If you've followed me for any length of time, you know that I've been wrestling for a long time with discovering my vocation. I've bounced all over the place, grasping at one idea after another, all of them ultimately dead ends.
I still don't know what my niche in God's Kingdom work is, but for the first time I'm able to admit that I've been looking in the wrong places for the answer. All of the half-cocked shots and aborted missions have been my ideas, rooted in immaturity.
I won't go into autobiographical detail about how I came to be where I am. This process goes back longer than just about anyone who reads this has known me. The takeaway is that God has been at work under and behind and through and above my immaturity. He has used a long season in the wilderness to bring me to an understanding of my own selfishness, my own laziness and fear. He has faithully lead me closer to Himself by allowing me to fail, by blocking the way forward I've chosen for myself.
The conviction has been growing in me that it is time for me to engage my talents in greater measure with the work of the Kingdom. Last night at Mosaic, Schatzman was teaching from Matthew 13. While Mark was talking about the parable of the pearl, God was hammering home to me His point from the parable of the talents (Matthew 25.14-30, below; see also, Luke 19.12-27).
Parable of the Talents
14 “For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them.
15 “To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey.
16 “Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents.
17 “In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more.
18 “But he who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
19 “Now after a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them.
20 “The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you entrusted five talents to me. See, I have gained five more talents.’
21 “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’
22 “Also the one who had received the two talents came up and said, ‘Master, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more talents.’
23 “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’
24 “And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed.
25 ‘And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’
26 “But his master answered and said to him, ‘You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed.
27 ‘Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest.
28 ‘Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’
29 “For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away.
30 “Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
It's really hard to read this and see myself in it. In my brokenness and immaturity, I've chosen not to use the best part of the gifts He gave me. I can't say that it was because I knew Him "to be a hard man"…but I can't say it wasn't, either.
And right now, it doesn't matter why I buried the talents He gave me to invest (or as in the parallel passage in Luke, covered them with a handkerchief). What matters is what I do next.