Devotional Week 47 Tuesday
“Even as in His love He chose us, actually picked us out for Himself in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be consecrated and blameless in His sight, before Him in love. For He planned for us in love, adopted as His own children in accordance with His will and kind intent so that we will communicate His glorious grace.”
Ephesians 1: 4-6
“Wouldst thou feel thy soul’s rest in Christ? Thou must know His voice, hear it, learn daily of Him, become His disciple.”
Today’s Study Text:
“To one he gave five talents (probably about $5,000), to another two, to another one – to each in proportion to his (her) own personal ability. Then he departed and left the country.”
Matthew 25: 15
“He Knows How Much” “Talents” Part 2
“At least bear patiently, if you cannot bear joyfully.”
Thomas à Kempis
Am I bearing a heavy load at this time?
Have I ever felt as if God doesn’t know how weak I am and He’s asked me to carry too much?
Do I ever take on more than I should?
“If we are intend for great ends, we are called to great hazards.”
John Henry Newman
“I do not pray that you may be delivered from your pains, but I pray God earnestly that He would give you strength and patience to bear them as long as He pleases.”
As we begin our study on the “Parable of the Talents,” I’ve asked our heavenly Father to illuminate our minds to new thoughts which can be uncovered as we till the soil of God’s Word. Having read a great deal in preparation for this particular study, I was delighted to come upon a terrific commentary on the “Parable of the Talents” written by Lindsay Armstrong, who at the time was Associate Pastor of Christian Education at the First Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, Georgia.
I’d like to share the initial words penned by Armstrong in describing the “Talent” parable: “It is a treasure chest overflowing with sparkling gold, amethysts, rubies, and emeralds, this parable can be (shared) in a wealth of ways.” WOW! This statement I’ve found to be absolutely true in so many ways!
While we are going to take a more expansive view of this parable, which at times has been limited only to the topic of “stewardship”. I want to also take a “Garden” view which will help us, together, to uncover the deeply buried truths of this story.
The first revelation which becomes clear to me is found in Matthew 25: 15. Interestingly, it is in the very beginning of the parable where we read that each individual was “given in proportion to his (her) own personal ability.” The Master, we are told, was well-acquainted with the abilities of each of those he employed. So he didn’t give anyone more than they were capable of handling. Likewise, he didn’t give them less.
To me, this is one of the most critical lessons to be drawn from the parable of “The Talents.” Often it becomes easy to look around us at others who are given certain abilities and to think, “How blessed are they!” But just let me place these questions out there for you to consider: “What if I had been given more abilities than I currently have? Would I have been able to handle more than is on my plate right now? Would the extra know-how land me in a position where I’d feel guilty I wasn’t capable of doing my very best with all that had been put before me? It makes you think doesn’t it? And I had to ask myself, “Am I content with what God has entrusted to me?”
It is no surprise that when God gave the Ten Commandments from Mt. Sinai, before He finished, His last command was this: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant, or his maidservant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbors” (Exodus 20: 17, Amplified Bible). This was God’s instruction for a blessed life. In order to highlight these words, I want to go to the New Testament and read what was said by Jesus on the topic of covetousness: “Jesus said to them, ‘Guard yourself and keep free from all covetousness and keep free from the immoderate desire for wealth, the greedy longing to have more; for a person’s life does not consist in and is not derived from possessing an overflowing abundance which is over and above their needs’” (Luke 12: 15, Amplified Bible). To add more to what our heavenly Father spoke in the desert and to what our precious Saviour said, let’s turn to the words of the Apostle Paul in his letter to the newly formed Christian church in Colosse. Here’s how Paul instructed these young Christians to live: “Deprive of power the evil desire lurking in you…unholy desires and all greed and covetousness, for that is the deifying of self…instead of God” (Colossians 3: 5, Amplified Bible).
The reason it is critical we comprehend, at the very beginning of our study on the talents, the important depths which Jesus wanted us to get to when we really understand what His words mean in the “Parable of the Talents” is that you and I have an amazingly generous Father who has bestowed upon us more than enough of the blessings He knows we can handle. If I choose to add to what He has put into my hands, it is very likely I may feel overwhelmed, burdened-down, and incapable of handling my life.
As this thought began to penetrate my brain, I suddenly recognized that the times in my life when my load was too much to handle and I was weeping and wailing about how difficult it was to make it through each day it was really because I was not content, whatsoever, with God’s assessment of my abilities at a certain time in my life. Sometimes, as I reflect, I had a very arrogant view of what God had laid in my hands. I thought I was better than I really was. I even felt smarter than I should have. And the consequence was that soon I grabbed more and more. Things God never intended for me to do at that time in my life. And what did I find out? That I was so loaded down with care that nothing I did proved effective.
If we can learn anything from this parable it is that the key to unlocking God’s blessings in my life and yours is directly connected to opening my hands to my Father’s will and accepting what He puts in my hands and asks me to do. I don’t need to look at someone else and complain because they got more or less than I did. Instead, I take what God gave me with a heart overflowing with gratitude. And then I put to use what God trusted me with. Since your Master and mine knows even better than we do what unique abilities we have, what if each day we were to totally rely on His ability to put within the scope of our life just the perfect tasks for us to dol. He alone tells us that He knows our strength. He alone knows what we are capable of handling on our journey through life.
If we learn to be content with what God has given us, it is likely we won’t feel overwhelmed with the added “stuff” we think is necessary to make us feel fulfilled.
Born February 12, 1907, when the child Roberta Martin began to play the piano, those who witnessed her immense talent encouraged her to become a classical concert pianist. But God had other plans for this young woman whose multiple musical talents blossomed at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Chicago. Inspired by Thomas A. Dorsey, known as the “Father of Gospel Music,” Roberta began to use all the talents God gave her as she became not only an accomplished pianist but also a famed gospel singer, composer, arranger and choral organizer. It is told that in 1969, when the 61-year-old was taken away early because of cancer, that over 50,000 people came to mourn their beloved friend.
I happened to learn more about this dear lady because she composed and recorded one of my favorite gospel songs: “He Knows How Much We Can Bear.” I’d like to share the words Roberta penned to this uplifting song which restores confidence in my heavenly Father’s ability to place within my hands what He knows I’m best suited to handle not only today but everyday.
He Knows How Much We Can Bear
“We are our heavenly Father’s children
And we all know that He loves us over all.
Yet there are times when we find that we
answer to another’s voice and call.
But if we are willing I know the Lord will teach us
His voice only to obey, no matter where
For He knows how much we can bear.
Just think of a time when we’ve asked
the question deep, deep down in our hearts,
We just say, ‘Lord, what shall I do?
And then we confide in our friends and loved
ones, but oh they have troubles, too.
But there is a God and He rules earth and heaven,
And in Him you find relief from every pain and care.
You know the heavenly Father always answers
prayers and He knows how much we can bear.”
“O Lord, I do not ask for tasks equal to my strength; I ask for strength equal to my tasks.”
“Guide us, teach us, and strengthen us, O Lord, we beseech Thee, until we become such as Thou wouldst have us be: pure, gentle, truthful, high-minded, courteous, generous, able, dutiful; for Thy honor and glory.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus