Luke 19:17 (NIV)
“Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.’
Once in a while someone sends a word of encouragement my way about this blog. Just at those times when God wants me to be encouraged but not so often I snuggle up to the idea of it being about me. In those moments I say ‘thank you for your encouragement. It’s definitely Him’. One way you know this is when you go back and read something you wrote and God uses it to speak to you as the reader, not the writer! Smile. And sigh…
In the verse above Jesus is telling a parable about a man who gave ten of his servants an equal amount of money. He took a trip and when he came back the man checked in with the servants to see how they had managed what he had given them. The verse above is the man’s response to the first servant who had invested the man’s money and made ten times the original amount. If you read on you will find the second servant also invested the money and made five times the original amount and was rewarded five cities to govern. The third servant in the parable, however, hid the money to keep it safe and because he was afraid of his master. In the end the man took what little he had given this servant and gave it to the man with the ten-fold return.
When I was younger I would hear this parable and think it wasn’t fair. Why give the guy who already had so much even more?! Even as an adult I remember being empathetic to the third servant who was so afraid to try to make something of the money he had been given. I really understood this idea of burying the gift. But in time God would show me something life-changing. Something that would have really benefited this fearful servant. It wasn’t my gift. It was God’s and if He chose to give it to me then He most certainly wanted me to do something with it. Burying our “gift” in the ground is really just making it about us. As if we had the power in and of ourselves to make it fail or succeed. The only power we have is to unearth from our hearts whatever God has given us and step forward (even with shaky knees) to invest in others with it. God does the multiplying. He makes it whatever He intends for it to be. But if we cannot manage, or will not, the small amount He gives us we should not look for more. That is the point. Finally I understood the story is not about poor and rich and who deserves more. It’s about investing what God gives us in the lives of others. Making a bold go of what He places in our lives. Realizing the “gift” did not originate with us so we need not be afraid of the outcome. It comes from God and it’s His job to control the outcome, but there is no outcome when we hoard and mismanage the “seed money” He give us. Whether that be actual money, a talent or ability, our time, intelligence or even hobbies. We all have been given a small amount of “seed.”
Now, for me this morning this verse about being faithful, or trustworthy, in small matters was brought to heart and mind as I woefully reconsidered a choice I made (and have made every day) months ago. It’s a “small matter.” It doesn’t really seem like a big deal and for someone else it’s not! But for me it’s one of those whisper moments I wrote about in my last post. A whisper God breathed across my heart months ago but one I talked myself out of because I did not really want to go there with Him. And it really does seem “small.” Like the third servant, I have been convincing myself it’s not a big deal, really. In the grand scheme of life what kind of blip on the radar will burying this matter really make?
Sigh. Deep sigh…
I don’t want to do it. I didn’t want to follow His whisper months ago and I don’t want to now! I can be that honest with God. He can be honest with me in return and so this verse washes over my heart today. I am reminded, in my very real life, that when I am not faithful in the small matters, I am in effect stunting my growth in larger matters. You know, when there is something in your life that you are resisting God over, you will not get by with it forever. That small matter, that talking ourselves out of what He wants and into what we want, will cause problems for us eventually. Especially if we really want to know God more. Experience His plans and purposes for our lives.
When we reach a stalemate with God, maybe we can bravely take an honest look inside our hearts. Especially in those small matters that we so often shrug off as no big deal. The truth is that the way we handle the small matters tell God (and others) the most about who we are. If we keep our word. If we honor our commitments. If we are willing to turn the station or shut off the T.V. Give instead of buy. Let someone else be first or choose. Be willing to share our abilities and talents not for personal glory but just to be a blessing to someone else. Stop in our busy schedule to reach out to a lonely person and only God ever see.
I made a committment a few months ago. And I haven’t been keeping it because it will cost me to do so. It’s not a really big one like marriage or long-made plans with someone. It’s a “small matter.” One that really only a few people, God most importantly, know I’m burying in the ground. And honestly, no one is going to call me on it. Except God. Laugh. Yeah, He is calling me on it! I kind of love that about Him though.
Today I will start digging. I’m not sure about how it will go but God has a route for me to follow. I know it will be like chewing glass, or maybe not. Maybe the glass chewing part has been looking in the mirror of God’s Word and seeing the truth about myself. Seeing my mismanagement of this “small matter”. But now there is a trickle of hope and joy being unearthed in me as I finally say yes.
“Yes” in the small matter, being faithful, will expand our territory. Make more room for Jesus and whatever He plans for the investment that is our life.