What You Invest in, Increases
Part 2 - Answering the Call
I have lived my life in a parallel and in some seasons I still do.
One side is full of heartache. Not feeling worthy of life, happiness and purpose. On that side I would feel like I was an annoyance, hindrance and that I was completely useless, taking up valuable oxygen on the planet.
The other side was the opposite. Something deep down inside, told me that I was worth something. And those thoughts, that voice, was continual and a complete contradiction to everything I was feeling and facing.
Those that have lived that way can back me up in this because this living condition can be toxic and I personally feel it claims many beautiful, intelligent and extraordinary people in our society.
Living with these two dialogues left me feeling constantly like I was not enough, but chirping away was the other side telling me who I really was. Often it wouldn’t be backed up with evidence. It would feel like it was watching a movie trailer of the hopefulness of what life could be like, but soon other people’s opinions of me would attempt to snatch it away.
It was almost like a stray dog coming to your door for help and you then shooing it away. It retreats. But it lingers, staying a far off waiting for another opportunity to come close again to ask for attention once more.
This to-and-fro of the parallel often left me feeling confused. Nerves would take over and often I would become paralysed to the point were simple decisions were difficult. I remember just feeling stuck.
Stuck in routine.
Stuck in a rut.
Stuck in hopelessness.
In my story, Jesus came along.
Suddenly my life made so much sense.
I had a book of dozens and dozens of people who were labelled one thing, but God carried another name or title.
God saw their pasts.
He saw their limits.
He saw their unbelief.
And He trusted them anyway.
Because they lived on the parallel.
Those people heard the words spoken by others about them.
They lived under the limitations that those labels and reputations granted.
These were people who were of low standing in the world, but God wanted them anyway.
I believe it was because they knew.
They might not have felt brave.
They might not have felt prepared.
They might not have felt skilful enough.
But they knew they were worth something.
They just needed to opportunity.
Society might have rejected them.
Family might not have wanted them.
They might have had abuse and situations happen to them that they neither chose nor wanted.
But they knew that they meant something.
God stood by them.
God didn’t let what they could do to help the world and others, die inside them.
He pursued them.
And they answered His call.
He charged them with a responsibility.
He taught them to swim when they would have sank in the world.
He didn’t give up on them.
And because of the bible and because of these testimonies, I can see that God does the same now as He did then.
He sees people.
He knows the mistakes.
He knows the worst about us and wants us anyway.
And that is powerful.
That is God.
In Matthew 25:14-30 Jesus tells us a parable about the talents. The story talks about a ruler giving three people talents to take and use. In the beginning, I read it like it was. I believed it was about money and financial investment. However during preparations to speak to an assembly hall full of children at a local primary school, the story released a whole new wealth of meaning to me.
So let’s go over the story.
To the first person the ruler gave five talents, (v15). To the second, the ruler gave two and the third received one. The ruler then left for a time and we hear what the people did with the investment. The first and second doubled the investment that was made to them, (v16-17). The third person however, freaked out. He didn’t want lose anything and so buried it, hid it, and did nothing with the investment, (v18).
When the ruler came back and saw the first two had used what was given and not only that, they had reaped a reward from it, the ruler gave praise and entrusted even more to their care, (20-23). The third person, who hid the talent, unfortunately insulted the ruler and then said that nothing was done with it and to take it back, (24-25).
At no point in the passage do we hear that the ruler took back what was given so the third person actually returned a gift as well as calling the ruler hard and tearing down the leaders’ character. Rude right?
The ruler didn’t take it back but gave it to the first person and the third fella was left with nothing, (v28).
When I read this story with fresh eyes, I remember thinking of a saying my mum used to say, ‘If you don’t use it then you will lose it.’ And I thought of all the times when I set down a hobby or job for a time and then I would completely forget how to do it. Then when I picked it back up, it would be like I was starting all over again.
It is also a confirmation that we are all given something. You may be a person how is given the five. You may be the person who is given the two.
Or you may have just the one.
Therefore, no matter your status, past, creed, race, or shoe size we are all given something.
But no matter how much you have or how much more others have, it is our responsibility to grow what we have been given.
Its purpose is not to be protected, but to be used.
Used as an investment to bring about growth and to develop skills and fresh insights so we can reap a harvest at the end.
A harvest that we get to keep.
A harvest that we can reinvest.
A harvest that we can build on again and again.
A harvest that we can nurture, develop and succeed with.
I am a firm believer in using what you have, but I am also a comparer.
I look at others all the time and I borderline covet. HOLD ON! No, no, no, I am going to stop here and be completely honest. I can tell you that I do covet. I am a dirty talent coveter! It is best I admit it.
I look at others dripping with talent as they glide through life sharing what they have with a wink of the eye and effortlessness.
“Poof, have some of that.
Poof, take that.
Poof, you’re welcome.”
And as I watch them, I can feel my heart break, because poofing doesn’t come natural to me.
I am a hard worker. Believe me, no one can discredit my work ethic but when I am descent at something, it is not effortless for me. I watch others get things quicker. I watch others succeed earlier than me. So sometimes and I do have to watch myself, and reign myself back in when I realise that I am not baker, swimmer, model/doctor who doesn’t need makeup and can wear heels like an expert trapeze artist balancing a line, who doesn’t need a safety net.
However, I am a loving Mum, wife and daughter unless you eat my chocolate, who is fierce about her family and her faith which has lead me on a path of purpose. A purpose I am not willing to give up on.
Sometimes I have to remember to not worry about all the things I am not and invest in the things that I know I am. I love mastering things. I love learning. But I love it more when knowledge and understanding becomes embedded. It might take me a bit longer than the person sitting next to me but I will get it, and if you are like me, you will get it to.
The fact that each person got a different amount doesn’t mean that God loves us differently. It shows us that God doesn’t give you more than you can handle. He knows the portion. He knows what you can make work and sometimes the person who gets one is the one He wants to encourage the most.
I used to pity the person who got one. I wondered if it was because he wasn’t worthy of being trusted with more. But God showed me the third person was the one who didn’t feel like he could do anything. He was the person who God knew needed to start small to gain confidence and realise what he was able to accomplish.
But he had a choice. And he chose to bury it. He chose to hide it away. If he didn’t want it he would have given it back at the beginning, but I think he got it and felt unworthy of the challenge and so put it out of sight. Let’s not be like the third person. Let’s answer the call that we have been given. Big or small let’s use what we have been given. Let us the investment God has placed in us. Let’s trust Him who trusts us and let’s remember, whether we are like the person who received five or the guy who received one, we all have received.
We all have something within us that we get to keep.
We get to use it.
And watch it grow.
And the more we invest the more we receive.
Let’s double up with Gods blessings.
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