DayBreaks for 5/4/16 – The Master and the Reward

DayBreaks for 5/04/16 – The Master and the Reward

From the DayBreaks archives, May 2006:

It’s confession time.  I must confess that I’m guilty of envy.  It was over two years ago now that the Lord called us to this town to plant a new church.  I love it here.  I love the body that the Lord has formed.  They are the most delightful people that I think I’ve ever been involved with and I love them dearly.  So what am I envious of?  Well, on Friday and Saturday, I was at a Men’s Advance (as opposed to “retreat”!) where there were numerous other church planters.  Some of them have been at if for quite a few years, some are even “newer” church planters than I.  Here’s what I’m envious of: some of them have seemingly been more “successful” in their church plants…they’ve got larger congregations and are able to do more things than we can.  And I am envious. 

I know it is wrong.  I know I shouldn’t be.  I know that there are reasons for why churches in one place grow rapidly and others don’t: the size of the town, the culture of the area, the energy and enthusiasm of those laboring to plant the church, even the geography and demographics make a huge difference.  But I’m envious of their “success”, and I ask God to forgive me for that envy.  I feel we are where we are supposed to be, that we’re in the place that He’s called us to. 

So what’s the point?  Well, simply this: during the men’s advance, part of the teaching on Saturday was about the parable of the talents from Matthew 25, and the Lord showed me what He wanted me to know.  Here’s the passage: Matthew 25:19-23 (NIV) – After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’  “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ “The man with the two talents also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.’ His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’”

The point is simply this: the man who had 5 talents to begin with was told, “Come and share your master’s happiness!”  The EXACT same words are spoken to the person who was giving the 2 talents: “Come and share your master’s happiness!”  Perhaps even more important is what the Master did not say to the first man: “You’re the best I’ve got.  You’re my right hand man!  Ten talents – wow!”  Nor did he say to the second servant, “You know, you did great.  You really did, but did you hear about what Joe did!?  He made 5 talents.  Why didn’t you?  If he did, you could have, too!” 

No, his praise to both servants was identical.  It didn’t matter to the Master, you see, how much each had to start with or even at the end.  What the Master cared about was that the servants had taken what He’d giving them and used it to the best that they could. 

There’s a lesson for all of us who sometimes get concerned about how others are doing, instead of what we are doing with what God has given us.  Be faithful with what you’ve got – that’s all He asks.  Don’t compare yourself to others – the Master didn’t, and He won’t.

PRAYER:  Lord, forgive me for my envious heart, forgive me for thinking that I’m in a competition sometimes.  And forgive me for thinking that any of this depends upon me, instead upon Your Spirit.  Teach us to use all that you’ve given us for the expansion of Your kingdom and Your glory in this world.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

 

DayBreaks for 7/16/14 – The Wheat and the Weeds

DayBreaks for 7/16/14 – The Wheat and the Weeds

Matthew 13:24-30 (NLT) Here is another story Jesus told: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field. But that night as the workers slept, his enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat, then slipped away. When the crop began to grow and produce grain, the weeds also grew. “The farmer’s workers went to him and said, ‘Sir, the field where you planted that good seed is full of weeds! Where did they come from?’ “‘An enemy has done this!’ the farmer exclaimed. “‘Should we pull out the weeds?’ they asked. “‘No,’ he replied, ‘you’ll uproot the wheat if you do. Let both grow together until the harvest. Then I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds, tie them into bundles, and burn them, and to put the wheat in the barn.’”

Why is it that we are so judgmental, seemingly so eager to pass judgment and classify people one way or another?  There is perhaps no group of people who are more prone to do this than Christians – and that is tragic.  We seem to often be of the persuasion that it is our job to decipher who is “in” and who is “out”.  We may think it is our duty to protect the rest of the world from evil, to point it out, to call a spade a spade.  We seem to believe that we’ve been given special insight to discern what is wheat and what is a weed – to use the metaphor of the parable.

You know them: people who continually want to cull the field, who feel called upon to make decisions and proclamations about others on the basis of certain beliefs … behaviors … even baptism. A Christian who had a wife that was into tracing family geneaologies traced her family back over 500 years.  In doing so, she learned she had a relative who was burned at the stake in Switzerland. Why? Because he had the wrong understanding of baptism, that’s why. They weeded him out. Then they burned him up.

I must say that I don’t always even know whether I am weed or wheat. Alexander Solzhenitsyn said: “If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being.

Every human being….that includes my own heart.  Who knows?  Perhaps I am the weed in someone else’s garden – maybe yours. 

If this parable teaches us anything it surely must include that it is not our job to sort the weeds and the wheat.  Jesus will one day sort them out himself and his advice to us to not to try to do that job for him.  Let them grow together, he said, until the harvest.  Then, and only then will the only One who is qualified to separate the weeds and the wheat will do what only He can do.

PRAYER: Forgive us our judgmental spirits, Lord!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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