How You View God Is How You View Opportunity

Our discussion on mission and calling has had a big impact on me. Oddly enough, one of the big revelations came from us nerding out on Silmarillion.

Throughout the creation story in the Silmarillion, it is reinforced over and over again, that everything anyone has comes from God (I’m not going to use all the crazy names here). Those that did well put their gifts to use to make the world better. Those that did poorly used their gifts to elevate themselves. It was reinforced that everyone in the story had nothing of their own, only what was bestowed upon them by God.

This really got me thinking about my fear and selfishness, two topics we discussed. I believe that what I have is mine because I worked for it. I fear that if I step into my calling that I will have to turn it all over to God and he will take it away from me. The reality is that it is not mine. It is all God’s and I am just a steward.

That word struck me. Steward. I have heard it so often in my Christian circles, but it never really meant anything. Usually, it is tossed about when churches are trying to raise funds and being a good steward means using your money to support the church. That’s not wrong, but that’s also maybe 1% of what it actually it. I kept chewing on that word and was brought to a passage in the Bible that I have read many times but never really grasped. The parable of the talents.

If you don’t know the parable, I found this link to be helpful.

God has given us all something to work with. In the parable, it was a large some of money. Two of the servants saw this as an opportunity to gain favor by putting it to work and doubling it. The third was afraid of the lord and hid the money then gave it back.

When we receive an opportunity, how do we respond? Do we step boldly out and put our gifts to work to capitalize on the opportunity? Or do we shrink back in fear that if we fail, God will punish us? That is how I read that parable for a long time. It wasn’t until I really started to dig into it that I understood what Jesus was telling us. He has gifted us abundantly. Are you able to see those gifts? I never saw gifts within myself. It is impossible to even take your gifts to the bank to earn minimum interest if you cannot see any giftedness or skills within yourself.

Then the lord left and returned. This is the key to the story, not the punishment of the fearful, selfish servant. When Christ returns, we will be called into account for what we did with our gifts. We have so many promises in the Bible that Christ will never forsake us and that He will honor us before the Father, so fear is not a viable excuse. Hiding for fear shows that we believe God is a cruel God. It shows that we do not believe in His forgiveness, His sacrifice, His mercy.

I want to be someone who can present double what was given to me back to the Lord, because He is good and worthy and the gifts were his to begin with. The truth is, I am the fearful servant. The fear of having my grace taken from me because I let fear keep me from doing even the minimum has pushed me into action. We have to put our gifts to work so we can see God fulfill his promises. Seeing that builds our faith. It is like cultivating a garden. We have to plant the seeds and do some work, but one tomato has enough seeds to plant 50 more. We just need to start taking action. Our fear will still be there, but so will Christ. The discomfort of stepping into what we are so afraid of will be well worth hearing, “well done good and faithful servant.”

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