Out my window…one more time

Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve considered life from the vantage point of the middle. Often those who live at the extremes of either sizable success or colossal failure get most of the headlines, but most of us live somewhere in between. And as we’ve seen, it’s in this “in-between world” where we find the 2nd servant in Jesus’ Parable of the Talents.

We’ve already seen how this man was given his own distinct assignment and operated under his own distinct set of expectations. Well, there’s one more idea from this story that you need to see, and it will help cement our point.

  1. Duplicate Response

The Master’s return was a great day for two of these servants. Not so much for the 3rd guy. In fact, his failure to fulfill the master’s wishes proved catastrophic to his future.

But those other two guys heard some really good news. Check it out:

20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your Master.’

What a great moment for servant #1! Of course, this story parallels the idea of eternal reward and it’s not just a heavenly high five. Servant #1 pleased the Master with his diligence and received the best response any servant might imagine.

What about our guy—you know, servant #2? Well, take a look at what unfolds:

22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 

Now, in Jesus’ time, a “talent” equaled 60 drachma and a drachma consisted of 60 shekels. So a talent was 360 shekels. You could say that a talent is to shekel what an hour to second and every one of those 720 shekels produced another one for our friend. So what did the Master say? Yeah, read it again.

Did that sound familiar? The exact same response that Servant #1 heard. There’s no, “Not bad, little buddy,” but all the same balloons, all the same confetti, all the same celebration! Why? Because two differently resourced servants had been faithful, and they had met the Master’s expectation & fulfilled His joy.

What am I saying? Give your best to God’s unique vision for your church. Stop wishing you were someone else or somewhere else, and show your Master the best version of what you can be.

From kindergarten to my senior year of high school, I was always the smallest guy in my class. But I had big dreams—I dreamed of being 6’10” tall. I imagined my long arms dunking a basketball on tiptoes.   I thought of all I could do if I could just be tall, so I spent hours hanging from the swingset bars in my backyard, trying to help nature make me taller.

But it didn’t work. I’m not 6’10” and I’m thinking that after 55 years of life, I’m probably never gonna be. But I made the basketball team by learning to do things that big men couldn’t do so easily. I could dribble the ball, steal their passes, and even hit a few of the shots coach wouldn’t let the bigger guys shoot.

I gave my best to what I was equipped to do, and the letter they sewed on my jacket was the same size as theirs! That’s what I’m saying to you today—be who God has made you to be. Love people deeply. Serve people gladly. Worship God wholeheartedly. Challenge yourself and others to great dreams. Celebrate every victory. Wrap your arms around people God gives you and never let go. Find your talents and use them for the pleasure of your Master.

Stop saying, “What if we were like them?” Start asking, “What if we were everything God designed us to be?”

In this work as a church consultant, I see many things. And perhaps the most frustrating moment I encounter is when I see people who don’t believe. They believe in God, but don’t believe in themselves. They applaud others, but can’t look at the possibilities in themselves.

Sadly, some of them end up like the third servant—refusing to try. They get so focused on what they can’t do that they never do what they can. They live in the sin of omission, just like the third guy, and they think they’re justified in doing so.

So take a lesson from our oft-forgotten friend. Give yourself fully to the God who has designed you. Repent of any negative view of you. Repent of any insistence on what you can’t do. Commit yourself to your absolute best and watch what God does. It’s your best that He’s after and your best that He will someday reward.

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