are the good and faithful servant, worthy of more responsibility, or the lazy servant who will have his lot divided up among the others. If you’re the latter, talk to a fellow believer you trust and get some serious truth knocked in to you.